Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Water Tower in Okoba

Water tower is one of the less noticeable features of the Okoba Station. It was once used for refilling the tenders of the hudge D51 locomotives that were often used in pairs in order to bring freight and passengers up the unbelievable 30 percent elevations around the station.
For years railfans have posted photos of its stone base, still intact today.

Source
A recent search has quite unexpectedly turned up with a photo of the tower's water tank which is absent from all the other known photos available online.
Source
This photo was taken in August 1970. The other photos in the set show quite an amazing number of mixed passenger-freight consists, often headed by a pair of D51-s,  somewhat contrary to a viewpoint that freight trains were not widely operated on the line after the easier coastal route was opened.

Friday, September 24, 2010

Okoba Revisited. Now in T

It is the third year already, when autumn brings new inspiration for the construction of a Hisatsu-line inspired model railroad. During all the past months I've done quite a few things for my other project, i.e. the development of our community for those who model in HOe (1:87 on 9mm track). This has been successful, as I'm now slowly building my own module, and a much anticipated model of our very own TU2 Bo-Bo locomotive hit the shelves this summer.
A couple of days ago I've had an inspiration to find out what are the latest developments in T gauge, which we were happy to present at a local exhibition a couple of years ago (someone even posted an autotranslated newsitem on this somewhere on the net, that was fun).
48 hours later, and I'm still online, as it seems. New models, new tracks, new everything!
I was of course glad to find that both left and right switches/turnouts are finally available. Besides, Eishindo has released Kiha-40, which is just the train that still is the main player of the Hisatsu Line in real life (in different modifications, including Kiha-47 that has also been planned for release! I wish they made a 58 and a 147 as well). Combined with as little space as it takes to build a T gauge layout, it may become quite a chance.

Another couple of hours later, and a first version of layout is born. Operation is rather limited, I'll think of it more, but the footprint of only 100x50cm with large portions cut off (actually more like 50x50 + 25x50) is something I could really manage.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Now is the time

Now is really the time to model Hisatsu Line.

 
Microace A6072 poster image looks like a dream that finally comes true.

From the product's description:
JR Kyushu launched the Isaburo-Shinpei tourist train between the stations of Hitoyoshi and Yoshimatsu. The train departing from Hitoyoshi is called "Isaburo", the train from Yoshimatsu is named "Shinpei". KIHA-40 DMU was modified for this tourist service by special "ancient lacquer" livery, wood interior, seats in a straight back-to-back arrangement, and a special observation room with enlarged curved glass windows, which became the feature for this train.

Features
  • High quality model by Micro Ace Art No. A6072
  • Two cars, one equipped with motor and flywheel and one trailer 
  • LED Headlights,  taillights, front-lit display window type with on-off switch
  • Original "ancient laquer" livery
  • Beautiful lettering
  • Detailed interior, including special seats of the prototype
  • Two enlarged & curved side windows for panoramic view
  • An option to install interior lightning and replacement couplers 
Drawbacks
The reservation is closed. No luck this time?

Still, with this Kiha 147 from Micro Ace, the recent Kiha 58 and Kiha 25 from Tomix, one only needs a working D51 to have most of the roster used on the original line. Wonder if they would do a remake of Tomix Kiha 58 in Kyushu white with blue stripe livery - so that the picture would be complete.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Hisatsu Line in 1977

Early morning. A pair of mighty D51 steam locomotives pull Suhafu-type coaches to the remote Okoba station. It is 1977 again.

The site features photos of C57 and D51 steam locomotives working the Hisatsu Line between Yatsushiro and Yoshimatsu, the arrival of a Kiha 58 trainset, as well as a good coverage of mixed consists and the Okoba loop.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Paper models from JR West


Don't have enough fancy models by Kato, Tomix and Microace? Time for scissors, glue and a bit of fun! Whether you have a kid who is so keen about making something for his toy railroad with his/her hands, or you feel you are that kid yourself, there's a good chance there are quite a few paper models of Japanese prototype buildings and vehicles that will most probably suit your needs. The only trouble is these models are exclusively posted at Japanese websites, so once in a while take your search in one hand, Google Translate in the other - and here we go!
One of the most exciting aspects of searching (for me) is that sometimes you find something better than what you've been looking for. This time it is the website of JR West Railway Company that contains quite a number of paper models, including:

  • Simple train station of the Western region
  • Grade crossing
  • Tunnel
  • Brick two-stall engine-house
  • Platforms and overpass
  • More kids' stuff like pictures that need coloring, screensavers with painted steam locomotives 
  • A whole bunch of track elements, simple models of locomotives and multiple-unit trains (even the Shinkansens!)
And if you feel these are models just for kids (well, Iactually they are) - try your hand at the former Nijo  station (above).

The website contains no less than five sections of paper models and fun things, and there are also sub-cathegories in dropdown menus. Browse the sections - and assemble a toy-train scene, or use the structure print-outs as a base for scratchbuilding projects.