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Saitama man presents mini-steam locomotive to Neo Park

By: Kari Valtaoja

Date Posted: 1998-07-30

Mazuo Iizuka, 63, of Saitama Prefecture outside Tokyo, has two on-going love affairs, one with steam locomotives and trains, and another with northern Okinawa.

The labor of the first love is a mini-size working steam locomotive Iizuka made himself. It took him 14 years to complete his project, but now the train is up and running at Neo Park in Nago. Iizuka decided to donate his locomotive to the park in order to bond with his second love, Okinawa. He says that he wants to show to Okinawan children how a real train looks, sounds and smells. The train is an exact miniature model of a freight train widely used on the railways of Japan and China about 1910. Right now Iizuka is living up his dream training an engineer to run his train. Regular runs are scheduled to begin this Saturday.

Iizuka says that many amusement park across the nation were aware of his hobby and asked to purchase the train, but he wrote a letter to Neo Park instead proposing to donate his train to the park.

Iizuka is planning to move permanently to Nago next year and concentrate on building more rolling stock and trains for his railway. "Iím looking forward to see many children with smiling faces to ride on my train," Iizuka states.

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