In Japan, miniature steam locomotive enthusiasts from all over the world are gathering together to try and recreate the golden age of steam.
GV Tokyo skyscraper PAN DOWN TO steam train enthusiasts working on models (6 SHOTS)
SV Model trains (4 SHOTS)
SV & CU Train being filled with water from kettle (2 SHOTS)
SV & CU Fire being stoked with coal (2 SHOTS)
GV & SV Trains moving on track with drivers seated on trains (2 SHOTS)
SV PAN Train, carrying children and adults moves away (5 SHOTS)
Script is copyright Reuters Limited. All rights reserved
Background: In Japan, miniature steam locomotive enthusiasts from all over the world are gathering together to try and recreate the golden age of steam. Nowadays Japan is famous for it's "Bullet" trains, but for many enthusiasts the thrill and excitement of steam trains cannot be matched by their modern replacements.
SYNOPSIS: Dwarfed by one of Tokyo's high-rise building, forty-three ???team locomotives ???. Miniature steam locomotives are extremely popular in Japan, and on this occasion fourteen enthusiasts from West Germany, Great Britain and Switzerland have joined with twenty-nine Japanese who share their interest. The locomotives are one-eighth to one-tenth in scale and they are using the five inch (12.7 centimetre) international standard gauge.
Some of the participants have spent as long as ten years building their engines. The cost of materials can be as high as five thousand dollars (GBP 2,000). But for the steam locomotive enthusiast what really matters is the thrill of recreating the golden age of steam--something which many visitors to the exhibition have never known.
Twenty to thirty children can ride on the trains at any one time, taking two and a half minutes to complete the circuit.
The tracks round Tokyo's Sumitomo building are 250-metres (820 feet) long. And it is not just the children who enjoy the rides. It's a far cry from Japan's famous "Bullet trains" and its prototype for the 21st century which is expected to do three hundred miles (500 kilometres) per hour. But for some people steam is a lot more exciting. The speed, automation and electrification of modern transport may reduce noise pollution and vibration, but it does not have the character or thrill of a ride on a steam engine.