The Express Pleasure of Japan's Steam Locomotives
By Robert Cutts
In December 1975, steam locomotives were taken out of passenger service.
By March of next year they had vanished from freight lines as well. But
just 12 years later their smoke was filling the skies of Japan once again.,
as the nation's "nostalgia boom" demanded they be brought back.
Now, in 18 different places, steam locomotives are in service and old,
powerful sounds can be hard. The SLs are healthy once more. It's like an
old dream come true: sweet-and sour memories, from good days long gone
---Asahi Graph Magazine
There are certain subjects the experiences writer approaches with trepidation.
Dogs and children, for example. Or sex. Or steam locomotives.
Because obvious as some things seem, no writer can be sure he had his audience
feel same about anything no intimate.
What is about steam trains, then? Why do hundreds of thousands of Japanese
reserves tickets weeks, months in advance every summer, travel hundreds
of miles to see them, stand hours in rocky creekbeds below of yen and kiloliters
of sweat to the painful work of restoring the rusting old buckets?
Is this about the history of the technology? About he symbology of power,
or the romance of the rails? Is actually about Freud --- or Just about
being little boys, and the fathers of little boys? Well, what the hell;
let's go along for the ride. ...
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Copyright (C) 1991 by Japan Air Lines
Copyright (C) 1991 by Akira SHIRAI
Copyright (C) 1992,96,97 by Railfan Club, Nagoya Institute of Technology