Illustrated Guide to hibaku Streetcar no. 650 (Exterior)


Illustrations: Mitsuko Onodera
Source: 75 Years of hibaku Streetcars (The Mediasion, Co., Ltd.)

Current collector that takes in electricity from the overhead line. While the train formerly used a Bügel version that was shaped like a carpet beater, the company switched to the Z-shaped pantograph as it tracked the overhead lines more precisely. This current collector is made for streetcars that don’t travel at great speeds.

Turns the 600-volt direct current (DC 600V) that runs from the overhead line into a 220-volt alternating current (AC 220V) for the air conditioner.

A DC conversion-powered air conditioner made by Mitsubishi Electric was installed in 1986. As it weighs one ton, the streetcar underwent modifications for reinforcement to be able to handle the weight. If you look up when the air conditioner is on, you can see the fan inside whirling away.

The headlight serves two purposes: to illuminate the road in front of the streetcar and to let people and vehicles around the streetcar know which direction it is headed in. The headlight is synchronized with the taillight on the opposite side so that when the headlight is on, the taillight also comes on automatically.

A rope used to expand or contract the pantograph. There is also a trolley cord on the opposite side so it can be controlled from either end.

The taillight blinks red when the train turns around at the last stop (and the front of the train becomes the rear). When the streetcar steps on the brakes, it flashes, letting people and vehicles know the streetcar is stopping in addition to the brake lamp under the front windowpane.

Used to pull the streetcar when the pantograph is down for streetcar inspection and maintenance. Behind the coupler is a damper for shock absorption.

Grill that pushes obstructions on the streetcar tracks out of the way so they don’t get caught up under the streetcar.

Used to get to the roof from outside of the streetcar. The remains of a time when there was often trouble with the current collector and train staff would need to inspect it during business hours. Currently not used, except in the streetcar yard.

The 16-ton streetcar carriage is supported by two wheeled platforms. While there are many theories as to the manufacturer, the truth remains unclear. The tiered metal plates seen in the center are the leaf spring, a slender, arc-shaped length of spring steel that acts as a buffer between the streetcar carriage and the wheeled platforms to ensure a smooth ride for passengers.

Permanently closed when streetcars began to be serviced by drivers only (no conductors) in 1975. To compensate for space, more seating inside the carriage was added.