Rail Museum Chugging Along With Renovated Giant Diorama

Rail museum chugging along with renovated giant diorama

SAITAMA--Unencumbered by glass plates, the renovated diorama room at the Railway Museum in the city's Omiya Ward offers an even more realistic view of the popular miniature railway world.

Visitors can enjoy watching the miniature cars traveling in front of their eyes while listening to the sounds made by the toy trains, as the diorama with its glass covering removed was unveiled to the public on July 14.

Together with the newly introduced Railway Cultural Gallery section for related cultural artworks and a dining car-themed restaurant, the museum is aiming to attract more visitors during the current school summer vacation period.

Measuring about 23 meters wide and about 10 meters deep, the diorama faithfully re-creates the cityscape, mountains, agricultural fields, iron bridges and other details. Shinkansen and conventional train cars run on the tracks, which totals about 1,200 meters in length.

The number of train car models housed at the museum also rose to 1,400. The coupling and uncoupling of the E5 Series Tohoku Shinkansen and E6 Series Akita Shinkansen trains are also performed.

Toy trains based on those run by Odakyu Electric Railway Co., Keikyu Corp. and other private railway operators have also been brought together for the first time to operate them in various programs.

The gallery section features railroad-related works including 77 novels, essays and cartoons, in addition to 22 paintings, 55 films, 51 songs and 66 "ekiben" lunch boxes and "ekisoba" noodle dishes sold on trains and at stations. Commentary will be shown on monitors when digital panels for the artworks and food samples are touched.

The 140-seat train-themed Restaurant Nippon Shokudo is modeled after a dining car echoing the nostalgic vibes from the mid-1950s through the mid-1970s.

The restaurant’s signature meals include beef fillet steak previously served for passengers of Cassiopeia sleeper trains, as well as beef curry and "Hayashi rice" (Japanese beef stew poured over cooked rice) reflecting the tastes from the past.

Visit the official website at (http://www.railway-museum.jp/en/).