This is an off road vehicle.

Trains, even little ones, are off road vehicles.

This particular one is a Class 2600, made by the Tokyu Car Corporation between 1993 and 1994. It’s a diesel multiple unit or DMU which means that engines are distributed along the train rather than being found in a separate locomotive. And that it’s diesel.

Performance: VMax is just 110 kmh or 70 mph which isn’t a lot but given that it runs on commuter routes with stops every few minutes is adequate. It’s got 700 bhp to push 42 tonnes so acceleration is leisurely and step off from rest is so smooth you wouldn’t notice unless you looked out. Somewhat surprisingly to your correspondent you can (just) hear two gearchanges. Trains that change gear? Yes indeed. It has a hydrodynamic gearbox which uses a torque converter for first gear and a fluid coupling for each of the other gears. To change gear one coupling is drained of fluid and the next one up or down filled. You hear the revs decreasing for a couple of seconds and then increasing again but it’s perfectly smooth.

Ease of driving: It’s very easy indeed because you don’t. Buy your ticket and you’re paying a driver to do the work for you. All he has to do is go faster, go slower, open doors and close doors so it’s fairly easy for him too.

Toys: The doors are opened and closed for you by the driver, otherwise not a lot. Basic cloth seats, windows don’t open, no entertainment options unless you include any announcements from the driver.


Roadholding: As if it’s on rails (sorry!)

Comfort: Reasonably good. Low noise levels, good ride as you rarely find potholes on rails. Does rattle around a bit when passing over points.

3/10 would be driven in again (taking into account parking charges in the station it’s probably cheaper to drive).