Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Nagoya SC Maglev and Railway Park

Back in January I was in Tokyo visiting family, and took a trip on the Shinkansen and Aonami line to visit the JR Nagoya SC Maglev and Railway Park.

This year my wife and I took advantage of the Japan Rail Pass which allows foreigners to travel on any JR line (except Nozomi Shinkansen) for a fixed number of days for one off charge. By using point to point trips you get maximum value from this pass - I will add more blog entries of other Journeys I took during January - I did a lot of train travel in Japan!

We travelled on the Hikari Shinkansen from Tokyo to Nagoya Station:

Here is our train arriving:

Views of Mt Fuji as we headed down to Nagoya:

 Arrival at the Shinkansen platform at Nagoya Station:

I ran down to the front to get a picture of the train before it departed onwards to Osaka.

Next we transferred to the Aonami Line which takes us to the SCMaglev and Railway Park:

The Aonami Line train arrives:

This is not a long line, but it goes to a relatively quiet Industrial seaside area of Nagoya, which is where the Railway Park is located:

The Entrance to the SC Maglev and Railway Park:

Once you pay to get in, you are confronted initially with the fastest test train Loco's in Japan, a Steam Engine Test Loco, the 300X Test Shinkansen and of course the latest Linear Maglev Test train:

From any angle, the Maglev test train MLX01-1 is a stunning train, built to test the concept of using Magnetic Levitation (MagLev) to run a train successfully over 581km/h:

The Linear Maglev train is sleek and amazing to see in person:

Reminds me of a passenger airliner rather than a train:

Some more details about the MLX01-1 Test train:

The train name MLX01-1 on the side:

The noe design makes quite a statement - they have had to put a sign there to tell people not to sit on it!

The C62 Steam train is also interesting, setting the record for the fastest Steam Loco in Japan at 129km/h:

All three test trains, viewed from the platform level above:

Another look at the Maglev test train:

Once you pass through the initial test train area, you move into the main museum hall, containing many different Japanese trains, covering Shinkansen series trains, Diesel, Electric and Steam locomotives:

Amazingly this 20 year old Shinkansen train is now officially retired...in Australia it would be only 1/3 through it's service life!! In Adelaide the H-series Trams were run from 1929 until 2005!

There is some fantastic information on the design and construction of the Shinkansen, in English and Japanese. The Japanese are justifiably very proud of this train series design. I wish we had Shinkansen trains running in Australia - imagine how much faster travelling Sydney to Melbourne, Brisbane, Adelaide and Perth could be!

Shinkansen trains use standard gauge tracks, while all other trains in Japan use Narrow gauge:

Pantograph design and the Dr. Yellow test Shinkansen train in the background, used for testing the Shinkansen track:

Older Diesel and Electric trains are also on display here:

Shinano and Inaji trains:

Japan has so many different trains, and retire them after 20 years use, so they still look like new in many cases:

This train is a test track train for checking minimum clearance needed for trains to safely operate through newly constructed tunnels and track sections:

They also have a fully functional Shinkansen simulator that you can drive - you have to book quickly as daily slot tickets sell VERY quickly.

Inside the Shinkansen simulator:

Steam Loco's are also on display here:

Japan still runs some Steam train services during the year in holiday periods - I want to try one of these soon!

Very old electric car, still in good condition:

Steam Loco C57139 up close:

Some more older trains on display, here a former Tokyo commuter train:

9825M looks brand new inside and out - beautifully restored:

Views across the main display floor area, showing some of the variety of retired Shinkansen on display here, from old (right) to newest (left):

Old Japan Railways liveried Shinano train - I have seen some of these in service in more local areas in Japan until recently:

Closer look at the Shinkansen's:

For a brief period the Shinkansen used to have a Dining Car on it (these days they have a food service to each seat). I would have loved to try this when it was in use:

Shinkansen Dining car external view:

Spectacular views of the trains in the main display hall from the second floor viewing area:

Being a train museum, of course you can buy Ekiben (Local Railway Station lunch boxes) to eat. I bought some Miso-katsu and some amazing Shinkansen shaped water bottles:

Seriously, only in Japan:

Miso-katsu - a local Nagoya specialty that tastes much better than it looks:

Another view of Dr. Yellow test Shinkansen:

Final thing to look at is the very impressive model train diorama display they have in the museum:

The detail is stunning:

I couldn't imagine how much work went into making this diorama - very impressed:

So there you have it, the JR SCMaglev and Railway Park in Nagoya - an absolute must-see for any train fan who is visiting Japan!

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