SL comes back on Chichibu Railway – “Paleo Express” resumes on February 2021

Chichibu Railway announced that they will resume the operation of the tourist train “SL Paleo Express” in February 2021 towed by the steam locomotive type “C58”, which had been suspended for inspection.

Chichibu Railway "SL Paleo Express" by steam locomotive type C58
Chichibu Railway “SL Paleo Express” by steam locomotive type C58

“SL Paleo Express” will be operated for a total of 105 days, mainly on Saturdays, Sundays, and holidays from February 13 (Sat) to December 5 (Sun), 2021, and will make one round trip a day between Kumagaya Station and Mitsumineguchi Station. All seats requires reservation, so you need to purchase a “SL reservation seat ticket” (740 yen) in addition to the fare. You can make advance reservations from one month before the operation date to 30 minutes before departure using the “SL Reservation System” on the Chichibu Railway website. In addition, for trains on February 13 (Sat) and 14 (Sun), reception will be accepted from 10:00 on January 15 (Fri).

SL comes back on Chichibu Railway - "Paleo Express" resumes on February 2021

The interior of the coaches is lined with four-seater box seats made of wine red fabric, and has a retro interior that is reminiscent of the “SL train trip in Showa.” At Mitsumineguchi Station, there is a park where you can observe the “turntable” that rotates the direction of the steam locomotive, making it a popular spot.

Wooden station building of Mitsumineguchi Station on Chichibu Railway ©Katsumi
Wooden station building of Mitsumineguchi Station on Chichibu Railway ©Katsumi

The steam locomotive “C58363” manufactured in 1944 was active mainly in the Tohoku region during its active career. It has been operating as “SL Paleo Express” on Chichibu Railway since 1988, and has become the leading role of sightseeing in Chichibu area. Since there was no operation in 2020 due to general inspection, it will be the first SL operation in about 1 year and 2 months.