World of Steam: Japan
Volume 27: Japan: Rails Revealed     

Japan is one of the most rail-friendly countries in the world, but has the reputation of being problematic for western visitors, primarily because of cultural and linguistic differences.  This programme illustrates that it is easier to travel around the country than might be expected, and also lifts the lid on the delights that await the enthusiast.  Steam locomotives, have, of course, long since ceased to work routinely on the railways of Japan, but we visit several lines that regularly operate steam specials, and view the locomotives that are employed.  We also see steam working at various museum locations, under very varied conditions.


Work started on building the standard-gauge bullet train network in the late 1950s and is still proceeding today.  Almost everything about the service is awe inspiring, and cannot fail to impress anyone who has an interest in railways.  We see a variety of the shinkansen trains, and take a look at the logistics of operating and maintaining them.  Futuristic scenes are also included in respect of monorail services.  Japan is one of the few countries in the world to use this form of transport as a serious passenger-mover, and we see the Tokyo system in use. 


The vast majority of Japanese trains run on the old 3 6 gauge system.  This employs innumerable designs of multiple unit, painted in liveries to suit every taste!   All of this is supplemented by widespread tram systems, many of them featuring cars that are truly historic.  (Hiroshima is still routinely employing some of the cars that were actually in use on the horrific day in 1945 when the  bomb was dropped.)


This programme, filmed in late 2008, provides an excellent introduction to Japan for the enthusiast.  If a trip is planned it will prove invaluable.  If you were not thinking of going, then this may change your mind! 


This wide-screen production is indexed by menu and lasts for 70 minutes.


Format DVD-R
Price 18, inc. p & p
Duration Approx. 70 minutes
TV system PAL/SECAM, widescreen
Menu-indexed? Yes


A monorail train in the Tokyo suburbs.





Loco C11 325 works a test train at Wakuya.

Certainly not steam, but impressive, none the less! 
shinkansen train at Tokyo station.

A Kusaki-built tank engine performs on the Narita Yume Bokujo Railway.

Japan is a paradise for tram enthusiasts.  There are numerous systems (this one is at Hakodate on Hokkaido Island), many featuring vintage units as museum items, or still in day-to-day use.

At the Meiji Mura Park near Nagoya, a 1912-built Baldwin tank loco awaits departure.

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