This article needs additional citations for verification .(February 2016)
The Japan Railways Group, more commonly known as JR Group (JRグループ, Jeiāru Gurūpu), consists of seven for-profit companies ( kabushiki gaisha ) that took over most of the assets and operations of the government-owned Japanese National Railways (JNR) on April 1, 1987. Most of the liability of the JNR was assumed by the JNR Settlement Corporation.
The JR Group lies at the heart of Japan's railway network, operating a large proportion of intercity rail service (including the Shinkansen high-speed rail lines) and commuter rail service.
Despite 'JR East', 'JR Central', 'JR West', and 'JR Kyushu' now having full private ownership, Japanese people still generally speak of " private railways" separate of 'JR' — as if none of the JR Group companies (nor former JR lines that are now third sector), are any part of those, since 'JR' are the successor of Japanese National Railways. Moreover: 'JR Hokkaido', 'JR Shikoku', and 'JR Freight' ('JRF') are still governed by the Act for the Passenger Railway Companies and Japan Freight Railway Company, also known as the 'JR Companies Act' – under the control of the public Japan Railway Construction, Transport and Technology Agency (JRTT).
On maps, 'JR' and other private railways are almost always denoted differently, as does JR do itself.
The Japan Railways Group consists of seven operating companies and two other companies that do not provide rail service. The operating companies are organized into six passenger operators and a nationwide freight operator. Unlike some other groups of companies, the JR Group is made up of independent companies, and it does not have group headquarters or a holding company to set the overall business policy.
The six passenger railways of the JR Group are separated by region. Nearly all their services are within the prescribed geographic area. However, some long-distance operations extend beyond the boundaries. The Shirasagi train service between Nagoya and Kanazawa, for instance, uses JR West rolling stock but the segment of track between Nagoya and Maibara is owned by JR Central, whose crew manage the train on that section.
Japan Freight Railway Company operates all freight service on the network previously owned by JNR.
In addition, the group includes two non-operating companies. These are the Railway Technical Research Institute and Railway Information Systems Co., Ltd.
To cover various non-railway business areas, each regional operator in the JR Group has its own group of subsidiary companies with names like "JR East Group" and "JR Shikoku Group."
|Business||Company||Logo / Symbol color||Traded as||Region(s) of operation||Note|
|Passenger||Hokkaido Railway Company (JR Hokkaido)||Grass||Not listed||Hokkaidō||operates Hokkaidō Shinkansen in Hokkaido|
|East Japan Railway Company (JR East)||Forest||Tōhoku, Kantō, Hokuriku, Kōshin'etsu||operates Tōhoku Shinkansen, Yamagata Shinkansen, Akita Shinkansen, Jōetsu Shinkansen and Hokuriku Shinkansen (with JR West)|
|Central Japan Railway Company (JR Central)||Pumpkin||Chubu||operates Tōkaidō Shinkansen in Kantō and Kansai|
|West Japan Railway Company (JR West)||Ocean||Hokuriku, Kansai, Chūgoku, Kyūshū||operates Sanyō Shinkansen in Kansai, Chūgoku and Kyushu and Hokuriku Shinkansen (with JR East) in Hokuriku|
|Shikoku Railway Company (JR Shikoku)||Sky||Not listed||Shikoku|
|Kyushu Railway Company (JR Kyushu)||Scarlet||Kyūshū||operates Kyūshū Shinkansen in Kyūshū|
|Freight||Japan Freight Railway Company (JR Freight)||Slate||Not listed||Nationwide|
|Research organization||Railway Technical Research Institute (RTRI)||Lavender||Not listed|
|IT Services||Railway Information Systems Co. (JR System)||Burgundy||Not listed|
JR maintains a nationwide railway network as well as common ticketing rules that it inherited from JNR. Passengers may travel across several JR companies without changing trains and without purchasing separate tickets. However, trains running across the boundaries of JR companies have been reduced.
JR maintains the same ticketing rules based on the JNR rules and has an integrated reservation system known as MARS (jointly developed with Hitachi). Some types of tickets (passes), such as Japan Rail Pass and Seishun 18 Ticket, are issued as "valid for all JR lines" and accepted by all passenger JR companies.
In 1987, the government of Japan took steps to divide and privatize JNR. While division of operations began in April of that year, privatization was not immediate: initially, the government retained ownership of the companies. Privatization of some of the companies began in the early 1990s. By October 2016, all of the shares of JR East, JR Central, JR West and JR Kyushu had been offered to the market and they are now publicly traded. On the other hand, all of the shares of JR Hokkaido, JR Shikoku and JR Freight are still owned by Japan Railway Construction, Transport and Technology Agency, an independent administrative institution of the state.
All the JR Group companies operating in the Honshū region are constituents of the Nikkei 225 and TOPIX 100 indexes.
The demise of the government-owned system came after charges of serious management inefficiencies, profit losses, and fraud. By the early 1980s, passenger and freight business had declined, and fare increases had failed to keep up with higher labor costs.
