Chichibu Railway-SL Paleo Express Ride know-how & reservation information

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SL Sightseeing

Chichibu Railway has been taking a SL that runs round-trip from Kumagaya Station to Mimineguchi Station on the Chichibu Main Line.

First of all, on the driving day, it will be a temporary train that runs from mid-March to early December.
It is mainly operated on weekends and holidays, but sometimes it operates on weekdays such as wood and gold.

In winter, service will be canceled for repair and maintenance.
Please check the latest information in the operation schedule of Chichibu Railway.

SL Paleo Express service schedule

To get on the SL Paleo Express, you need a “SL seat reservation ticket" (720 yen) or a “SL rearrangement ticket" (510 yen) in addition to the “ticket".
Both designated tickets and numbered tickets have a limited number of sales, and both require “advance reservations”.
* Prices are as of 2018.
The ticket is a little cheaper if you go round trip from Kumagaya to Mitsumine Exit by Chichibu Railway, but the sale date is a little discounted on Saturdays, Sundays, holidays and designated periods, and there are some schedules that will not be released on weekdays. Therefore, please check the latest information on the free ticket at the Chichibu Railway site below.

Deals on Kichibu Railway tickets

Basically, “Reserved Seats" is one car and “Unreserved Seats" is three cars.
You can get on from the first train station (downbound from Kumagaya, upbound from Mitsumineguchi), so you should reserve a “SL rearrangement ticket" (510 yen) which is a free seat.
If you get on the SL from the stop where the SL stops halfway, Takegawa Station, Yorii Station, Nagatoro Station, Minano Station, Chichibu Station, Mihanahata Station, I think that the “designated ticket" is safe for weekends and holidays.
I say, because the unreserved seats that are numbered tickets will be released more than the number of seats, if you have a numbered ticket you may not be able to sit on the seat.
In particular, between Yorii and Nagatoro, bus tour passengers may come on board in unreserved seats as a group, so it is better to be prepared that you can not sit on weekends and holidays from the station on the way.
If you have children, it is safer to get on a designated ticket whenever possible.
By the way, in the case of a down train, vacant seats come out after passing Hanahata Station, but depending on the situation, the window side may be harsh.

Of course, even at the first train station in Kumagaya or Mimineguchi, if there are only ▲ ・ △ ・ remaining reservations, you may not be able to take a seat even at the first train.
Therefore, if it seems to be crowded, we recommend that you head to the first train station, such as Kumagaya, to arrive at least 30 minutes before the departure time.

By the way, Chichibu Railway has a budget shortage and no transportation IC card has been introduced, so even if you buy a ticket, it will be a ticket vending machine or a window.
On the autumn Saturday I visited, there were about 30 people at the window of Kumagaya Station (there was only one) and about 20 people at the ticket vending machines.
Unlike JR’s SL, the labor costs are reduced, and Chichibu Railway has few station staff and no temporary sales counters.

If you reserve a designated ticket, it will be sold / purchased only at the JR Green Ticket Office and cannot be purchased at Chichibu Railway Station. Please check the information below.
If you need a seat, you need a designated ticket (same amount as an adult) for both elementary school students and babies, so if there are many children, JR East SL from Takasaki may be cheaper.
* Tickets are the same as for normal children.

How to purchase SL seat reservation tickets

For reservations of SL numbered tickets that will be unreserved seats, please check the information below.
You can make a reservation from the Internet, but it’s a bit difficult to understand because the system is poor.
On the reservation status page, the section with “x” (full seat) cannot be boarded even if the previous section is vacant.
If you send the reservation itself, it will be accepted, but it will be said that the reservation has not been taken, so be careful if there is a section full.

SL numbered ticket reservation status (unreserved seats)

Also, there is “in-car sales" in the SL car, but if it is crowded, the unreserved seat vehicles will be aisle with people in the aisle, so in-car sales can not move and will not come.
So, let’s eat at the station lunch in the car? It is recommended that you purchase in advance, because sometimes you may not be able to buy it.
It would be nice if there was a sale at the station platform, but even the station lunch was not sold.

