The railway follows the path of the Oigawa River with views of green tea fields along the way. They began running steam trains with restored engines back in 1976 and now depend 90% of their earnings on these trains.
Note that during the summer months (June or July to October 10), two of the engines are painted to resembles trains from the TV series "Thomas & Friends". They are used on a extra service leaving Shin-Kanaya at 10:00 and another one at 10:38 on certain days. The kids love it, so tickets become very difficult to reserve. The SL Train 1 and 2 mentioned in the timetable below operate in a "normal" style.
The four steam locomotives Oigawa Rail owns:
C10-8: The only one in the C10 series that can still be seen in Japan; from 1930
C11-190: From 1940. Once pulled a special train that the Emperor rode, when it was running in Kumamoto Prefecture.
C11-227: From 1942. During summer months, it is operated as "Thomas Train"
C56-44: From 1936. Spent time in Thailand during WWII, brought back to Japan in 1973. "James Train" during summer.
|Kanaya --> Senzu||Feeder Train||SL Train 1||Regular Train|
|Senzu --> Kanaya||Regular train||SL Train 2||Feeder Train|
|Shin-Kanaya||dep 15:42||16:09 arr||16:19 dep|
The schedule changes depending on the season, with more departures in the cherry blossom season and school holidays.
Please check with the Oigawa Railiway site for actual times. Above is for reference only.
At the Senzu Station, the steam locomotives are rotated the other way using a British-made turntable dating back to 1897. Holders of a valid ticket can watch as up to six people manually rotate the turntable - quite fun to capture on video!