I grew up with my dad taking me to see steam engines, steam trains and all kinds of machinery. I’m sure that’s why I find these things so fascinating today. My day job has a fair amount of travel and sometimes I get to see some really cool stuff. I was visiting Tokyo with my wife in April 2019 and we met up with a friend from her childhood, Spike, who showed us around.
One of the places Spike took us was the Ikuta Ryokuchi Park in Kawasaki — I think it was about an hour and a half from downtown Tokyo by train. Ryokuchi is a big park with different sections. We had a great time walking through a exhibits of traditional farms (Minka-en). Outside of the planetarium sat a very nicely preserved D51 Japanese steam locomotive.
There are a ton of pages that can tell you about the D51 “Mikado”-class locomotives – they where built for the Japanese Government Railroad (JGR) (1920-1949) and later the Japanese National Railways (JNR)(1949-1987) by Kawasaki Heavy Industries Rolling Stock, Kisha Seizo, Hitachi, Nippon Sharyo, Mitsubishi and Mitsubishi Heavy Industries. Construction happened in two periods 1936-1945 and also 1950-1951.
1,115 D51s were built and had a 2-8-2 wheel layout, were just over 64 feel long, with the locomotive weighing 84.7 US/short tons. Maximum speed was about 55 mph. The trains were retired in Japan in 1975 though they were used in the Soviet Union until 1979 and 1983 in Taiwan. [click here for more information on Wikipedia plus this is a very interesting page in Japan]
The following is a photo gallery from the visit that you can open and scroll through:
The park is very much worth visiting and it was very cool to see this D51 up close.
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