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Title:The Anbo Forest Railway: we ride Japan's last railway on remote Yakushima Island 屋久島 or 安房森林軌道
Duration:32:25
Viewed:0
Published:01-12-2019
Source:Youtube

Warning! This video includes long un-edited scenes of a narrow gauge railway winding through dense rainforest and crossing dangerous bridges. Rail-fans, read on: Looking like the set from a Studio Ghibli animation, (watch Princess Mononoke!) this remote island of the coast of southern Japan originally boasted four separate forest railways. Today, only one retains all its rails in place and although this railway has proven a popular access track to view Japan's famous Jomon Sugi Cedar, the Arakawa Forest Railway remains very much operational and has been used in recent times to transport cedar for special Temple restoration. However, the existence of this cute Japanese 'Railbus' was a complete surprise! After a chancing across a Japanese photographer's account of his lone expedition to Yakushima Island in the 1970s, we decided to follow his footsteps and travel from Kagoshima to the Island by overnight cargo ship to arrive at dawn in late October 2019. (tsushima-keibendo.a.la9.jp/yakushima/yakushima1.ht…) 安房森林軌道 Yakushima Island is a solidified magma dome that was uplifted so fast it failed to weather and lies between Taiwan and Kyushu in Southern Japan. We wanted to explore what remains of Yakushima's four little known 2'6" gauge forest railways which used efficient but dangerous methods and a constant gradient track to gravitate precious Cedar from the high mountains down to the coast. The 'Arakawa Forest Railway' running upstream from coastal Anbo is Japan's last operating narrow gauge forest railway. Today, the top part remains a popular walk for tourists wanting to access Jomon Sugi, Japan's oldest tree so we were lucky to walk and film the Railway's upper half just the day before we were invited by Forestry management to ride in the cab of their delightfully green Railbus or 'Gentleman's Speeder'! I'm guiding a series of small group, narrow gauge rail tours to Taiwan and Japan. Highlights of our Taiwan tour is a visit to the spectacular Alishan Forest Railway which climbs from sea level to 2.200m in just 75 kilometers which on special occasions, still operates Shay geared locomotives!

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