Autumn colors form the backdrop for a sleeper train

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A “Blue Train” shows it’s up to the challenge.

Limited express sleeper train Akebono bound for northerly destinations

  • Early in November.
  • In Akita - between Shirasawa and Jinba on the Ou Main Line
  • This sleeper train’s southern terminus is Ueno Station in Tokyo. It travelled on the Joetsu, Shinetsu, Uetsu and Ou main lines as far as Aomori. In April 2014 its role changed to only offering seasonal extra Akebono services from Odate in Akita Prefecture over the Yatate Pass to Hirosaki in Aomori Prefecture.

 

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Train winding through an autumn landscape

a container fright train

A container freight train designated for one return trip per day carries onions harvested in the Kitami district for consumption in Tokyo.
 

  • Late in October.
  • In Hokkaido - between Ikutahara and Nishirubeshi on the Sekihoku Main Line
  • At Jomon Pass, the leaves were at their most colorful for the photo. The steep gradients and sharp curves pose continual challenges. The train changes direction at Engaru, so two DD51 deisel locomotives are used for push-pull operations. The train must negotiate the Sekihoku and Jomon passes on its way to Kitami. Beginning in 2014, DF200 locomotives are taking over the job. Drivers keep a watch out for bears, deer and other wildlife here.

A “Blue Train” and contrasting autumn colors

Limited express sleeper train Cassiopeia

Limited express sleeper train Cassiopeia moving ever further away from Tokyo
 

  • Lately in October
  • In Hokkaido, near Toyoura on the Muroran Main Line  
  • Pulled by two DD51 deisel locomotives operating in tandem, Cassiopeia runs past a rich forest tapestry in Hokkaido, bound for Sapporo. In the photo Cassiopeia has already passed through the Seikan Tunnel and arrived at Hakodate early in the morning. From there it passes, via Onuma and Komagadake, through Mori, Yakumo, Oshamanbe, Shizukari, Rebun, Okishi, Toyoura, Toya, Usu, Datemombetsu, Kitafunaoka, Mareppu, Kogane and Higashi-muroran, before arriving in Sapporo. Here it skirts the coast of Uchiura Bay.


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