Figures, 2 and 4 - 01 [Column_Letters & Figures]

c622_d51200.jpg: Umekoji, Kyoto, Japan. Mar 24, 1994. No.2 and 200 in action

I wonder how model manufacturers decide the number of cars they produce.
Here, number means not how many they produce, but the road number they put on their products. I know they put accurate numbers on from the prototype. But it seems they select randomly from the candidacies. Then, aren’t there any “destined” or favored figures?

In Japan, odd numbers are preferred at some occasions. Gratuities should be ¥3000, 5000, and so on. Numbers of teacup set would be 5. 7th inning is told as a lucky inning at Japanese baseball game . Three 7s means a great hit at “pachinko”, a Japanese pinball game. Contrary, number 4 is hated because the pronunciation is the same to the Japanese word meaning death. Number 9 is also hated because the pronunciation is the same to the Japanese word meaning affliction. While, number 8 is loved as the form of the Chinese character widens toward the end: the form reminds us of get more and more prosperous.

I heard that number 4 is appreciated in United States because the pronunciation reminds of fortune.
As this hobby has strong relationship with figures, I came to a thought that there also are some destined (or regarded as lucky) figures in this hobby. Road numbers UP844(4) and SP4449 reinforced the thought.

Twenty 3’-6” gauge steam locomotives are surviving and operational in Japan. The number plate of ex-JNR locomotives is consisted of class and number: C62-2 means number 2 of class C62. If I count the figures used for the number of surviving locomotives, 0, 1 and 2 are the most used figures.

According to the “” web site, there are 192 3 feet and standard gauge steam locomotives surviving in United States. If I count the figures used for the number, 1, 2 and 4 are highly ranked.

The graph below shows the result of my counting figures: the graph represents the frequency of figures used for the road number of surviving steam locomotives, by percentage, both in Japan and United States.

number-of-operatable-loco.jpg: graph showing the percentage of figures used for the road number of surviving steam locomotives






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