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2011.01.09

わたらせ渓谷鐵道

P1074645

 旧知のライター友だちと、わたらせ渓谷鐵道を訪れてきた。

 ホームにレストランがあることで有名な神戸(ごうど)駅。

 「清流」と呼ばれるこのレストラン。かつて東武鉄道の花形特急「けごん」に使われていた1720系電車を保存しており、客席として使っている。清掃も行き届き快適なのだが、残念なことに独自のブルーに塗色され、東武鉄道時代の面影は薄かった。

 久しぶりに神戸駅を訪れてみると、レストラン「清流」の車体にブルーのシートがかけられ、塗装工事が行われていた。だいぶ腐食が目立っていたから、お化粧直しかと思ったら……

P1074572

 ホームの反対側が、懐かしい東武「けごん」カラーにリバイバル塗装されていた。

「これ、表側も東武の色になるんですか」

 休憩していた工事関係者に尋ねてみた。

「なるよー。あと2週間くらいかなあ。わからないけど」

 これはすばらしい。わたらせ渓谷鐵道の、新しい名物になるかもしれない。

 レストラン「清流」は、トロッコ列車が運休となる冬期は休んでいることが多いのだが、この日は2011年最初の営業日だった。1月13日から始まる京王百貨店の駅弁大会に向けて、「やまと豚弁当」の仕込みを行っているらしい。

P1074629

 国産の食材だけで作ったという「やまと豚弁当」。さっぱりとしたおろしポン酢でいただく豚肉がおいしい。掛け紙が沿線ガイドになっていたり、「わ鐵」のてぬぐいがついてくるというのも楽しい駅弁だ。

 「やまと豚弁当」と生ビールでほろ酔い気分となり、終着・間藤駅へ。故・宮脇俊三氏が、1977年5月に国鉄全線完乗を果たした駅だ。

P1074672

 現在のわたらせ渓谷鐵道はここ間藤駅が終点だが、かつてはここからさらに1.9kmほど線路が続き、足尾銅山の本山まで貨物列車が走っていた。

P1074764

 廃線跡が残る足尾本山に向けて歩き始めると、民家の裏でガサゴソと物音が聞こえた。ニホンザルだ。よく見れば、そこら中にサルがうろついている。餌を漁りに、人里まで降りてきたようだ。

P1074728

 間藤駅から、30分ほどで足尾本山に着いた。時々、おばあさんを見かけるほかは、誰にも会わない。人けのない足尾銅山。Wikipediaによれば、今は産業廃棄物のリサイクル事業のみを行っているそうだ。

 本山の向こうに見える日光連山は、きれいに雪をかぶっていた。

 寂しいところだが、なぜか数年に一度、歩きたくなる町だ。

P1074735

 


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ビールのCMに使用されたりと注目が上がっている『わ鐡』に期待しております。

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