Hello, Kapinozuka here.
I heard that there is a "Shin-Misato Railway Fair" held at the "Lalaport Shin-Misato" shopping
mall, so I paid them a visit late last month.
★ Musashino Switch Yard Photo
*The Photo Exhibit finished on 29th Aug.
The ground that "Lalaport Shin-Misato" is currently built on was formally the location of the
largest Japanese switchyard, the JNR Musashino Switch Yard.
A switchyard is the place where the freight cars get sorted by the locations they are to head for,
and is restructured into a freight train formation, so you could think of it simply as a train
It was a high tech switchyard managed by computers, which were rare back then, but had been
abolished in 1986.
So the photos of this old switchyard had been on exhibit.
Left: Freight car sent to the sorting line from the humps (Wamu?)
Right: The many rails and turning points
Humps are the artificially created small slopes and the freight cars are sent to the specified
train formation, one by one from here.
In the old days, the staff in charge of control had to jump onto the freight car that rolled on the
slope to pull the break.
At the Musashino Switch Yard, the freight car sorting were automated by the control of a computer
system, and each tasks were carried out almost fully unmanned.
Left: The freight cars that are gathered at the spacey yard.
Right: The Control Room with a huge panel
On the image of the control room, we can only see one person in the photo.
Even the diesel locomotive that inserted the freight cars was controlled via wireless.
The control tower was left 'til around year 2000, and was able to be seen from the windows of
trains running on the JR Musashino Line.
The circular topped water tank looked as if a radar dome or something, and gave the atmosphere of a
fortress that had frozen in time.
Left: Aerial Image of the switchyard in its late periods
Right: the aerial view of the land 10years after the abolishment of switchyard
Both images have the diagonal space in the middle, from the top left to the bottom right, and that
is the area of the switchyard.
Around the time the switchyard had been abolished, the surrounding lands were under development,
and the Shin-Misato station was created as a part of it.
However, as they constructed the platforms of each direction in a way that it would wrap the ex-
switchyard in between, the result caused it to go on Guinness Book of Records for the station with its platform most distant from each other in the world
*it had combined and became a normal station now
The Musashino Switchyard had carried great expectations as one of the greatest centers of the
railway freight transportation, but with the changes in the transports in Japan, it had been
disregarded in just 9 years after its start.
And it's still fresh in out memory that for over 20 years after its abolishment, this wide land was
left as a vacant lot.
At present, it has turned into a land with shopping mall and residential district,
so compared to the days of its vacant lot, it has gotten a whole lot livelier.
★ Railway Goods Market
*The Railway Goods Market finished on 29th Aug.
Next to the Photo Exhibit, there was a railway goods shopping booth.
The day I visited happened to be the final day of the market, so there weren't many products
There were many JR Freight items, it could be related to the fact that the land used to be the
Items such as towels and clear-file folders with illustrations of locomotives of the JR Freight
printed on them.
There were also products of Kashima Rinkai Railways, who are very deeply related to the JR Freight
Other than these, there were the Kitaka Pass-cases and drink bottles etc. by the JR Hokkaido, which
may have been part of their 130th anniversary celebration.
So I thought I would try out the "Ulala Green Tea" that's made with the Mineral Water "Hokkaido
Niseko Water", which is the water from Mt.Niseko.
They are both limited edition products by Hokkaido Kiosk!
Plus, there were goods related to Tokyu cars by the car manufactures.
Things such as the pass-case for IC Fare Ticket with the illustration of Tesudo Musume etc.
Looking at it properly, there was the Tetsudo-musume
Arumi – Welding Training (Tokyu Cars Limited Editon
"What is Kanazawa Arumi doing at a place like this!?"
said the figurine blogger Tominon, sounding surprised.
The mysteries of the Tokyu Cars will be reveled in the next blog.
★ Preview of the next blog
The key exhibit at the Shin-Misato Railway Fair was this...!!
Next time (Blog Part 2), we will be reporting from the Mysterious Green Car
(that's not so mysterious)!
Look forward to it!
By Kapinozuka, who thinks Old
freight cars are also interesting
— Related Links —(Japanese sites only)
Lalaport Shin Misato → Shin-Misato Railway Fair
Rail Fan Electric Train Market → Tetsudo-musume Kanazawa Arumi