Yokkaichi Asunarou Railway Utsube Line

Last updated
Yokkaichi Asunarou Railway Utsube Line
Kintetsu-260Series-01.jpg
260 series train at Hinaga Station
Overview
Locale Mie Prefecture
Termini Asunarou Yokkaichi
Utsube
Stations8
Service
Type Commuter rail
Operator(s) Yokkaichi Asunarou Railway
History
OpenedOctober 6, 1912
Technical
Line length5.7 km (3.5 mi)
Number of tracks1
Track gauge 762 mm (2 ft 6 in)
Electrification 750 V DC, Overhead line
Route map
BSicon KHSTa.svg
BSicon LSTR.svg
BSicon hSTRa@g.svg
BSicon hSTR+l.svg
BSicon hSTRq.svg
BSicon hABZg+r.svg
BSicon HUBaq.svg
BSicon hSTR.svg
BSicon HUBeq.svg
BSicon KBHFa.svg
BSicon hBHF.svg
0.0 Kintetsu-Yokkaichi
(Suwa)
BSicon hSTRe@f.svg
BSicon STR.svg
BSicon hSTRl.svg
BSicon CONTfq.svg
Arrow Blue Right 001.jpeg Nagoya Line
BSicon eABZg+l.svg
BSicon eABZgr.svg
Arrow Blue Left 001.jpeg Yunoyama-Utsube link - Closed 1964
BSicon CONTgq.svg
BSicon STRr.svg
BSicon STR.svg
Arrow Blue Down 001.jpeg Utsube Line
BSicon eBHF.svg
Minami-Hamada
Closed 1944
BSicon BHF.svg
1.0 Akahori
BSicon BHF.svg
1.8 Hinaga
BSicon STR+l.svg
BSicon ABZgr.svg
BSicon KHSTe.svg
BSicon STR.svg
Nishihino
BSicon WASSERq.svg
BSicon hKRZWae.svg
BSicon WASSERq.svg
Tempaku River
BSicon BHF.svg
2.5 Minami-Hinaga
BSicon BHF.svg
3.6 Tomari
BSicon BHF.svg
4.3 Oiwake
BSicon BHF.svg
5.0 Ogoso
BSicon KBHFe.svg
5.7 Utsube

The Yokkaichi Asunarou Railway Utsube Line (四日市あすなろう鉄道内部線, Yokkaichi Asunarō Tetsudō Utsube-sen) is a 762 mm (2 ft 6 in) narrow gauge railway line operated by the Japanese private railway company Yokkaichi Asunarou Railway, connecting Asunarou Yokkaichi Station and Utsube Station, both in the city of Yokkaichi, Mie, Japan.

Contents

The line connects with the Kintetsu Nagoya Line and the Yunoyama Line at Asunarou Yokkaichi Station; these other lines use an elevated platform called Kintetsu Yokkaichi Station whereas the Utsube Line uses a low-level platform. At Hinaga Station, the line connects with the Yokkaichi Asunarou Railway Hachiōji Line, a one-station branch line. Because all trains on the Hachiōji Line offer direct service to Asunarou Yokkaichi via the Utsube Line, the two lines are collectively called the Utsube-Hachiōji Line (内部・八王子線, Utsube-Hachiōji-sen).

Until March 2015, the line was under control of Kintetsu, a major railway company.

Narrow gauge railway

The line was originally built as a tram utilising a track gauge of 762mm, which was relatively common at that time for such local lines. Later on the legal classification of the line was changed from a tram to a light rail, however the gauge was not widened, unlike the majority of 762mm gauge lines. Today, there are only four 762 mm (2 ft 6 in) gauge railway lines in operation in Japan.

762 mm (2 ft 6 in) railways of Japan

Services

"Local" (普通, Futsū) services stop at every station.
All trains are wanman driver only operation.
Trains run four times per hour. In the down direction, each hour there are two bound for Utsube and two for Nishihino (via the Hachiōji Line)

Stations

StationDistance
(km)
TransfersLocation
Asunarou Yokkaichi あすなろう四日市0.0 Kintetsu Nagoya Line, Yunoyama Line Yokkaichi Mie Prefecture
Akahori 赤堀1.0
Hinaga 日永1.8 Hachiōji Line
Minami-Hinaga 南日永2.5
Tomari 3.6
Oiwake 追分4.3
Ogoso 小古曽5.0
Utsube 内部5.7

