SL Ginga
C58 239 hauling the SL Ginga trainset on the Kamaishi Line in June 2014
Overview
Service typeExcursion train
StatusOperational
LocaleTohoku Region
First service12 April 2014
Current operator(s)JR East
Route
Line(s) usedKamaishi Line
Technical
Rolling stockJNR Class C58 + KiHa 141 series
Track gauge1,067 mm (3 ft 6 in)
ElectrificationSteam-hauled

The SL Ginga (SL銀河) is a steam-hauled "Joyful Train" (excursion train) operated by East Japan Railway Company (JR East) primarily on the Kamaishi Line in the north-east Tohoku Region of Japan since April 2014.[1] The train consists of restored JNR Class C58 steam locomotive number C58 239 together with four rebuilt former KiHa 141 series diesel cars purchased from JR Hokkaido (themselves rebuilt from earlier 50 series passenger coaches and made surplus to requirements following the electrification of the Sasshō Line in 2012).[2] The diesel cars provide additional power to cope with the line's gradients.[2]

Design

The exterior and interior design of the train was overseen by industrial designer Ken Okuyama.[2] The overall concept was inspired by the classic novel Night on the Galactic Railroad written by Japanese author Kenji Miyazawa, who lived in Hanamaki, Iwate.[3] Externally, the coaches are painted blue, evoking the night sky, with constellation and animal designs on the sides.[3] Internally, the coaches will feature gaslight-style lighting and stained glass, evoking an early 20th-century atmosphere.[3]

Train formation

The four-car trainset formed of KiHa 141-700 series diesel cars, June 2014
The four-car trainset formed of KiHa 141-700 series diesel cars, June 2014

The train consists of JNR Class C58 steam locomotive number C58 239 and four coaches, formed as follows.[1] The four coaches provide a total seating capacity of approximately 180.[1]

Car No. Facilities
1 Lounge, shop, universal access toilet
2 Seating car with gallery space
3 Seating car with gallery space and toilet
4 Seating car with planetarium space

C58 239

C58 239 statically preserved in a park in Morioka, October 2012
C58 239 statically preserved in a park in Morioka, October 2012

The dedicated SL Ginga train locomotive C58 239 was built in June 1940 by Kawasaki Sharyo, and was based at various depots around the country, including Nagoya, Nara, and Morioka, before being withdrawn on 22 May 1972.[4] From 1 May 1973, it was preserved in a park in Morioka, Iwate.[4][5] It was moved from the park by road to JR East's Omiya Works in Saitama Prefecture in December 2012.[6]

History

The completed train was shown off to the public at Morioka Station on 2 February 2014.[7] It entered revenue service on 12 April 2014.[8]

References

  1. ^ a b c 東北で復活するSLによる新しい列車「SL銀河」 [New "SL Ginga" train using erstored steam locomotive in Tohoku] (PDF). News release (in Japanese). Japan: East Japan Railway Company. 6 November 2013. Retrieved 6 November 2013.
  2. ^ a b c "JR東日本,C58 239を復元" [JR East to restore C58 239]. Japan Railfan Magazine Online (in Japanese). Japan: Koyusha Co., Ltd. 12 October 2012. Retrieved 6 November 2013.
  3. ^ a b c JR東:復元中のC58の列車名「SL銀河」に…来春運行 [JR East to name C58 train currently being restored "SL Ginga" - entering service next spring]. Mainichi.jp (in Japanese). Japan: The Mainichi Newspapers. 6 November 2013. Archived from the original on 14 December 2013. Retrieved 6 November 2013.
  4. ^ a b 東北でSLが復活します!~SL銀河鉄道(仮称)~ [Steam to return to the Northeast!] (PDF) (in Japanese). Japan: East Japan Railway Company. 12 October 2012. Retrieved 6 November 2013.
  5. ^ Sasada, Masahiro (September 2012). 国鉄&JR保存車大全 [JNR & JR Preserved Rolling Stock Complete Guide]. Tokyo, Japan: Ikaros Publications Ltd. p. 133. ISBN 978-4863206175.
  6. ^ "C58 239が搬出・陸送される" [C58 239 transported]. Japan Railfan Magazine Online (in Japanese). Japan: Koyusha Co., Ltd. 5 December 2012. Retrieved 6 November 2013.
  7. ^ "盛岡駅で"SL銀河"の車両展示会" ["SL Ginga" on display at Morioka Station]. Japan Railfan Magazine Online (in Japanese). Japan: Koyusha Co., Ltd. 3 February 2014. Retrieved 3 February 2014.
  8. ^ ""SL銀河"が営業運転を開始" ["SL Ginga" enters revenue service]. Japan Railfan Magazine Online (in Japanese). Japan: Koyusha Co., Ltd. 14 April 2014. Retrieved 15 April 2014.