Japanese Museum Sets Up Fund for Preserving Old Steam Locomotives

Society Culture

Inuyama, Aichi Pref., Oct. 20 (Jiji Press)--A Meiji era-themed open-air museum in Aichi Prefecture, central Japan, has launched a fund to seek donations for the preservation of two old steam locomotives that run on its premises.

One of the locomotives kept at the Meiji Mura museum in the city of Inuyama is among the very few Meiji-era locomotives still running. The museum is home to many buildings that were constructed during the era, which lasted from 1868 to 1912, and have been designated as important cultural assets by the Japanese government.

Of the two, the “No. 12” steam locomotive, manufactured in Britain and imported to Japan in 1874, or the seventh year of the Meiji era, served on Japan’s first rail line, between Shinbashi station in Tokyo and Yokohama station, south of Tokyo. The U.S.-made “No. 9” locomotive was used mainly between Fuji and Fujinomiya stations in Shizuoka Prefecture, central Japan, on what is now the Minobu Line of Central Japan Railway Co. <9022>, or JR Tokai, during the Taisho era, which followed the Meiji era, and the subsequent Showa era.

The locomotives make 12 round trips on an approximately 700-meter track in the museum a day, and a one-way ride on carriages pulled by the locomotives, taking roughly five minutes, costs 500 yen per adult.

The locomotives must undergo major maintenance work requiring disassembling every few years in order for them to remain in operation. Such work had been paid for through the museum’s admission fee revenue. The No. 12 locomotive has recently received maintenance work, while the No. 9 locomotive is set to undergo its next maintenance from 2022.

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Jiji Press