What remained of the debt-ridden Japanese National Railways after its 1987 breakup was named the Japanese National Railways Settlement Corporation. Its purpose was to dispose of assets and debts not absorbed by the successor companies and to execute other activities relating to the breakup, such as outplacement of former personnel.
The new companies introduced competition, cut their staffing, and made reform efforts. Initial public reaction to these moves was good: the combined passenger travel on the Japan Railways Group passenger companies in 1987 was 204.7 billion passenger-kilometers, up 3.2% from 1986, while the passenger sector previously had been stagnant since 1975. The growth in passenger transport of private railways in 1987 was 2.6%, which meant that the Japan Railways Group's rate of increase was above that of the private-sector railways for the first time since 1974. Demand for rail transport improved, although it still accounted for only 28% of passenger transportation and only 5% of cargo transportation in 1990. Rail passenger transportation was superior to automobiles in terms of energy efficiency and of speed in long distance transportation.
The six companies had 18,800 km (11,700 mi) of routes (mostly 1,067 mm (3 ft 6 in) gauge) in use in the late 1980s. About 25% of the routes were in double-track and multitrack sections, and the rest were single-track. In 1988 about 51% of the six companies' 1,000 locomotives were diesel, and the rest were electric.
Japan Freight Railway Company owns its locomotives (295 diesel and 569 electric locomotives in 1988), rolling stock and stations, but hires track from the six passenger companies. It runs fewer trains on less track than Japanese National Railways freight service did before its demise, but at increased revenues and higher productivity.
The Shinkansen Property Corporation (新幹線保有機構, Shinkansen Hoyū Kikō) leased Shinkansen railway facilities, including 2,100 km (1,300 mi) of 1,435 mm (4 ft 8+1⁄2 in) gauge high-speed track, to the passenger companies on Honshū. In 1991, the SPC was reorganized into the Railway Development Fund (鉄道整備基金, Tetsudō Seibi Kikin) and the three operators bought their lines on 60-year loans. Some of the Shinkansen electric-powered trains operate at speeds up to 300 km/h.
Another nearly 3,400 km (2,100 mi) of routes are operated by major private railways and by what are known in Japan as third sector railways—new companies, financed with private and local government funds—which often (not always) absorbed some of Japanese National Railways' rural lines. There were twenty-seven private and third-sector companies in 1989.
Various unions represent workers at the different JR Group companies, such as the National Railway Workers' Union, All Japan Construction, Transport and General Workers' Union, Doro-Chiba, and the Japan Confederation of Railway Workers' Unions.
Transportation in Japan is modern and highly developed. Japan's transport sector stands out for its energy efficiency: it uses less energy per person compared to other countries, thanks to a high share of rail transport and low overall travel distances. Transport in Japan is also very expensive in international comparison, reflecting high tolls and taxes, particularly on automobile transport. Japan's spending on roads has been large. The 1.2 million kilometres of paved road are the main means of transport. Japan has left-hand traffic. A single network of high-speed, divided, limited-access toll roads connects major cities, which are operated by toll-collecting enterprises.
The Shinkansen, colloquially known in English as the bullet train, is a network of high-speed railway lines in Japan. Initially, it was built to connect distant Japanese regions with Tokyo, the capital, to aid economic growth and development. Beyond long-distance travel, some sections around the largest metropolitan areas are used as a commuter rail network. It is operated by five Japan Railways Group companies.
The West Japan Railway Company, also referred to as JR West, is one of the Japan Railways Group companies and operates in western Honshu. It has its headquarters in Kita-ku, Osaka. It is listed in the Tokyo, Nagoya and Fukuoka stock exchanges, is a constituent of the TOPIX Large70 index, and is also one of the only three Japan Railways Group constituents of the Nikkei 225 index: the others are JR East and JR Central.
Japan Freight Railway Company, or JR Freight, is one of the seven constituent companies of Japan Railways Group. It provides transportation of cargo nationwide throughout Japan. Its headquarters are in Shibuya, Tokyo near Shinjuku Station.
The Japanese National Railways, abbreviated JNR or Kokutetsu (国鉄), was the business entity that operated Japan's national railway network from 1949 to 1987.
The Aoimori Railway Line is a regional rail line in Aomori Prefecture, Japan that is operated by the Aoimori Railway Company. It connects the terminal station of the Iwate Galaxy Railway Line, Metoki Station, in the town of Sannohe to Aomori Station, the terminus of several rail lines in the city of Aomori. The Aoimori and Iwate Galaxy Railway Lines are former sections of the Tōhoku Main Line that connected Tokyo to Aomori that were rendered obsolete for long-distance passenger services by the completion of the high-speed Tōhoku Shinkansen between Tokyo and Shin-Aomori stations. Though local passenger services are run on the line by the Aoimori Railway Company, the East Japan Railway Company continues to operate limited services, such as the sightseeing train Resort Asunaro, along the line, and the Japan Freight Railway Company transports freight along the line.
Rail transport in Japan is a major means of passenger transport, especially for mass and high-speed travel between major cities and for commuter transport in urban areas. It is used relatively little for freight transport, accounting for just 0.84% of goods movement. The privatised network is highly efficient, requiring few subsidies and running with extreme punctuality.
