Longtime conventions and trip chairman and former editor of Headlights Jack May will be the presenter of our January meeting, “Survey of the Streetcars of Japan.”
In the spring of 2010, Jack and the late Phil Craig journeyed to Japan with their wives. They focused on visiting cities with traditional streetcar lines, many of which are too small to support heavy metro systems, plus some large cities which retain a small number of streetcar lines mainly as feeders to rapid transit. Of the 18 cities with tramways, Jack and Phil visited 15 on their three-week sojourn, and all but Toyohashi, Sapporo and Hakodate will be covered in this month’s slideshow.
The tramways in most of these cities consist of a familiar mixture of street running, center- and side-of-the-road reservation, and even a certain amount of cross-country interurban-like private right-of-way. This is similar to what could be found in North American cities before the mass abandonments after World War II and today, following the rebirth of light rail and streetcars. And because of the excellence of Japanese maintenance and efforts to keep costs low, today’s rolling stock is a mixture of old-fashioned high-floor streetcars and newly-built streamlined low-floor units.
Japan is a hotbed of electric traction, with electrified mainline railways, both traditional and high-speed; upgraded interurbans; and subway systems operating in cities and connecting to suburbs. Because of time constraints this presentation will be limited to streetcar operations, although occasional views of other electric lines will creep in.
Jack traditionally opens each year of ERA meetings with his outstanding presentations. Please join us on Zoom to welcome in the New Year with our first program of 2022!