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East Osaka / Kinki Sharyo – May, 2023

It was the start of Golden Week and everyone was busy, so I scoured the flea-market calendar and found one as-close-to the Kinki Sharyo plant as possible. Japan has a lot of railway rolling stock manufacturing plants and some of them are hidden in plain site. This one is located right next to Tokuan Station on the JR Touzai-Gakkentoshi Line, but I was to start my urban expedition a on the Osaka East Line, to hopefully see some freight.

Hanaten was very quiet. There were only a few services passing through, be it because it was 7am in the morning, or because of Golden Week timetables. Interestingly there were a lot of kids in baseball uniforms heading off to the miriad of fields in the area. Must be a holiday thing!

First up was a dawdle to the JR yard just to the east of Hanaten. There's a very nice set of bridges where the East Line splits from the Touzai-Gakkentoshi Line, but it's only for passengers services.

The shot above was the best I got of the JR depot. It's elevated around 3 metres from the road-level and you couldn't see a thing. All good, lettuce continue to the main course. You can take a due-north path back to the JR line to, at least, see something operating.

A little further on and the promised land appeared before me.

And so did all the 'no photo' signs! They obviously get a bit of interest from rail-fans, from this side of the plant anyway.

There were a few cars in the end yard of the plant. The area was very quiet, so I did the wrong thing and took a photo anyway.

My investigations on google maps had proven there to be a footpath around the back of the plant, past the service station on the corner. I continued around until I found the entrance.

That path provides a good view around the back of the plant where there are no "no photo" signs! There wasn't much else happening either, thanks to Golden Week.

Around the north-east corner, there's an old softball pitch that's being used to store the new Tokyo Metro rollingstock.

Yup, we get it, no more softball!

The plant is still connected to the Touzai-Gakkentoshi Line and must receive/send sets via rail. Unfortunately, the little shunter wasn't up to much this weekend... but it did look like there was a set ready to dispatch:

And is that a 100 Series Shinaksen behind it? Beautiful. Next time I try this I'll try and get insider knowledge to know when something is to be transported out of the factory!

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  1. We can learn a lot from the Japanese when it comes to utilising & appreciating their rail network.
    They seem to have similar challenges to what we have in rural NSW, but instead of closing lines, they work on new ideas to get profitable services running on them.

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