Monday, May 18, 2009

Kyushu Choo Choo

A fine article under a fun title "Kyushu Choo Choo" (pdf) summarizing the available information about the Hisatsu Line and the Isaburo-Shinpei retro train was written by Beth Reiber and published in the American Chamber of Commerce Japan journal in 2006. Nothing presented is new, however it is a major step forward from trying to guess the same facts from Google Translate and not being able to understand half of what is meant by the original texts.
I'm also presenting here my favourite Hisatsu Line wallpaper, published on Panoramio by goagoa. Its colors, harmony, and composition have been inspiring me for nearly half a year. 

This photo shows the feel of the remote station of Masaki, featuring another double zigzag arrangement of the Hisatsu Line. The trains appear from the right side (where the Yatake summit and the Okoba station are), come to a halt in the upper left part on a stub track hidden by the trees, then reverse to the station and continue to the lower part again hidden from view here.
Masaki area was heavily populated and had even some amount of freight operations (Station Staff, last photo), however, after a series of devastating landslides culminating in a massive landfall in 1972 when approximately 300 000 square meters of earth slid from their place and destroyed several dozens of houses, the population moved away, leaving the area deserted. The station however continues to operate. To commemorate the massive amount of work in order to restore the line after the landslide, a 8-ton boulder was left on the platform.
The Masaki station would make a tremendous small layout in N scale, however, proficiency in landscaping may be required to reproduce at least some of its remarkable features.