Umekoji Steam Locomotive Museum (梅小路蒸気機関車館)

The Umekoji Steam Locomotive Museum is a preservation and display facility for steam locomotives, operated by West Japan Railway Company (JR West Japan), located in Kankiji-cho, Shimogyo-ku, Kyoto City, Kyoto Prefecture.

Timeline

On October 10, 1972, the Japan National Railway opened a semicircular garage at the Umekoji engine yard in Shimogyou-ku, Kyoto in celebration of the 100th anniversary of the first railway in Japan. The first of its kind, this facility preserves working steam locomotives, honoring them as precious artifacts of industrial culture that supported the Japanese rail transport system. JR West Japan took over the facility in 1987, following the breakup and privatization of Japanese National Railways. The facility itself is also an active depot (Umekoji Railyard), and carries out inspections and maintenance on steam locomotives and Japanese National Railways Diesel Locomotive Class DE10 owned by Sagano Scenic Railway.

Initially, this facility was established for working preservation of steam locomotives, which had begun disappearing rapidly in the latter half of the 1960s. The Koyama engine yard at Koyama Station in Tochigi Prefecture was the best candidate for the locomotive preservation area because it was close to the capital, but the Umekoji engine yard was chosen in 1970 for its central location in Japan and the presence of other historic spots in the area. Reviews had been made to select, in principle, lowest-numbered extant steam locomotives (#1 if possible) for preservation, but there are some steam locomotives, such as the Class C62 #2, that were not originally planned for preservation.

Facilities

The facilities consist of the Steam Locomotive Display Hall, taking advantage of the semicircular garage and turntable of the former Umekoji Engine Depot, and the Educational Display Gallery at the former Nijo Station building which was moved and rebuilt at this location.

The semicircular garage of reinforced concrete construction (built in 1914) was designated as an Important Cultural Property by the Japanese Government on December 10, 2004, along with its 5-ton electric ceiling crane (completed in 1915) and access rails. In 2004, it was also chosen by the Japan Society of Civil Engineers as a Public Works Heritage site. In 2006, the former Nijo Station building (gallery) and the semicircular garage, along with the preserved steam locomotives as well as inspection and maintenance equipment, etc. were designated as Railway Memorial Objects and Railway Semi-memorial Objects by JR West Japan.

The former Nijo Station building, built in 1904 by the Kyoto Railway Company to double as a headquarters building, is now the oldest 2-story, wooden, Japanese-style station building, and was modeled after Heian Jingu Shrine with harmony with the surrounding landscape in mind. It was used as a station building by Japanese National Railways and JR West Japan after Kyoto Railway Company was nationalized in 1907; but its use as a station building ended in 1996, following the elevation of the Sanin Line (Sagano Line) between Nijo and Hanazono Stations (in Kyoto Prefecture), and in 1997 was rebuilt on this site to be used as an entrance, with its original indoor facilities such as ticket windows being used as a gallery. It was designated a Cultural Property of the City of Kyoto in April 1996.

The semicircular garage houses and displays 18 steam locomotives (originally 17 when the facility first opened) of 16 different classes - all manufactured in Japan from the Taisho to Showa periods. When this museum opened, there was a rule that locomotives should be preserved in working conditions. In fact, 15 locomotives excluding the two (Class C53 #45 and Class C51 #239) were registered for operation. However, the scope of locomotives to be preserved has been reconsidered several times since then. As of 2006, 7 locomotives of 7 different classes are preserved in working conditions. Of those, 5 steam locomotives of 5 different classes are still registered for operation, and 2 (Class C57 #1 and Class C56 #160) are in service to pull trains on main lines such as the Yamaguchi on the Yamaguchi Line and the Kita Biwako on the Hokuriku Main Line. The others in working conditions are registered but cannot run on the main lines because they have not undergone general inspections. Also, the SL Steamliner - pulled by a locomotive being preserved in working conditions for display in the museum - is running on the tracks of the museum site.

This display track once stretched north from the garage to the northern edge of the grounds, where there is now a parking lot for large vehicles (where a rest facility for the museum and a park were once located). In line with relocation of the former Nijo Station building, it was rearranged to go through the southern edge of Umekoji Park and under the Sagano Line tracks.

Today this is still a functional engine depot, and is connected to rail lines in operation. After the closing of West Japan Railway Company's Takatori Plant, the facility has also taken over maintenance of steam locomotives.

Code Indicated On The Locomotives On Display

Stands for Umekoji

Preserved Steam Locomotives

All the steam locomotives, except for Class C62 #1 that was designated in 1976, were designated as Railway Semi-memorial Objects together with its logs and maintenance tools in 2006. Unless otherwise noted, the steam locomotives were transferred from the previous engine depots in 1972. Registraion of steam locomotives marked with * had been deleted when they were brought to Umekoji for preservation.

Japanese National Railways Steam Locomotive Class 8620 - Working
Manufactured in 1914 by Kisha Seizo Co., Ltd. Transferred from the Hirosaki Transport Area. Registration deleted in 1979 (for working preservation).

Japanese National Railways Steam Locomotive Class 9600
Manufactured in 1914 by Kawasaki Dockyard Co., Ltd. Transferred from the Otaru Switch Yard. Registration deleted in 1979 (for working preservation). Put into static preservation in 1987.