History

Narrow gauge train interior Kintetsu narrow gauge car interior.jpg
Narrow gauge train interior

The Utsube Line was originally conceived and built by the Mie Tramway (三重軌道, Mie Kidō), later renamed Mie Railway (Santetsu). The original section of the line was completed in 1912 making it one of Kintetsu's oldest train lines. In 1916, an extension from Asunarou Yokkaichi (at that time called Suwa Station and located slightly to the east), to what is now JR Central Yokkaichi was opened. However, this extension was sold off in 1927 to Ise Electric Railway (Iseden) for use as part of their main line. This made Suwa Station, a hub between three different private railways and the biggest station in Yokkaichi, the terminus again. Steam locomotives ran on the line for many years until 1928 when gasoline-powered trains were introduced, which ran until the line was electrified in 1943.

The line originally included the Hachiōji Line and ended at Ise-Hachiōji Station. However an extension to Suzuka was planned to originate from Hinaga Station and construction began in 1922. However, this new section of the line was only completed as far as Utsube in Yokkaichi because legal permission to continue construction of the train line was revoked. The original section of the line, from Suwa to the end of never-to-be-finished Suzuka branch became the "Utsube Line", and the section of track which included the old terminus at Ise-Hachiōji became a branch line called the "Hachiōji Line".

Ownership of the line has changed a few times during its existence. Mie Tramway built the line in 1912 but control was transferred to Santetsu in 1916. Then in 1944, Santetsu, along with six other companies, merged to form Mie Transport (Sanco). During the latter part of the Santetsu era and the entire Sanco era, there was direct service offered between the now-separate Utsube Line and Yunoyama Line, which at that time was also a 762 mm (2 ft 6 in) gauge railway; the combination of these two train lines was called the Mie Line. In 1964, the railway department of Sanco become a separate company called Mie Electric Railway (Sanden), however this organization was short-lived as it was bought up by Kintetsu the following year.

In 1954 the initial portion of the route was re-routed by Sanco, which planned the re-routing because of Kintetsu's plan to re-route its Nagoya Line, which suffered from many sharp curves between Yokkaichi and Suwa stations. Kintetsu developed a plan to straighten the Nagoya Line as well as enlarge Suwa Station, which would be moved about a kilometre to the west; construction began in 1952 and took several years to complete. In accordance with this plan, Sanco altered its own Yokkaichi-area railways in 1956 to utilize the new location of Suwa Station, which was renamed to Kintetsu-Yokkaichi Station. From Akahori Station, the track to the old Suwa Station was closed and a new track was built to Kintetsu-Yokkaichi. At first, the direct connection with the Yunoyama Line was maintained however in 1964, the Yunoyama Line was altered and renovated to connect directly with the Nagoya Line and thus the connection with the Utsube Line was closed and direct service ended.

In August 2012, Kintetsu announced its wishes to close both the Utsube and Hachioji Lines, with plans to convert the trackbed into a dedicated bus route. The two lines together lose approximately ¥300 million annually. It has since been announced that Kintetsu would transfer the operation of these lines to the Yokkaichi City Government in 2015. [1]

As a consequence, Yokkaichi Asunarou Railway was incorporated and took control of the line as from April 1, 2015. In this new scheme, the railway tracks and rolling stock are owned by the city government while Yokkaichi Asunarou Railway operates trains. [2]

Timeline

Related Research Articles

Yokkaichi Special city in Kansai, Japan

Yokkaichi is a city located in Mie Prefecture, Japan. As of 1 August 2021, the city had an estimated population of 310,259 in 142162 households and a population density of 1500 persons per km². The total area of the city is 206.44 square kilometres (79.71 sq mi).

Kintetsu Railway Japanese railway company

Kintetsu Railway Co., Ltd., referred to as Kintetsu (近鉄), is a Japanese passenger railway company, managing infrastructure and operating passenger train service. Its railway system is the largest in Japan, excluding Japan Railways Group. The railway network connects Osaka, Nara, Kyoto, Nagoya, Tsu, Ise, and Yoshino. Kintetsu Railway Co., Ltd. is a wholly owned subsidiary of Kintetsu Group Holdings Co., Ltd.

