Thursday, July 25, 2013

The Shinano Railway

During our travels in Japan this summer we visited friends in Togura, Nagano Prefecture.  To get there we took the Nagano Shinkansen from Tokyo to Ueda, then transferred over to the Nagano Railway to get the rest of the way to Togura.  The next day we took a Shinano Railway train from Togura to Nagano.  I liked this railroad's vintage but updated equipment so I did a little research on the web after returning to Tokyo.

The Shinano Railway is owned by the Nagano Prefecture government and was created in 1997 when JR abandoned  65 km of the Shin'etsu line between Karuizawa and Shinonoi.

The trains they run on this Railway are 115 and 169 series inherited from JR and run in 3 car sets.  Most have been repainted in this color scheme.

The 115 series dates from the 1960's and has been used on many JR lines with over 1900 units being built.

Togura is not what you would call a major station but it is a terminal for the Shinano Railway where some of the trains are parked so our stop there allowed me to see a good selection of their equipment.

Some of the equipment was in a different color scheme which I later found out was the original JR scheme for the Nagano area.  It appears that the Shinano logo is a patch over the JR logo.

Here's the logo on one of the repainted trains. Notice the character through the window, the train behind this one was a special paint scheme but I could not get a good photo of it.  It's also shown in the first photo with the stars on the end.

Modeling these trains

I have been looking for some shorter passenger trains to run on the AsiaNrail layouts that there is an actual prototype for.  And I make it my policy to only buy models of  Japanese trains that I have actually ridden on so when I got back to Tokyo I went shopping but did not find what I was looking for.

Tomix # 92415 is a 3 car set of the red Shinano Railway 115 that came out a couple of years ago but is sold out now.  When I got home I found one on ebay but the price was way over list and more than I was willing to pay.

Kato 10-585 was released in August 2012 and is still available from several sources on line so I ordered a set on Amazon. It comes as a JR version but I may make a decal of the patch logo I saw on the units in Togura and place them over the JR just like the prototype did.

Hope this gets here in time to run on the layout we are doing  in mid September.

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Next exhibition of the AsiaNrail layout

Paul Ingraham and I will be running the AsiaNrail layout on the weekend of September 14th and 15th at the Los Altos History Museum as part of their annual Train Days event.  The Musashi-Koyama module set featured in this blog will be part of this layout.  This layout will feature both point to point and continuous operation.

There will also be several other layouts at the museum representing several scales.  They try to have a layout for each scale and this year we are the N scale layout. Our layout will be upstairs in the Museum building along with the museum's permanent O scale layout.

It's been awhile since we've setup and run the layout at a public show and we are really looking forward to it.  If you are in the area that weekend we would love for you to come by and say hello.  If you have a short Asian prototype train bring it along.

The Los Altos History Museum is located at 51 South San Antonio Road in Los Altos, California.  Hours for the show are 10:00am to 4:00pm.  Parking is free and a small donation is requested by the Museum upon entrance to the show.

Click HERE to link to the museum web site for more information.

Monday, July 22, 2013

Recent trip to Japan

                 HOT - HOT - HOT !

Nona and I spent almost 4 weeks in Japan in June and July during what ended up being record high temperatures and high humidity.  While the dangerous weather did somewhat slow our activities we still managed to do quite a bit.

Besides spending time in and around Tokyo, we visited Nagano, Osaka, Atami, Izu, and spent almost a week touring all over Hokkaido.  Of course we rode lots of trains, and I was able to do a bit of shopping at a few of Tokyo's hobby shops. We've only been back a few days and still catching up on all the things that fall behind when you've been gone for a month. Over the next few weeks I'll be posting on some train / model subjects related to this trip so stay tuned.