If you happen to be in the area of Miyazaki Prefecture in Japan, there are plenty of things to see. You could take an average tour and see the sights on your own, or you can jump on the Amaterasu Railway and see them in style.
The 30-minute ride on the Amaterasu Railway is unlike anything you will ever experience. It isn’t just the fact that the train cars are pink, it also is the lovely smell that is put off by the train as it is chugging along. You can see pictures of the train on the company’s Facebook page.
Unlike most trains, the Amaterasu Railway doesn’t run on your typical fuel, it runs on a broth made from leftover ramen. In addition, the train blows bubbles as it rolls through the surrounding area.
The type of fuel that the Amaterasu Railway runs on is known as biodiesel fuel. It isn’t made from petroleum but rather, it is made from alternative items, such as animal fat or vegetable oil.
This is something that has been done throughout the world, such as in Europe and the United States. Biodiesel is produced from vegetable oil created by soybean, canola, and rapeseed. In Japan, biodiesel is made from waste cooking oil and leftover food.
The Amaterasu Railway was able to do this when they partnered with a transportation company, Nishida Logistics. Other types of biodiesel fuel were created for their truck fleet in the nearby Fukuoka Prefecture.
According to Gulfood, 90% of the material that is used to create biodiesel for the Amaterasu Railway is from cooking oil, including tempura oil. The other 10% is made from tonkatsu ramen broth.
In order to get the broths necessary to make biodiesel, they enlist the help of local restaurants. The broth is processed to separate lard from the pork bone soup and then refined to keep the liquid from hardening.
This is a very interesting way to make fuel for the railway, but it can only last a few months in storage before it begins to break down.
Gulfood reports that last July, they ran some test drives using biodiesel fuel. It was able to pull the two wagons and 60 passengers without a problem, even going uphill.
The fuel filter has to be replaced periodically so it ends up costing about the same as other types of conventional fuel. It still makes an interesting and more environmentally friendly way to get from here to there, and the smell of the biodiesel is enjoyed by the passengers.Whizzco