The Tobu Museum is the closest railway museum to central Tokyo, just 2 stations away from Tokyo Skytree by the Tobu Skytree Line. Operated by Tobu Railway, the museum focuses mainly on the said company. Having tried out their services to Kinugawa-Onsen and Nikko a few days back, I had some background experiences with Tobu Railway to properly appreciate the museum better.
Admission to the Tobu Museum is rather cheap, at only ¥200 (~S$2.52) for adults.
Heading into the Tobu Museum.
The welcome lobby of the Tobu Museum.
Tickets for the Tobu Museum can be purchased from the ticket vending machine.
Once you have your tickets, a Tobu staff will come up and punch you in.
The first sight of the interior of the Tobu Museum.
There is a small diorama on the side, but it’s negligible as it isn’t very accurate based on rolling stock and scenery. It’s a mix of Germany and Japan.
The B1 Class Steam Locomotive No. 5 (5号蒸気機関車（SL B1形5号）) is the first artifact to be seen as you enter the Tobu Museum.
In front of it, is the DeHa 1 Class No. 5 electric railcar (デハ1形5号電車).
The destination sign for an Asakusa – Nishiarai service on the then-Tobu Isesaki Line (now Tobu Skytree Line).
The interior of the DeHa1 railcar.
The rear cab of the DeHa1 railcar with the driving and brake handle absent.
The front cab of the DeHa1 railcar with the driving and brake handle present.
Some model Tobu trains outside the DeHa1 railcar.
A 1/20 scale model of the Tobu 100 series SPACIA EMU complete with interior.
Heading into the information part of the museum.
More smaller scale model trains.
The rolling stock history of Tobu Railway.
The cast manufacturer plates of Beyer, Peacock and Company from the B1 Class Steam Locomotives.
A photo taking area with the Tobu Railway map and EMU faces.
The evolution of Tobu Railway lines.
There is also a mock-up of the SPACIA Compartment.
The mock-up seems pretty accurate as compared with my visit of the real thing a few days ago.
A 1/20 scale model of the maintenance vehicle which I spotted at Shimo-Imaichi a few days ago.
The various maintenance vehicles that Tobu Railway uses.
An exhibit of trackside equipment to show how point switching is made.
There is a button for you to press to switch the points.
The point mechanism is covered in acrylic boxes.
The signals will change according to the direction of the point.
A Toki Type 1 Freight Car and a preserved bogie of the Shimonoseki Electric Railway DeHa 103.
There is also a motorised bogie which you can control and view up close and personal.
There are proper throttle and brake levers for you to play with the bogie.
The pantograph of the 8000 Series EMU. No playing with this pantograph since there’s no catenary wire, and also not to electrocute everyone nearby it.
An older relay signalling equipment set for the public to try out.
The bigger 1/45 scale model layout allows you to learn how Automatic Train Stop (ATS) assists in train driving, and you can give driving a model train a go too, though ATS is pretty boring to drive on.
The layout of ATS simulation.
The number on the console corresponds to the train and line number on the layout.
The linear track up front allows you to control the signalling on a single-track line instead.
There are train simulators of the Tobu Main Lines and Tobu Tojo Line too.
The train for the Tobu Tojo Line is the 50050 Series EMU, while the Tobu Main Lines is the 8000 Series EMU. These are all free of charge.
There is also a 10030 Series EMU simulator complete with cab mock-up.
The two simulator route maps specially created for the train simulator area.
The super accurate driving cab of the 10030 Series EMU simulator.
A preserved Fuji Heavy Industries (Nissan engine) Cab Over Type Bus. This is a TN714 Type, No. 1625, Registration Number 東2-58277.
The bus driving cab of the TN714 Type bus.
The overall interior of the of the TN714 Type bus.
An ED5010 series electric locomotive No. ED5015 (ED5015号電気機関車) also preserved in the Tobu Museum.
A preserved gondola of Akechidaira Ropeway (明智平ロープウェイ) from 1950.
There is also a Tobu Bus simulator for you to try driving on the road.
Boarding the bus simulator.
The driving cab of the bus simulator.
Unfortunately, the bus simulator was just playing a video of Tobu Bus. Or maybe I didn’t know how to activate the simulator.
Disembarking from the Tobu Bus simulator.
There is also a preserved Nikko Tramway 200 Type No. 203 train (200型203号（201～206号）).
Boarding the Nikko Tramway 200 Type No. 203 train, which steps are below an extended floor from the museum building.
Facing the front of the train from the entrance.
It’s pretty easy to identify the front of Japanese trains as older trains only have 1 brake handle per train set, so the driver has to carry it around when switching cabs. Wherever the brake handle is, is the facing direction of the train.
The train is not going anywhere now though.
The line timetable of the defunct Nikko Tramway.
The overall interior of the Nikko Tramway 200 Type.
The train is parked outside the museum building facing the main road alongside the station.
The now-rear cab of the Nikko Tramway 200 Type train.
The route map of the Nikko Tramway 200 Type.
This would have been so convenient to explore Nikko if this tramway was still in operation.
The connection between the Nikko Tramway and the Tobu and JR lines at Tobu-Nikko and Nikko respectively, including connections to Kinugawa-Onsen. Looks like there was ever a through Nikko – Ueno JR train before.
Heading back into the museum building, it was just in time for the Panorama Show.
The big diorama in the Tobu Museum features sceneries of Kanto where the Tobu Railway travels.
The lights are dimmed as the Panorama Show starts.
The Panorama Show reflects a day in the life of the Tobu Railway.
Tokyo waking up in the morning.
Morning commuter trains running.
The Limited Express SPACIA heading off to Nikko.
The SL Taiju running along the countryside on its own dedicated track in the diorama.
