Fukushima firm builds fan own steam engine

JIJI

An engineering company in Fukushima Prefecture has built the first steam locomotive in Japan in some 20 years, fulfilling an order from a railroad fan eager to do something to support reconstruction in the disaster-hit prefecture.

The 4.6-meter-long, 1.5-meter-wide and 2.5-meter-tall engine was put through its paces at a factory of Kyosan Kogyo Co., the builder, in the city of Fukushima on Sunday.

Kazumi Oka, 66, president of a trucking company in Nakagawa, Tochigi Prefecture, ordered the 6tSL101 engine, which took about a year to build.

“It was a big challenge,” said Kyosan Kogyo President Mamoru Kato.

Previously, the most recently built steam engine was also built by Kyosan Kogyo — in 1991 for Tokyo Disneyland’s Western River Railroad.