Umekoji Steam Locomotive Museum
History and museums
Umekoji Steam Locomotive Museum (梅小路蒸気機関車館, Umekōji Jōkikikansha-kan) is a railway museum located in Shimogyō-ku, Kyoto, Japan. Opened in 1972, the locomotive depot houses 19 steam locomotives.
The museum is owned by West Japan Railway Company (JR West) and is operated by Transportation Culture Promotion Foundation.
At the center of the museum is a 20-track roundhouse built in 1914. It was built surrounding a turntable, and houses and exhibits the preserved locomotives. The roundhouse is an Important Cultural Property designated by the government of Japan as the oldest reinforced-concrete car shed extant in Japan.
Additional historical artifacts are exhibited in a two-story wooden building adjacent to the roundhouse. This is the former station building of Nijō Station in Kyoto. The building was built in 1904 and was moved to the museum grounds in 1997.
Short "exhibition operation" excursions are conducted on dedicated track on the museum grounds. Steam trains hauled by either C62, C61, D51 or 8620 class locomotives operate three times a day, making a round-trip on the track in about 10 minutes. Visitors can ride the train for 200 yen (adult).
The museum was opened by Japanese National Railways (JNR) on October 10, 1972 commemorating the centennial of the railway in Japan. When JNR was divided into regional companies in 1987, the museum was inherited by JR West.
The following 19 locomotives are on display.
Among these locomotives, No. 1080 of Class 1070 was added to the exhibits in 2009, donated by Nittetsu Mining.
Locomotives C56 160 and C57 1 are occasionally operated out of the museum, especially on the semi-regular service on the Yamaguchi Line.
Umekōji-kōen-mae bus stop is located adjacent to the museum and served by frequent city bus routes (Routes 205, 208, 33) from Kyoto Station.
The nearest railway station is Tambaguchi Station on the Sagano Line (Sanin Main Line), about 15 minutes walk from the museum.
On 19 December 2012, JR West officially announced its plans to open a new railway museum next to the Umekoji museum, which will be unified with the existing museum facilities. It was announced on 18 December 2013 that the consolidated facility will be known as the Kyoto Railway Museum (京都鉄道博物館, Kyōto Tetsudō Hakubutsukan). The museum expansion will include the addition of two new large exhibition halls built adjacent to the existing roundhouse, opening on 29 April 2016. The new building will be three stories high, with a total floor space of 18,800 square meters. The construction cost was announced to be 7.0 billion yen. The new museum will house approximately 50 railway vehicles, including 23 steam locomotives, six shinkansen vehicles, four electric locomotives, and four diesel locomotives. The new museum will also have driving simulators of both commuter lines and Shinkansen lines. The steam locomotive riding experience currently offered at the Umekoji museum will be retained, along with the addition of miniature train railroads.
Once the expansion is complete, the new museum will contain exhibit space covering 31,000 square meters. It will be the largest railway museum in Japan both in terms of floor space and the number of trains exhibited, surpassing JR East's Railway Museum in Saitama and JR Central's SCMaglev and Railway Park in Nagoya.
The expansion became necessary due to the aging facilities of the Modern Transportation Museum in Osaka. The Modern Transportation Museum closed on 6 April 2014, and the exhibits housed there were subsequently moved to the new railway museum in Kyoto.
The rolling stock that will be exhibited at the new museum is as follows.