Japanese Railway Society

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October 2008

This time we head out into the mountains via the famous Oigawa railway. This line follows the Oi river (Oigawa in japanese) and is made up of two sections. The lower section is built to japanese standards (3'6" track gauge, full railway loading gauge), whilst the upper part is of the same track gauge, but has a much smaller loading gauge. The Oigawa Railway is famous for being a kind of operational railway museum. The company has several steam locos, which operate seasonal tourist trains and the normal services are run by a wide variety of EMUs aquired 2nd hand from various railways across Japan.

c56-44 C56-44 a 2-6-0 (1C) tender locomotive. This class was built to haul trains on rural lines, hence the nickname 'Highland Pony'.

abt One of the electric locos that help the narrow trains over a steep section in the upper part of the line (Ikawa line). This line was re-routed because of the construction of a dam in the Oigawa river.

tea The Oigawa valley is famous for its tea plantations. Here you can see such a plantation, which is very much like a garden.

dam One of the dams in the Oigawa river. These dams were built to control the water level in the river and also to generate hydro-electric power.

All photos by Eric Binamé, april 2006

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