A train's head car manufactured for Britain’s new high-speed railway is carefully escorted through public roads from a Hitachi factory here to a nearby port in Kudamatsu, Yamaguchi Prefecture.(Video by Nobutake Takahashi, Atsushi Misawa and Jun Kaneko.)

KUDAMATSU, Yamaguchi Prefecture--Tens of thousands of train enthusiasts and curious locals gathered for a rare glimpse of a new train bound for Britain’s new high-speed railway network being transported through the streets here on March 5.

The head car of a Class 800 series train, built for Britain’s Intercity Express Program, was taken on a purpose-built trailer from Hitachi Ltd.’s Kasado coastal train factory to a nearby port about 4 kilometers away in western Japan.

About 30,000 adults and children flocked to the roadsides of a quiet industrial district to bid farewell to the sleek Japanese-made train in the middle of the day before it was shipped off to the birthplace of rail.

Usually, transporting newly manufactured rail cars from the factory to the port has been done between midnight and dawn to minimize traffic disruption.

However, railway enthusiasts have always sniffed out the unpublished dates, and gathered from far and wide to witness the rare train-on-street events in the middle of the night.

On this occasion, the head car left the factory at 2 p.m. It slowly maneuvered through traffic-controlled public roads and arrived at the port about 40 minutes later.

The city authority decided to take advantage of the popularity of such occasions as a new type of tourist attraction, and promote itself as a city of “industrial craftsmanship” where many manufacturing factories are clustered. It asked the train factory and local police department to organize the special daytime event.

The train car is one of 866 carriages commissioned by the British government department for the new high-speed railway network.

The Kasado factory, known for building Shinkansen trains, has shipped 240 cars to date.