The International Steam Pages

Preserved Steam in Japan, 2015
Maruseppu Ikoinomori (Maruseppu Recreation Forest)

This one of a number of reports about Japan. See also:

Takahide Yamamoto reports on his visit to Hokkaido in June 2014.

The locomotive in action is ex-Murii Forest Railway (2ft 6in gauge) and is preserved in Maruseppu Ikoinomori , which is a town-owned/operated-park and its word-to-word translation into English may be Maruseppu Recreation Forest.

Locomotive 21 (formerly 19) was made by Amemiya Works and of 2ft 6in (762mm) gauge. It runs on weekends in May through to October and every day in summer. The loco runs with a passenger car and a couple of open gondolas on an endless track of a strongly distorted shape of figure “8”. The park is located some 10 kilometres south of Maruseppu Railway Station of JR Hokkaido’s Sekihoku Line. Maruseppu is located about 100 kilometer east of Asahikawa, the second largest city in Hokkaido after Sapporo. The town of Engaru (Maruseppu is now a part of Engaru) provides three round trip bus services between the railway station and the park, but the transfer to/from the JR trains is not at all considered. This forces practically all visitors to rely on cars.

Another steam locomotive under cover is ex-Taiwan Sugar Corporation No.532 (a 2ft 6in gauge Koppel). This loco was bought from Taiwan and was used for several years on the Yamaguchi Line, now closed and dismantled, of Seibu Railway, which was near to Tokyo. Naturally the line was quite popular not only among rail enthusiasts but also people who visit Seibu’s Park. The line boasted lots of cherry trees along the track and lots and lots of people enjoyed the steam train under cherry blossoms in spring. The rumor says it that when Seibu Railway submitted a plan to build a new type of transport system near it, the then-Transportation Ministry suggested, in reality forced, Seibu to discontinue Yamaguchi Line pointing out the redundancy.

The two coaches painted blue and yellow are from Ikasa Tetsudo (=Railway) (now closed) in Okayama Province, and are used on special occasions. Blue and yellow color scheme is of Ikasa. These also used to run on Yamaguchi Line of Seibu Railway. The orange coloured one is also from Ikasa (and Seibu) and retains the livery from Yamaguchi.

This is TSC 523:

Old Brake Van:

Ikasa Tetsudo coaches 13 and 19

Ikasa Tetsudo coaches 18

Rob Dickinson