SCMAGLEV and Railway Park: Nagoya's New Train Museum

 2011 may seem like a long time ago, but as far as museums go, three years is still pretty young. Located inside a giant train-themed building, this new train haven goes from ancient to futuristic. Seriously. The building is shaped like a line of trains. Do you not see that?
 After paying admission, you enter a large, dark area showcasing three train engines. The first is an extremely powerful steam engine, the fastest of its time. On the wall behind the trains is a very short video about the history of the trains.
 Times have changed, and the Shinkansen bullet train in the middle is the fastest operating train model today. But to the right is a model of the future, a maglev train.
 Train doors are already pretty cool here in Japan, but the doors on this model are even cooler, opening up instead of to the left or right. You can take a look at the seating compartment inside.
 From the entry display, you are then free to explore the expansive grounds of the main museum exhibits. But before playing inside, now is the best time to go out the doors to the side to see the steam engine with exposed innards and an older express train you can explore.
 This train ran on the Chuo and Tokaido lines, and the route map/stop guide is still visible above the doors. You can peek into the conductor's compartments, but entry into that area isn't allowed... ever... seemingly on any train in Japan.
 But, explore the rest of the train and have a seat. I believe this is the only train you can actually sit in at this museum.
 What sets this museum apart from the train museum in Saitama is its collection of bullet trains. Omiya's museum has a lot of historical vehicles and a wide variety of cars and engines; the Nagoya park mostly focuses on express trains.
 You can walk in almost all of the cars, but sitting isn't allowed! Actually, that's a major problem I have with this museum. The train and subway museums in the Tokyo area all allow (and usually encourage) guests to relax on board, while this place forbids it.

 You aren't allowed to play with the large ticket machines (another shame) but you can operate the touchscreen and generate a free "ticket" for the model gates.
 Then you can use the ticket to pass through the gates, and keep it as a souvenir. The wall board displays actual up-to-date information on Shinkansen approaching Nagoya.
 Along the back wall is a row of historic cars.
 You can't walk into the older models; it's completely fenced off. But some of the back doors are open and you can peer inside.
 The collection includes a sleeper car (left) and a gauging car (right) which would help find areas where trees or other objects might be too close to the tracks and risk contact.
 There are some dining cars attached to one of the trains.
Again, entering the generally off-limits areas is forbidden (so much for seeing something new) but you can peek inside the kitchen from the door, and admire the metal etching on your way up to the elevated dining car.
 Because it would require more cleaning and maintenance, the entire dining area is off limits of course. But you can observe it from the entrance.
 There's a second car with a lower-class dining area and kitchen to view.
 Again, you can't enter the area, but you can see some model food and view the area from the entrance.
 From the entrance to the main area, the cars seem to go from newest on the left to oldest on the right. Some of the older cars are more exciting to see than the newer ones, mainly because the newer cars are still easily seen traveling around Japan.
 If only they made train cars like this today. I guess the wood isn't as easy to maintain.
 This car is a little more spacious, designed for heavier city crowds. The darker car would most likely have run on longer routes.
 Closeup shots are fun.
 There's a very old steam engine here that you can view including a coal car. Then, you've reached the end of history and you can explore the rooms and second floor.
 There's a really expansive model train layout with small Tokyo, Osaka, and Nagoya areas.
 Tokyo is in the picture on the left. You can see SkyTree! The trains can be operated for a fee.
Here's the floor with all the trains. Eight rows of trains with two or three cars per row.
 It's a nice collection! There are 39 train cars on display in all.
 There's an old bus around a corner in a dark room. Wait a minute, you're upstairs in the entry area again! This is a great chance to take a break, take some photos, and get a better view of the trains.
The second floor also has history exhibits like you see above, and simulations for trains and subways (for a fee). There are also displays on train parts and it's possible to look under many of the train cars down on the floor. Many of the rooms up here focus on science, engineering, and logistics, including building the new maglev line from Tokyo to Osaka.

An English audio guide is available for 500 yen, and it's supposed to be really good. There's a lounge area on the second floor, and a small area sells boxed lunches and sandwiches like you'd get on the trains.

The museum is open 10:00-17:30, closed on Tuesdays and over the New Years holidays. Adult admission is 1000 yen, with train simulator fees ranging from 100 to 500 yen.

Access is via Kinjofuto Station, the last station on the Aonami Line, 24 minutes from Nagoya Station (350 yen). Signage at Nagoya Station for the Aonami Line is pretty good, and the railway park is right next to the station.

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