Welcome to another installment of Anime on Rails. Thanks to the chaos of the US election, my work got a little derailed. But now that it’s all calmed down a bit, let’s get back on track!
Episode five introduces us to a new pair of Railords, and the first one in the spotlight is the retro haikara Railord Kiko!
With a red, black, and white color scheme reflective of her unit’s livery and the latest Taisho-era fashion, Kiko is paired with the Hoji 6016 steam railcar.
The 6016 is a member of the Hoji 6005 class of steam railcars. Manufactured in the 1910s by the Kisha Seizo company, these single unit railcars were used on local lines for transporting passengers. Like most steam engines of the time, they burned coal.
Steam railcars like the Hoji 6016 are a unique type of rolling stock. Steam railcars were the first to combine a locomotive with a passenger car to create a self-propelled unit. Taking the locomotive out of the equation made railcars an inexpensive way to transport passengers on smaller rail lines with low populations that otherwise would not be worth servicing in the eyes of a railroad company. One could say that the steam railcar is the grandfather of modern passenger rail. The self-propelled unit concept has been expanded to the Electrical Multiple Unit trains used around the world by millions of commuters every day.
If you want to see one of the last remaining Hoji 6005 Class railcars, you can find Hoji No. 6014 at the SCMAGLEV and Railway Park in Nagoya. Not only can you step inside the No. 6014 during your visit, but you can also see one of the most impressive collections of rolling stock in Japan. You can see the progression of passenger rail technology from the steam railcar to the shinkansen. If you only ever visit one train museum in Japan, I would recommend this one.