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Shigaraki Kohgen Railway Co., Ltd. (信楽高原鐵道株式会社, Shigaraki Kōgen Tetsudō Kabushiki-gaisha) is a Japanese third-sector railway company funded by Shiga Prefecture and the city of Koka.
The railway operates the Shigaraki Line, a former JR West line that was transferred to the third sector in 1987. The Shigaraki Line connects Kibukawa on the JR West Kusatsu Line with Shigaraki.
As of February 2017 [update] , the company operates a fleet of four diesel railcars: SKR310 series cars SKR311 and SKR312, SKR400 series car SKR401, and SKR500 series car SKR501. The two SKR310 series diesel railcars were introduced in 2001, based on the earlier SKR300 series design but with more powerful engines. SKR400 series diesel railcar SKR401 was delivered to the line in September 2015. This replaced car SKR301, which was withdrawn from service on 3 October 2015. New SKR500 series diesel railcar SKR501 entered revenue service on the line from 5 February 2017. This replaced SKR205, which made its last run on 4 February 2017. While similar in design to the earlier SKR400 series car SKR401, SKR501 has transverse seating, whereas SKR401 has longitudinal bench seating.
Five SKR200 series railcars were introduced between 1987 and 1992.One SKR300 series car was introduced in 1995.
The line was opened by the Japanese Government Railways on May 8, 1933. [ citation needed ]Freight services ceased in 1982.
The company was established on February 10, 1987 and started the railway operation on July 13, 1987 following the end of the operation by JR West the day before.Originally the company owned the railway facilities, but on April 1, 2013 the asset was transferred to the city of Kōka for 10-year free lease to the company as a part of the restructuring.
The line has an unfortunate record in this regard, with services suspended between 1943 and 1947 due to it being deemed non-essential during World War II and the track was removed. The citizens' volunteer work contributed to the reopening of the line on July 25, 1947.
A bridge was washed out in 1953, and the line was out of service for a year whilst it was rebuilt.[ citation needed ]
The 1991 collision (see below) resulted in the suspension of services for six months.
The line was out of service from September 16, 2013 to November 29, 2014 as a result of another bridge washout caused by Typhoon Man-yi.
The Shigaraki train disaster happened on the line in May 1991, when a through train from JR West collided head-on with a Shigaraki Kohgen Railway train, killing 42 people.
The Shigaraki train disaster was a railway accident that occurred in Shigaraki, Shiga Prefecture, Japan on May 14, 1991. A Shigaraki Kōgen Railway (SKR) train and a West Japan Railway Company train collided head-on, killing 42 people and injuring 614 others. Until the Amagasaki rail crash in 2005, this was the deadliest railway disaster in Japan since the Yokohama rail crash of 1963, which killed 161 people.
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