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15Jul/190

Chizu Express and Tsuyama – May 2019

After a fantastic nights accomodation in Hayabusa, I was off to Tsuyama via the Chizu Express railway. The trip started from Hayabusa Station where the 8:51am service took me to Koge Station. This saw a transfer onto the 9:02am Super Hakuto, southbound to Chizu Station.

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To transfer to the Chizu Express Railway, you have to exit Chizu Station and walk around the outside of the building to a separate entrance. In the foyer, you'll find a station employee ready to sell you tickets to your destination. I was off to Sayo, with a small stop in-between!

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Koi-Yamagata Station

The Chizu Express runs cute little DMUs, that resemble the Super Hakuto livery, and I chose the local service for the first leg of my journey. The second stop along the way is Koi-Yamagata Station and also happens to be a timing-point/passing-loop on the single line. This was fantastic, as I wanted to actually stop at the station to take random photos. I confirmed how long the train would stopped for with the driver before hopping off onto the platform!

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Isn't it cute? The prefix 'Koi' means romance and, well, they've gone nuts with the pink! It was actually really nice that both DMUs stopped for over a minute next to eachother. Maybe it's destiny to meet someone else from the other vehicle? I surely didn't.

Awakura-Onsen Station

We were then held for 7 minutes at Awakuraonsen Station. This station is another timing-point which lets a Super-Oki bolt past in the other direction. I was too busy taking panorama shots and forgot to wait for the express to come through. I was totally not ready when it did!

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It was actually a really nice place to stop-over. I couldn't see where the actual onsen was located, but a bunch of grandparents got off for a bathe. A bunch of American teenagers then got on to go through to Osaka. I overheard them fighting over which train to transfer to... and so quickly interrupted them and sorted out their predicament. The funniest part was when the most incorrect of them agreed with me afterwards, saying "oh yes, of course that's the way to go."

Sayo Station

Although bound by concrete buildings, Sayo Station also had quite a pleasant demeanour. Maybe it was just the constant hum of diesel engines bolting through. It was quite a busy station!

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Watching grandparents drink beer on the platform at ~1030 in the morning was a treat. I wonder if they were off to the onsen also?

Tsuyama

There's an old roundhouse here that is now a museum and I'd wanted to visit it for quite a while! The DMU above took it's sweet time to get to Tsuyama, but that was a good thing... it was a beautiful ride through the country-side. There was one grandpa, fluent in English, who decided to tell me otherwise: that this slow little train took too long. He also wanted advice on a hotel in Tsuyama, of which I had nothing to give, as I was heading back to Shin-Osaka that afternoon.

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Out the front you'll find a stuffed-and-mounted C11 looking splendid!

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Hahahaha... that hurts my eyes... but hey, I nearly succeeded. I then caught a taxi to a local Hard-Off ... which I didn't take a photo of. Maybe because I was distracted, talking to the driver about finding treasure in the junk corners. He was very surprised that someone would travel to central Honshu just to visit a Hard-Off... I mentioned it was also for the roundhouse and he was happy to wait outside the shop, before proceeding to take me to my other destination!

Tsuyama Roundhouse

This is so beautifully presented! There's nearly zero english, so don't go there to learn things... but do go there just to see some beautiful old JNR-era rolling-stock up close!

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I couldn't quite stop taking photos... the weather was a little overcast, but the scenery was fantastic! There was even a diorama of the actual yard... the roundhouse was perfectly represented.

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I then quickly strolled back to Tsuyama station to catch the Kotobuki to Okayama.

500-series Ex-Evangelion Shinkansen

I think? The colour-styling made it feel like something from the anime. I loved the controls up the front also. I also loved the fact that I had the whole train to myself! It was a Kodama after-all and I suppose people prefer the faster services.

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Even though it was an all-stops, it still felt like a fast trip back!

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