The transport network in Greater Tokyo includes public and private rail and highway networks; airports for international, domestic, and general aviation; buses; motorcycle delivery services, walking, bicycling, and commercial shipping. While the nexus is in the central part of Tokyo, every part of the Greater Tokyo Area has rail or road transport services. The sea and air transport is available from a limited number of ports for the general public.
Utsunomiya Station is a railway station in the city of Utsunomiya, Tochigi, Japan, operated by the East Japan Railway Company. The station also is a freight depot for the Japan Freight Railway Company.
Kawasaki Heavy Industries Rolling Stock Company is the rolling stock production division of Kawasaki Heavy Industries. Since beginning operations in 1906, the company has produced more than 90,000 railroad cars.
The history of rail transport in Japan began in the late Edo period. There have been four main stages:
The Aichi Loop Line is a Japanese railway line connecting Okazaki Station in Okazaki and Kōzōji Station in Kasugai, operated by the Aichi Loop Railway. The company or the line is abbreviated as Aikan (愛環). This is the only line the company operates. Despite its name, the line is not a true loop, but a north-south line situated east of Nagoya, which can be considered as an unclosed loop.
The Wakasa Line is a Japanese railway line in Tottori Prefecture operated by the third-sector operating company Wakasa Railway. The line connects Kōge Station in Yazu with Wakasa Station in Wakasa. It is the only railway line operated by the Wakasa Railway. The third-sector company took over operations of the former West Japan Railway Company line in 1987.
Karuizawa Station is a railway station in the town of Karuizawa, Nagano, Japan, operated jointly by the JR Group company East Japan Railway Company and the third-sector railway operator Shinano Railway.
Kita-Nagano Station is a railway station on the Shinano Railway Kita-Shinano Line in Nakagoe, in the city of Nagano, Japan, operated by the third-sector railway operating company Shinano Railway. It is also a freight terminal for the Japan Freight Railway Company.
Sansai Station is a railway station on the Shinano Railway Kita-Shinano Line in the city of Nagano, Japan, operated by the third-sector railway operating company Shinano Railway
Toyono Station is a railway station in Toyono in the city of Nagano, Japan, jointly operated by the East Japan Railway Company and the third-sector railway operating company Shinano Railway.
Itoigawa Station is a railway station in Itoigawa, Niigata, Japan, operated by West Japan Railway Company and the third-sector railway operator Echigo Tokimeki Railway. It is also a freight terminal for the Japan Freight Railway Company.
Tomari Station is a railway station on the Ainokaze Toyama Railway Line in Asahi, Toyama, Japan, operated by the third-sector railway operator Ainokaze Toyama Railway.
Arai Station is a railway station in the city of Myōkō, Niigata, Japan, operated by the third-sector operator Echigo Tokimeki Railway. It is also a freight terminal for the Japan Freight Railway Company.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to JR Group .|
|Wikivoyage has a travel guide for Rail travel in Japan .|
|Predecessors: Ministry of Industry | Cabinet | Home Ministry | Ministry of Communications | Cabinet | Ministry of Railways | Ministry of Transport and Communications | Ministry of Transport | Japanese National Railways | Japan Railway Construction Public Corporation | JNR Settlement Corporation|
|Passenger Railway Companies||JR Hokkaido||JR East||JR Central||JR-West||JR Shikoku||JR Kyushu|
|JR Bus Companies||JR Hokkaido Bus|| JR Bus Tohoku |
JR Bus Kanto
|JR Tokai Bus|| West JR Bus |
West Japan JR Bus Service
Chugoku JR Bus
Hikari Guru Rin Bus
|JR Shikoku Bus||JR Kyushu Bus|
|Smart cards||Kitaca|| Suica |
| TOICA |
|ICOCA||ICOCA (SHIKOKU ICOCA)||SUGOCA|
|Shinkansen lines||Hokkaido Shinkansen|| Tōhoku Shinkansen |
| Tokaido Shinkansen |
| San'yō Shinkansen |
|Shikoku Shinkansen (proposed)||Kyushu Shinkansen|
|Railway museums||Hokkaido Railway Technology Museum|| Railway Museum |
Ome Railway Park
|SCMaglev and Railway Park|| Kyoto Railway Museum |
Tsuyama Railroad Educational Museum
|Shikoku Railway Cultural Center||Kyushu Railway History Museum|
|Rolling stock manufacturers||-|| Japan Transport Engineering Company |
|Nippon Sharyo||Kinki Sharyo (partner)||-||-|
|International operations||-||West Midlands Trains (14.95%)||-||-||-||-|
|Other organizations||JR Freight||Railway Technical Research Institute (RTRI)||Railway Information Systems (JR Systems)|| Railway Telecommunication |
|Japan Railway Construction, Transport and Technology Agency (JRTT)|
|Related topics: MARS (ticket reservation system) | National Railway Workers' Union | Japan Confederation of Railway Workers' Unions | Japan Railway Trade Unions Confederation | All Japan Construction, Transport and General Workers' Union | Sankei Children's Book Award|