Trainspotting In Japan: Fans Bid Farewell To Classic EF 551 Engine

ef55 train bridge japan photo

(Photo: Tabibito-banban)

Yesterday train aficionados went to Takasaki, north of Tokyo, to bid farewell to the EF 551 train engine, affectionately known as "Moomin" because of its resemblance to the cartoon character. A few of my friends regularly meet up for such events, taking photos and blogging about the trains. But the event yesterday was special: the EF 551 was Japan's first electrical engine, domestically designed with the Pennsylvania Railroad GG1 in mind. The similarities end there. Today, Japan is the country with most passenger rail per inhabitant, as noted by The International Union of Railways. Graph after the jump:

rail km per inhabitant image

(Graph adopted from

The EF 55 series of train engines were used in East Asia and throughout Japan until the 1980s, and still ran on special events, carefully monitored by fans and their kids.

ef55 train final run japan photo

(Photos from Kikatama, The Japan Times)

Japan leads the way also when it comes to electrification of railways, and as Sean Fisher has noted, increased use of public transportation might just save your life: Public transportation in particular can help you avoid much of the pollution we breath in on our commutes to and from work.

ef551 trainspotting japan image

(Photo: Tabibito-banban)

More on Trains:
Promoting Train Travel In Japan
Making Trains Fun, Sexy, And Romantic in Japan
Project Transit: Restoring the Romance of Public Transportation

Written by Martin Frid at

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