The coupling between the Revaty Kegon and Revaty Aizu.
The Revaty Kegon and Revaty Aizu heading off to Shimo-Imaichi.
Sunset in Tokyo over the Tokyo Skytree.
Commuter trains heading off service one by one back to the depot.
Tokyo sleeping for the night after all trains have returned to the depot.
After the show, the lights come on again to see the full diorama fleet stabling in the depot.
The main diorama depot in front of the gallery seats.
SL Taiju stabling on its own dedicated track in the distance.
The Sumida River behind the Tokyo Skytree.
Tobu Asakusa Station with tracks heading out of the rear of the building in this diorama.
The exhibits continue upstairs through the slope around the diorama.
The view of the diorama from the slope up.
The view of the ED5015 from the second floor of the Tobu Museum.
The upper level features more about the off-track workings of Tobu Railway.
Heading through an open ticket gate to the station workings exhibits.
The ticket gate is encased in a transparent acrylic cover so you can see what goes on to validate your ticket in the machine.
The exit out of the ticket gate.
Oh, I think I know very well what these are.
A model showing how the token system works.
Old ticket selling equipment for coin counting and station stamps for tickets.
A collection of kid-sized staff uniforms, a messenger bag, (possibly) a token machine and handheld signalling equipment.
Signal flags and lamp used by the station master and train conductor, along with a hand-drawn line timetable.
A newer interlocking system progressing from the token system.
Old stations signs on display.
The staff side of an old ticket counter layout. The old then-modern ticketing system looks like a periodic table.
Old validating machines for tickets.
The mechanisms of newer ticket machines after the individual dating method.
The passenger side of the ticket machines.
The fare chart from Higashi-Mukojima Station.
The exterior of the ticket counter. This shows very well that what looks simple to the passenger had a lot of thought put in to the overall design and workings.
The view of the diorama from the upper level.
The exhibition moves on to Tobu Bus.
Tobu Bus seats used in a video gallery about Tobu Bus.
Various Tobu Bus models on display complete with interior.
There are some vending machines for drinks and snacks for a break here.
After this, there are some displays of Mukojima Hyakkaen Gardens and some local art and literature.
There are some benches laid out like a commuter train to rest on, simulating the interior of an 8000 series.
The gallery of Mukojima Hyakkaen Gardens and some local art and literature is behind the mock-up 8000 series.
Looking down at the static exhibits.
More local stuff.
There is also a rest area for groups.
Heading to the outdoor exhibit, there are two preserved vehicles there. The first is the ED101, Tobu Railway’s first electric locomotive.
The cast locomotive number plate of ED101.
The manufacturing plate of Dick, Kerr Works Preston, formerly owned by Dick, Kerr & Co. of Preston acquired by The English Electric Company Limited, the predecessor of General Electric.
The builder plate of The English Electric Company Limited, the predecessor of General Electric.
The other train is the 5700 series EMU No. 5701 (5700系5701号電車) bearing the Express Kegon headplate.
The interior of the 5700 series EMU with full transverse seating.
Seats can be flipped over according to the direction of travel or to make bays of 4 seats.
The driving cab of the 5700 series EMU without the brake handle.
Once done, it was back in to the museum building for the next and last show of the day, the Steam Locomotive Show at the B1 Class Steam Locomotive No. 5 (5号蒸気機関車（SL B1形5号）).
During the Steam Locomotive Show, the B1 Class Steam Locomotive No. 5 is driven by a retired staff of Tobu Railway as a museum volunteer.
The semaphore changes signals before the train moves.
The wheels of the B1 Class Steam Locomotive No. 5 actually turn like in real operations, though it sounds a bit electric.
This is probably why – there are electric motors below the rails turning the locomotive’s wheels rather than the locomotive actually operating.
Passengers are allowed to get close to the locomotive though it can be quite loud.
The builder plate of Beyer, Peacock and Company Limited, Manchester.
The manufacturing plate of Beyer, Peacock and Company from their factory in Gorton Foundry, Manchester.
The steam locomotive driver operating the B1 Class Steam Locomotive No. 5.
The two types of coal needed to fire up the B1 Class Steam Locomotive No. 5.
Heading to the elevated platform explore the B1 Class Steam Locomotive No. 5 a little bit.
The cab of the B1 Class Steam Locomotive No. 5. Notice the buttons on the left console. Oh well.
B1 Class Steam Locomotive No. 5 and her personal semaphore.
There is a stamp rally going on for visits to the Tokyu Train and Bus Museum, Tokyo Metro Museum and Tobu Museum. Unfortunately I only had time for one museum visit on this trip so I had only 1 stamp out of 3.
Heading out of the Tobu Museum, as the museum closes shortly after the last Steam Locomotive Show, there is a Tobu souvenir shop.
Plarail models of SL Taiju, Revaty and unrelated Thomas sets.
Some picture sheets and jigsaw puzzles of Tobu trains. That Revaty looks nice as a watch. Actually it might even look nicer as a watch than a train. Sorry Tobu.
Some SL Taiju biscuits, train DVDs, Tobu books and limited edition collectibles.
Samples of the Plarail SL Taiju and Revaty on the counter.
Overall, a surprisingly pleasant experience at the Tobu Museum. Despite the cheap entrance fee, the value of the exhibits, information and experience far exceeded the cost of the admission. Totally no complains about it though. In fact, despite this super long post about the Tobu Museum, it’s still a rather summarised form of my experience and I actually missed three parts of the museum: the Watching Promenade to get up close and personal with train bogies on the main line, another gallery of old stuff and parts of the 8000 series EMU.
I guess I have to make another visit to the Tobu Museum with more time planned next time.