After a lovely t-shirt-and-shorts-weather 25 degrees in Miyazaki, it was colder in Osaka. A few days later we arrived in Tokyo to a pleasant day, somewhat similar to Osaka weather.
After failing to correctly find a good location in the Urawa area last time, I had decided this time it was time to venture onto the Musashino Line and check out the freight as they branch down from the north.
This station is located to the west of Musashi-Urawa station and forms the left leg of the triangle with the Tohoku Line. Because of this, any freight that wants to head west uses this line to bypass the city. I arrived there on a really nice pre-winter afternoon and the setting sun provided a very surreal glow on all trains approaching from the east.
You can tell you're in the right place when there's already a row of fans blocking your first shot :)
I saw one express passenger train, but it wasn't until now that I realised it was a school excursion! The kanji is 修学旅行.
Next up was an EMU transfer. Totally fluked it.
Back to Minamisenju
I'd stayed in hostels here before, but this time I chose AirBNB. The apartment was in Arakawa-ku and had an amazing view of the Joban line, right after the freight line joined from the Sumidagawa Yard.
There was a constant barrage of passenger trains, including express trains.
And then the odd freight train!
Having a beer on the balcony provided a perfect end to a fun day. The weather was getting eerily cool though.
First Tokyo November Snow in 54 Years?
WTF... it was freezing. What was happening... the sunset was amazing the evening before... where'd the heat go?
Hahaha... that is ACTUALLY snow. And the flakes are huge. It's even settled around the neighbourhood already!
Venturing out into it saw that the trains were actually struggling. Quite a few delays and a few track faults? I always laugh when Melbourne fails in the heat but never expected Japan to be caught unawares.
Back to Nishi-Urawa, the long way...
As that I was staying right next to Minamisenju Station, and knowing that freight traversed the Musashino Line, a direct path was cut to the closest Musashino Station. This happened to be Shin-Koshigaya Station on the Tobu SkyTree Line. Initially a local train was taken, but a transfer to an express occurred halfway down the line when the delays meant that the local would take a lot longer than expected.
The snow was simply beautiful and not getting any lighter. It was actually making it pretty hard to focus on the trains over the large flakes!
At Shin-Koshigaya Station, lunch was had at Matsuya. Once thawed out, we entered JR Minami-Koshigaya Station and departed for Nishi-Urawa once more.
Even in the snow, there were still avid fans taking photos.
This shot was nearly totally blocked by the EMU. My fellow photo taker got a little excited!
An umbrella would've been a really great idea... keeping snow off the lens was a challenge.
From there it was off to Akihabara...
Night Time in Minamisenju
Japan is always picturesque at night, so we went for an urban crawl photographing the scenes whilst trying not to freak out the locals.
That last shot is a bit of cool street art depicting the Arakawa Street Car line that has a terminus just around the corner.
Freight at Mikawashima Station
The next day was back to brisk but sunny weather, so we checked out the area to the west of the apartment.
The freight line drops away from the Joban Line at Mikawashima Station and there are a few level crossings to be taken advantage of. Unfortunately, the lighting in the morning isn't good for west-bound trains.
Arakawa Toden Line
This is a small tram line running in the inner-north of Tokyo. It's all single-car EMUs and runs light rail at the east end.
Most of my photos are in the shade as the line runs between tall buildings most of the time. I recommend checking it out later in the day!
Last day in Minamisenju
A final shot from the balcony in the late-morning sun provided great lighting!
The one location I haven't mentioned yet is the Sumidagawa Freight Yard which was just east of where I was staying. I've been here before a few times and have never been disappointed. There's always something being shunted, as well as services departing and arriving. This time they have a new hybrid shunter!
And that was a wrap.. I'll post two more articles on Tokyo. We stopped through the N3331 Cafe in Ochanomizu and also ventured into Narita town itself as Jetstar delayed our flight!