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  1. Visited this museum in October last year and was somewhat disappointed. They put different locos or DMU on the turntable each weekend so that they can be turned around for pictures however the downside is you are not allowed inside the engine shed to photograph the others, pictures from the outside only. This is a shame as you cannot get pictures of the whole loco or DMU plus, as it happens, the inside of the shed has been gutted back to the walls so it is quite devoid of atmosphere. The over restoration of some of the locos does not help either. Also why preserve just one snow-plough car of the DD16 and not both, and then exhibit the plough and loco separately? This could be a good museum if it was organised more as a preserved shed and less as a science or art museum as it gets lots of local support but they need to look at how it is done elsewhere. I did suggest to the local tourist office representative, who was marshaling the other visitors until he found he had a Brit on site to try his English out on, that they look on line at some of the UK preserved lines like the SVR and KWVR for ideas... The ride up from Okayama is good though, I did it on a somewhat dark and damp day and it is very atmospheric as it is a single track line with over hanging vegetation interspersed with open country. In fact some parts were so overgrown with hanging branches brushing the windows on steep grades that it felt more like a Peruvian jungle line...
  2. EF200-5 went "out of use" at the end of 2016 and was sitting at Suita Depot for some time after but, as I didn't see it there during my last visit in October, it may have been already scrapped. I'll look for it next month when I'm in Suita for a couple of days. Apparently EF200-2 has recently been given a Suita depot tag after one month of "out of use" so may be making a come back...
  3. EF66-30 has now been transferred south, presumably to Hiroshima Plant for dismantling. Just leaves EF66-27 in service AFAIK....
  4. From various local blogs, picked up that apparently DF200-223 and -226 are being prepared for action out on the Kansai Main Line hauling freight to replace one of the usual DD51 pairs, following trials early this month including as a DF200+DE10 pairing. Also DF200-122 is rumored to be heading south soon to become DF200-222...
  5. At Suita Depot, EF66-30 has lost its depot tags and is red flagged so probably now out of use pending the end of the JRF financial year diamond revision to loco allocations (....and start of the scrapping season.) That just leaves EF66-27 out and about as the last active member of its class. Same goes for EF200-2, -4, -6, -7, and -10 so again a much depleted class with only EF200-17, -18, -19 and -20 remaining active for now. I'll be passing through Suita at the end of my Japan trip in March so will be able to check on their final fate.
  6. My new track coming to life

    In my layouts I have used 1 mm cork, available in rolls, for this purpose. Cheap to buy from hardware stores as used for covering floors before tiles or flooring are laid on top. Also gives you something to dig into to hide the join between buildings and the ground level. Also I put rubber blocks between the layout frame and supports or tabletop as noise isolation. I use a specialist automotive material used in building Li-Ion batteries for EVs but the same type of material is also easily found as in-soles for sport shoes where used to cushion the feet under repeated impact.
  7. Shin-Osaka Webcam

    ...especially as it's a EF510 ;-) I suspect no freight locos, especially diesels, are now allowed through Osaka Station or even if there would be available paths so I suspect the DD51s may going to either Ajikawaguchi or Kudara freight terminals or down to Okayama. There is usually a DE10 and sometimes a DD51 stationed in the Miyahara yard. The remaining DE10/11 stock in the JR West area have main services at Okayama so they are frequently seen either light engine or being towed dead to and from the various freight terminals.
  8. EF66-36 is this week in the process of being scrapped at the Hiroshima plant along with EF67-104. Surprised they took EF66-36 all the way from Suita to Hiroshima to do this given Suita has its own dismantling area. This leaves EF66-27 and -30 in use and -21, -26 and -33 waiting their end at Suita.
  9. Wish it was 9...AFAIK now down to only 2 left active: -27 & -30
  10. Bikkuri, Miyakoji, Thanks for the suggestions of Kiyosu and Kasadera but these are stations I have already spent many hours at photographing freights. At the end of last year, I finally got round to cataloging my JR train photo collection (Shinkansen and Passenger as well as Freight totaling approx. 12000 prints in binders as not a fan of looking at them on a laptop) and found I have photographed over 500 individual JRF locos (this task somehow brought out my latent trainspotter so had to then record all the loco numbers), majority being on lines south of Omiya so my objective for free time this upcoming trip is to get those that usually run north of Omiya. Railsquid, Thanks for the links especially the site with the transcription. I've seen the JRF timetable in Japan bookstores before and considered getting a copy but never had a means to translate it. I may just buy one when I'm over in Japan as the MS translator app on my mobile does a reasonable job of translating via the camera image. Pending that, it looks like I'll be spending quite a bit of my free time next week perusing the site with the transcription using Chrome to translate...
  11. DD200 announced

    Picked up from a Japan rail blog that the DD200 prototype was transited through Suita Depot in Osaka last week on its way to Kyushu as it has been assigned to the Mojika agency.
  12. First Japan Rail Layout

    Was given a Tomix track cleaning car as an Xmas present so Niihama tracks are now the cleanest they've been for some time. Found clearance problems through the station platforms, presume the car must be out of gauge as the platforms were set relative to the track using the Kato gauge, and a few instances of vertically misaligned track ends where the higher rail catches the rotating circular pad and derails the cleaning car. The misalignments are probably caused by warpage in the baseboard over the years so will need to get my needle files out to correct as it is not practical to relay the offending track sections.
  13. Thinking of going up to Kurosio on the Tohoku line where JRF change over from AC to DC locomotives. Anyone know what the best time of day is to see a number of these changeovers taking place?
  14. I have a trip to Japan confirmed for March next year and I will have free time (2 or 3 days) whilst I am staying near Omiya Station in Saitama. As this is an area I have not been to for any significant amount of time, so apart from "The Railway Museum" at Omiya, has anyone any suggestions for good spots to go for photographing freight trains through stations and locos in depots? As I will have quite a bit of free time, I am happy to make longer trips out to get to more interesting places so do not have to be just in or around Omiya.
  15. Himi Line Fushiki Station freight yard

    Going by this Google Earth shot (image capture date September 2017), they had / still have a lot of WAMU to get through. Also if you wander around in streetview, from the road on the other side of the yard there is a fleeting image of what could have been a pink EF81being scrapped. https://www.google.co.uk/maps/@36.7930234,137.0600606,3a,75y,143.09h,86.54t/data=!3m6!1e1!3m4!1sGKrzlZWOdkDZ5dm1XjWmHA!2e0!7i13312!8i6656te https://www.google.co.uk/maps/@36.7923996,137.0607314,3a,90y,297.63h,88.66t/data=!3m6!1e1!3m4!1s4d0oHXp18qV1Z0RmOimXBw!2e0!7i13312!8i6656