|Locale||Kyoto Prefecture and Shiga Prefecture|
Kyoto (Tōkaidō Line)
Nagahama (Hokuriku Line)
|Opened||May 1, 1882 (as part of Tōkaidō Main Line)|
March 13, 1988 (renamed as Biwako Line)
|Line length||75.4 km (46.9 mi)|
|Track gauge||1,067 mm (3 ft 6 in)|
|Electrification||1,500 V DC overhead line|
|Operating speed||130 km/h (81 mph)|
The Biwako Line (琵琶湖線, Biwako-sen) is the nickname used by the operator of the West Japan Railway Company (JR West) to refer to the portion of the Tōkaidō Main Line (between Maibara Station and Kyoto Station) and the Hokuriku Main Line (between Maibara Station and Nagahama Station). The section, along with JR Kyoto Line and JR Kobe Line, forms a contiguous service that is the main trunk of JR West's "Urban Network" commuter rail network in the Osaka-Kobe-Kyoto Metropolitan Area.
The line is named after Lake Biwa (琵琶湖, Biwa-ko), which the route runs along. Line nicknames were introduced when the newly privatized JR West intended to use "familiar" names over official line names, such as Tōkaidō Main Line and Fukuchiyama Line. Biwako Line did not appear on the first list, and instead The JR Kyoto Line was to be called up to Maibara. A move in Shiga Prefecture opposed the name, claiming that the name of Kyoto Line in Shiga sounds like an auxiliary, requiring its own name in the prefecture. Biwako Line was thus made to refer to the section between Maibara and Kyoto.
The section of the name was extended to Nagahama, on the alteration of electric supply from 20 kV AC to 1,500 V DC, which enabled through operation to Kyoto and Osaka.
Although the "Biwako Line" nickname is used by the operator JR West for passenger announcements, the official status of Tōkaidō Main Line has not been changed or discussed. The counterpart for the line, Central Japan Railway Company (JR Central) uses its official name "Tōkaidō Main Line" for the section of JR West, at the connections of Kyoto and Maibara. The "Biwako Line" nickname appears in some local newspapers and real estate advertisements. Frequent passengers understand that the Biwako, JR Kyoto, JR Kobe lines are in fact one line, however, public recognition of the name is still in question, especially among non-users along the line.
Stations are listed from east to west. The distance of Tokyo – Maibara is 445.9 km, and that of Tokyo – Kyoto is 513.6 km. Historically, the Tōkaidō Main Line continued from Tokyo to Kyoto and beyond, through Maibara. In the Japanese timetable books, the distances from Tokyo are still shown in the table, although the Biwako Line's officially begins at Maibara.
|Official line name||No.||Station||Japanese||Stop||Transfers||Location|
|Special Rapid||Ward, City||Prefecture|
|Through service from/to Hokuriku Main Line|
|Hokuriku Main Line||Nagahama||長浜||●||●||Hokuriku Main Line for Ōmi-Shiotsu and Tsuruga||Nagahama||Shiga|
|Tōkaidō Main Line|
|Hikone||彦根||●||●||■ Ohmi Railway Main Line||Hikone|
|Ōmi-Hachiman||近江八幡||●||●||■ Ohmi Railway Yōkaichi Line|
|Ishiyama||石山||●||●||●||Keihan Ishiyama Sakamoto Line (OT03: Keihan Ishiyama Station)|
|Zeze||膳所||●||●|||||Keihan Ishiyama Sakamoto Line (OT09: Keihan Zeze Station)|
|Yamashina||山科||●||●||●|| Kosei Line (JR-B30)|
Kyoto Municipal Subway Tōzai Line (T07)
Keihan Keishin Line (OT31: Keihan Yamashina Station)
|Kyoto||京都||●||●||●|| Tōkaidō Shinkansen |
JR Kyoto Line
Nara Line (JR-D01)
Sagano Line (Sanin Main Line) (JR-E01)
Kintetsu Kyoto Line (B01)
Kyoto Municipal Subway Karasuma Line (K11)
|Through service from/to JR Kyoto Line|
|Within JR Kyoto Line:||Local |
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