Showing posts from May, 2014

Kawasaki DF200

Japan, like many European countries, leaped straight into electric propulsion on their railroad networks from steam in the early 20th century. Since her mainlines are dominated by passenger multiple units, locomotives have not been in a big demand. Diesel locomotives are even more scarce, they only run on the relatively few miles of non-electrified mainlines.

The Japanese have attempted producing a diesel-electric locomotive before (not long after the war) but have since been using hydraulic transmission instead. Well, that was until the Kawasaki DF200 was introduced in the early/mid 1990s. To date, the DF200 remains the only diesel-electric locomotive on the JR system.

Like the typical Japanese electric locomotive, the DF200 is a 6-axle but not the kind we are used to. Instead of having two 3-axle trucks, Japanese locomotives have three 2-axle trucks instead. Power comes from two small high-speed diesel engines. Early variants of the DF200 have two MTU engines rated at 1,700 hp, late…

Amtrak Coast Starlight

As I'm touring through the wine country in the bountiful province of Ontario (after all, good things grow in Ontario), it seems appropriate for me to star this wonderful beverage in this week's blog. Yeah, it's still a train blog. No, I can't even pretend to be a wine expert but I'm exploring (and tasting them all!).

Instead of the usual way of going "blah blah blah" on a train, I'm going to do this from a more casual angle, a more vacation-y way. The usual information however, will be linked to this Wikipedia page. However, what makes the Coast Starlight different is that Amtrak offers a wine and cheese tasting on board this train as she traverses through the wine regions of California.

Right. Cheers and enjoy these presentations I've taken no part in making but am taking credit for linking.

JR East Series E2

The Series E2 has always been one my favorites in the world of high speed trains. I refrained from writing about it because I worried that the few words I was to write would not do this great trainset justice. I see the E2 as a nameless hero hard at work behind the scene. Few people ever hear about this specific type of EMU but I don't think her importance in modern high speed railroading can be undermined.

I will not be mentioning the complex conventions the Japanese like to come up with in order to classify rolling stocks, it works, but unless you are screwed in the head like me, it will probably drive you bananas and put you to sleep. On the high level, there are 2 mechanically distinct types of trainsets in the E2 family. The original E2, or E2-0, was introduced in the 1990s that came in 8- or 10-car sets, and the evolved E2-1000 was introduced in early 2000s that only came in 10-car sets. I would logically deduce that the fact that the E2 was manufactured by Kawasaki, Hitachi…

JR Kyushu Series 883

I am sitting here thinking about how nice it will be to ride the new InterCity trains by Hitachi in the UK in the not too distant future. Theres not much information on what these trainsets will actually be like when they start rolling down the production line. All I know right now is that they are from the Hitachi A-Train family, and that they will have the big boots of the InterCity 125 and the InterCity 225 to fill. So I thought to myself, why not write a few brief words about another trainset from (but not quite, which I'll explain) the A-Train family that I've known since quite young an age. That trainset is the narrow gage Series 883 tilting electric multiple unit operated by the Kyushu Railway Company (JR Kyushu) of Southern Japan.

Introduced in 1995, the Series 883 was the first EMU to carry the name of the Sonic limited express train service on the Kagoshima and Nippō mainlines. Now this service is served by both the Series 883 and 885 (another A-Train, also a close r…

The Coronation

This week, I'm gonna put on my history buff wannabe hat, and write about a named passenger train in Great Britain called the Coronation. The Coronation isn't a train any member of my family, or my friends, or myself has ever had the chance to travel on. But a great event hosted by the National Railway Museum in York in 2012 had drawn a slight enough connection between the Coronation and I. The Railfest 2012 was where I had a chance to see and climb aboard of some of the equipment that was used on this train.

Like any other premium passenger train inaugurated in that era, streamlined equipment, tastefully decorated interior, and ample amenities were a must. Being a train named after the coronation of King George VI and Queen Elizabeth, the Coronation could not fall short of any expectations. A special blue livery with red wheels was applied to the beautiful and famous A4 Class Pacific steam locomotives and the interior of the passenger cars was decorated in fashionable Art Dec…