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Place of honor for a stalwart locomotive [Niigata]

Manufactured during Japan’s period of high economic growth and running on the JR Oito Line until March 2010, the diesel train KiHa 52 is now on display at the Hokuriku Shinkansen’s Itoigawa Station.

The KiHa 52 is suspended during a work to position the train for permanent display at Itoigawa Station in November 2014.

According to the Itoigawa municipal government, the KiHa 52 was built by Japanese National Railways in the 1960s and three cars of the type were introduced on the Oito Line in 1992. It carried countless local commuters to and from work and school, eventually retiring due to wear and tear.

The train had been kept at JR West’s Kanazawa General Rolling Stock Depot. However, as its retro design has always been popular with railway fans, it has now been put on permanent display inside Itoigawa Station, with the interior also opened up to the public. In addition, special rail tracks have been installed so that it can be towed out onto the south entrance plaza for display during events. “We’d like to make this Shinkansen station into a tourist attraction that exhibits a rare train,” a city official said.

When the roughly 40-ton train was brought into the station in November 2014, the body of the train was separated from the chassis. To prevent damage, special suspension equipment was prepared, and two large cranes were used to pick up the body, before carefully placing it back on top of the chassis that had been already been moved onto the exhibition rails.

“I’m glad to have such a memorable train back,” said a homemaker who watched the work. “I hope many people will ride the Shinkansen to come to see it.”

In this 2010 file photo, diesel-powered trains are displayed at the now demolished brick garage building at Itoigawa Station.

(From the Nov. 29, 2014, Niigata Edition)

The Japan News
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