A Brief Word On Trainspotting

Posted by on Oct 14, 2011 in Saitama, Travel Volunteer Journey | 3 Comments
A Brief Word On Trainspotting

1964. Britain still hangs its citizens; America is violently swithering about the Civil Rights Act; Bob Dylan introduces The Beatles to cannabis. Meanwhile, Japan is getting ready for its first Olympics by unleashing the shinkansen, or what the world will come to know as the Bullet Train.
While the rest of the world may as well have still been hunting mammoths and fending off sabre-toothed tigers, Japan was dragging itself not just into the present day, but well into the future.
The initial trials of their wonder machine were a roaring success, and within a year it would be topping 210km/ph, halving journey times. Today it gets up towards 300km/ph, with plans to go even faster. It’s almost never late and it has an exemplary safety record.
Japan hadn’t invented the train but it had created a new way of travelling.

These factoids and many more we absorbed at Saitama’s Train Museum. It’s an enormous place, filled with retired trains from over a century of train travel, from Imperial relics to trendy models of the 1950s. It’s not so much a graveyard as a nursing home. Elsewhere there’s an old steam engine on a turntable, simulators of what it’s like to drive today’s trains, and an actual train track where children (and Katy) can have a go at driving an actual train.
The whole place really wouldn’t be out of place in the middle of Washington DC with the title Smithsonian above the door.







  1. Robert
    October 14, 2011

    The train takes you to that museum from Omiya is the smallest form of public transport I have traveled on.

    Yes there are even smaller, but these are usually rides in amusementparks or within the musea itself. And this one is outside and being used as a normal with its first stop from Omiya being the museum.

    Oh and when people are in Tokyo, take some time to visit this museum, its really worth it.

    • Robert
      October 14, 2011

      The train that takes you …. :s

      • Robert
        October 14, 2011

        Rubber fingers i guess. “being used as a normal commuter train”