Japanese National Railways Steam Locomotive Class B20 - Working
Manufactured in 1946 by Tateyama Heavy Industries. Transferred from the Kagoshima Engine Depot. Registration deleted in 1979. Restored to working conditions in 2002 in commemmoration of the 30th anniversary of the museum.

Japanese National Railways Steam Locomotive Class C11
Manufactured in 1940 by Kawasaki Rolling-Stock Mfg. Co., Ltd. Transferred from Aizu-Wakamatsu Station, Koriyama General Rolling Stock Center. Registration deleted in 1987.

Japanese National Railways Steam Locomotive Class C51 *
Manufactured in 1927 by by Kisha Seizo Co., Ltd. Scrapped at the Niitsu Transport Area in 1962. Preserved in a disassembled state as educational material at the Niigata Railway Campus, and restored at the Nagano General Rolling Stock Center when moved to Umekoji.

Japanese National Railways Steam Locomotive Class C53 *
Manufactured in 1928 by Kisha Seizo Co., Ltd. Scrapped in 1950 at the Umekoji Engine Depot. Preserved from 1961 at the Modern Transportation Museum after being held at the Japanese National Railways Suita Training Center.

Japanese National Railways Steam Locomotive Class C55
Manufactured in 1935 by Kawasaki Rolling-Stock Mfg. Co. Transferred from the Asahikawa Rail Yard. Registration deleted in 1979.

Japanese National Railways Steam Locomotive Class C56 - Working (registered, operable on the main line)
Manufactured in 1939 by Kawasaki Rolling-Stock Mfg. Co. Transferred from the Matsumoto Transport Area.

Japanese National Railways Steam Locomotive Class C57 - Working (registered, operable on the main line)
Manufactured in 1937 by Kawasaki Rolling-Stock Mfg. Co. Transferred from the Sakura Engine Depot.

Japanese National Railways Steam Locomotive Class C58
Manufactured in 1938 by Kisha Seizo Co., Ltd. Transferred from the Kitami Rail Yard. Registration deleted in 1987.

Japanese National Railways Steam Locomotive Class C59
Manufactured in 1946 by Hitachi, Ltd. Transferred from the Nara Rail Yard. Registration deleted in 1979.

Japanese National Railways Steam Locomotive Class C61 - Working (registered)
Manufactured in 1948 by Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, Ltd. Transferred from the Miyazaki Engine Depot. Registration deleted in 1979 (for working preservation). Registration restored in 1987.

Japanese National Railways Steam Locomotive Class C62 *
Manufactured in 1948 by Hitachi, Ltd. Scrapped in 1967 at Hiroshima Engine Depot #2. Designated as a Railway Semi-memorial Object in 1986, and held at Hiroshima Railway Campus. Transferred to Umekoji in 1994.

Class C62 #2 - Working (registered)
Manufactured in 1948 by Hitachi, Ltd. Transferred from the Otaruchikko Engine Depot. Registration deleted in 1979 (for working preservation). Registration restored in 1987.

Japanese National Railways Steam Locomotive Class D50
Manufactured in 1925 by Hitachi, Ltd. Transferred from the Noogata Engine Depot. Registration deleted in 1979.

Japanese National Railways Steam Locomotive Class D51
Manufactured in 1936 by Kawasaki Rolling-Stock Mfg. Co. Transferred from the Hamada Engine Depot. Registration deleted in 1987.

Class D51 #200 - Working (registered)
Manufactured in 1938 by Hamamatsu Plant, Tokai Passenger Railway, Railway Ministry. Transferred from the Nakatsugawa Engine Depot. Registration deleted in 1979 (for working preservation). Registration restored in 1987.

Japanese National Railways Steam Locomotive Class D52
Manufactured in 1946 by Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, Ltd. Transferred from the Goryoukaku Engine Depot. Registration deleted in 1979.

Image JRW-B2010: Class B20 #10
Image JNR9633: 9633
Image D50 140 with Umekoji Steam Locomotive Museum mg540: Class D50 #140
Image D51-1 and C62-1 Umekoji: Class D51 #1 and C62 #1
Image JNR-D51200: Class D51 #200 (Steamliner)
Image JNR-C5345: Class C53 #45
Image JRW-C56160: Class C56 #160 (SL Kita Biwako)
Image 2006 08200011.JPG
Image JNR-C621-SteamLoco: Class C62 #1
Image JRW-C622: Class C62 #2

Diesel Locomotives

Japanese National Railways Diesel Locomotive Class DE10
Registered; 2 DE10s belonging to Umekoji.

Other Cars

Japanese National Railways Passenger Car 50 Series
Used as a lounge. At first glance it seems to be in its original shape, but piping of household air conditioners is arranged in the back, with a row of outdoor units. The toilet cannot be used.

References

Umekoji: 90 Years of History (West Japan Railway Company, 2004) ISBN 4777050718
Japanese National Railways Rolling Stock 12: Tokaido Line III (Hoikusha, 1984) ISBN 458653012X
Umekoji Steam Locomotive Museum (Takahiro SEKI)
Railway Fan (Magazine) (Koyusha), December issue, 1994, No. 404 Special Feature: The Age When Umekoji's Steam Locomotives Were In Service
The issue featured development of Umekoji Park and acceptance of C62 #1 in 1994, and carried the logs of respective steam locomotives preserved.

Umekoji S.T.O.R.Y. 1-2, Reizou TAKAYAMA
Railway Fan (Koyusha), January-February issue, 1998 No. 441-442