Photo/Illutration East Japan Railway Co. (JR East) employees display a station signboard for JR Shiotsu Station on Sept. 7 in the western Tokyo city of Hachioji. It will be offered at an online auction in December. (Ari Hirayama)

East Japan Railway Co. (JR East) is auctioning off old railway items such as station signboards to commemorate the opening of Japan’s first railroad 150 years ago.

The very first train journey was between Tokyo’s Shimbashi Station and Yokohama Station on Oct. 14, 1872.

The company’s Hachioji Branch Office arranged for three online auctions to be held over the course of three months, with the first starting Oct 3. Items on offer in the auctions include a train seat, signboards and other paraphernalia from stations and trains on the Chuo, Nanbu and other lines.

The items went into storage after station buildings were torn down and replaced, and trains were refurbished.

Some of them date from the time of the Japanese National Railways, which was privatized in 1987, company officials said.

Items to be auctioned will be replaced each month, grouped by areas where they were originally installed or used and classified under different themes.

Although all sales will be handled at the company’s JRE Mall online shopping site, some will be sold for fixed prices instead of going to auction.

Membership registration for JRE Mall is required to participate in the online auctions.

Payments can be made with credit cards or JRE Points.

In line with an event to celebrate the 120th anniversary of the opening of Otsuki Station in Otsuki, Yamanashi Prefecture, related items were offered for the first period that began at noon on Oct. 3 and ends at 10 p.m. on Oct. 16.

Auctioned items include a station signboard that reads Otsuki” in hiragana, signs for Restrooms” and Fujikyu Railway,” and a boarding door plate for a Super Azusa limited express service. Passengers can transfer to the Fujikyu Railway at the station.

The second auction scheduled for November will feature a seat from an E233 series train used since 2006 for rapid services on the Chuo Line. It was removed to create space for a restroom.

Station signboards for Ome Station in Ome, western Tokyo, and Komagawa Station in Hidaka, Saitama Prefecture, will also be offered.

A highlight of the third auction slated for December will be a station signboard used at the old Shiotsu Station building in Uenohara, Yamanashi Prefecture. It is 240 centimeters wide and 70 meters tall.

Other items will include a chair and side table used at Yaho Station in Kunitachi, also in western Tokyo, as well as roof tiles from Shiotsu Station and other rare odds and ends from the JNR era.

We hope that people who have a personal attachment to each train line will buy (items) that bring them a sense of nostalgia,” said Hideji Uchida, head of the Hachioji Branch Office.