By saying that, I will describe the report when I got on the day.

Reservation of SL Paleo Express

This time, I decided to take a down train from Kumagaya Station at the first train to Mimineguchi Station at the last train.
Because it was from the first train station, I booked a numbered ticket for unreserved seats from the Internet.

First, Yahoo! I made a reservation by e-mail, but for some reason I did not receive the reservation confirmation e-mail.
Therefore, I used G-mail to fill out the form and make a reservation.

You must purchase a reserved seat ticket in advance, but if you book a SK numbered ticket, you can purchase it with the reservation number on the day of boarding.

Purchasing a ticket on the day

On the day we drove to Kumagaya Station.
There are many coin parking lots around Kumagaya Station, so it is convenient.
Chichibu Railway is the south exit, so we used the parking lot in the south exit direction.

I arrived 30 minutes before departure time, but as I mentioned earlier, the line to buy tickets was longer than expected.
Early arrival is safe.

SL rearrangement tickets cannot be purchased at ticket machines or counters.
When you enter the ticket gate, there is a temporary counter, where you offer a reservation number and purchase a SL numbered ticket.
However, in order to enter the ticket gate, a “ticket" is required, so you must first purchase a ticket at a ticket vending machine or counter, enter the ticket gate, and purchase a SL rearranged ticket.
When boarding from a station on the way, does it mean purchasing a SL rearrangement ticket at the station window? I guess.

Ride from Kumagaya Station

SL arrives 10 minutes before departure time, so I went home immediately after purchasing the ticket and lined up.
There were quite a few people and I was worried if I could sit down, but I was able to get the cross seat safely.

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The left side is hot due to direct sunlight, so take the right side.
Departed on time, but the family with two small children felt sorry because they had no seats to sit together and stood on the joints.
On days when it seems to be crowded, it is better to arrive early.

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There are many tourists who get on from Yorii, so the aisle is full of people, but it gets off a lot at Nagatoro.
Vacant seats became noticeable after we left Chichibu Station.

In addition, the downtime SL for Mimineguchi Station is 9 minutes for Yorii, 11 minutes for Nagatoro, and 8 minutes for Chichibu.
It is difficult because you come a lot from Yorii, but at the last Chichibu station you have enough time to get down to the platform and take a photo of the SL locomotive.

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By the way, in Yorii and Chichibu you will be overtaken by the subsequent regular train.
The SL photo shooter buys a free pass, makes good use of the passing train, and goes ahead and shoots C58-363 many times.

In addition, I had the impression that SL’s steam locomotive “C58-363″ did not emit so much black smoke.
The maximum speed of operation is kept at about 35 km / h to prevent breakdown of the steam locomotive, but on this day the “ Deki 500 type " pushed from behind, so the state of the steam locomotive was It may not have been so good.
Chichibu Railway’s steam locomotive (C58) is operated only by Chichibu Railway, but the major inspections and management are entrusted to the JR Takasaki Rolling Stock Center, etc., and commissioning is performed on the Joetsu Line between Takasaki and Shibukawa. It is carried out between the waters.

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Unit 363 is a steam locomotive manufactured in 1944 and over 70 years old.
As a result, it is very old and may break down or be damaged.
If you can’t operate because of poor condition, there is no spare machine unlike JR, so electric locomotive of Chichibu Railway may pull passenger car instead, so it seems that you have to understand that area.

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There are many curves from the flower garden to the end point Mitsumine mouth, so you can shoot the leading C-56 from the car window.

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It was a leisurely journey of about 2 hours to Mimineguchi.

Transportation to the Chichibu Railway-SL Paleo Express

The first train is Chichibu Railway from JR Kumagaya Station.
If you book a SL numbered ticket (unreserved seat) from the first station, let’s arrive 30 minutes before.
When boarding from the station on the way, reservation of “reserved seat" is safe.
On days when congestion is predicted, buy and eat food and drinks in the car in advance.

Note!It will not be operated in 2020 due to maintenance of SL locomotives.
Expect after 2021.
Map of JR Kumagaya Station