Nagoya Line (Kintetsu)

The Nagoya Line is a railway line owned and operated by the Kintetsu Railway, a Japanese private railway company, connecting Nagoya and Ise Nakagawa Station in Matsusaka, Mie Prefecture via Kuwana, Yokkaichi, Suzuka, Tsu municipalities along the Ise Bay. The official starting-point of the line is Ise-Nakagawa and the terminus is Nagoya; however, operationally trains run "down" from and "up" towards Nagoya.

Kintetsu Yokkaichi Station Railway station in Yokkaichi, Mie Prefecture, Japan

Kintetsu-Yokkaichi Station is a major interchange railway station located in the city of Yokkaichi, Mie Prefecture, Japan, operated by the private railway operator Kintetsu Railway. The third-sector Yokkaichi Asunarou Railway, which is jointly owned by Kintetsu and the city of Yokkaichi, uses a part of the station as its terminal Asunarou Yokkaichi Station.

Yamada Line (Kintetsu)

The Yamada Line is a railway line of the Japanese private railway company Kintetsu Railway, connecting Ise-Nakagawa Station and Ujiyamada Station in Japan. The line runs parallel to parts of the JR Central Kisei Main Line and Sangū Line.

Yokkaichi Asunarou Railway Hachiōji Line

The Yokkaichi Asunarou Railway Hachiōji Line is a 762 mm narrow gauge railway line operated by the Japanese private railway company Yokkaichi Asunarou Railway, connecting Hinaga Station and Nishihino Station, both in the city of Yokkaichi, Mie, Japan. It extends for a total length of 1.3 kilometres (0.81 mi).

The Shima Line is a railway line in Mie Prefecture, Japan, operated by private railway operator Kintetsu Railway, connecting Toba Station in Toba with Kashikojima Station in Shima.

The Suzuka Line is a railway line of the Japanese private railway company Kintetsu Railway, connecting Ise-Wakamatsu Station and Hiratachō Station in Japan.

The Yunoyama Line is a railway line of the Japanese private railway company Kintetsu Railway, connecting Kintetsu-Yokkaichi Station and Yunoyama-Onsen Station in Japan.

Ise-Matsumoto Station Railway station in Yokkaichi, Mie Prefecture, Japan

Ise-Matsumoto Station is a passenger railway station in located in the city of Yokkaichi, Mie Prefecture, Japan, operated by the private railway operator Kintetsu Railway.

Yunoyama-Onsen Station Railway station in Komono, Mie Prefecture, Japan

Yunoyama-Onsen Station is a passenger railway station in located in the town of Komono, Mie Prefecture, Japan, operated by the private railway operator Kintetsu Railway.

Nishihino Station Railway station in Yokkaichi, Mie Prefecture, Japan

Nishihino Station is a terminal railway station on the two-station Kintetsu Hachiōji Line in Yokkaichi, Mie Prefecture, Japan, operated by the private railway operator Kintetsu. It is 1.3 rail kilometers from the terminus of the Hachiōji Line at Hinaga Station and is 3.1 rail kilometers Kintetsu-Yokkaichi Station.

Hinaga Station (Mie) Railway station in Yokkaichi, Mie Prefecture, Japan

Hinaga Station is a railway station on the Yokkaichi Asunarou Railway Utsube Line and the Yokkaichi Asunarou Railway Hachiōji Line in Yokkaichi, Mie Prefecture, Japan, operated by the private railway operator Yokkaichi Asunarou Railway. It is 1.9 rail kilometers from the terminus of the Utsube Line at Asunarou Yokkaichi Station and is a terminal station for the Hachiōji Line.

Akahori Station Railway station in Yokkaichi, Mie Prefecture, Japan

Akahori Station is a railway station on the Yokkaichi Asunarou Railway Utsube Line in Yokkaichi, Mie Prefecture, Japan, operated by the private railway operator Yokkaichi Asunarou Railway. It is 1.0 rail kilometers from the terminus of the Utsube Line at Asunarou Yokkaichi Station.

Minami-Hinaga Station Railway station in Yokkaichi, Mie Prefecture, Japan

Minami-Hinaga Station is a railway station on the Kintetsu Utsube Line in Yokkaichi, Mie Prefecture, Japan, operated by the private railway operator Kintetsu. It is 2.5 rail kilometers from the terminus of the line at Kintetsu-Yokkaichi Station.

Oiwake Station (Mie) Railway station in Yokkaichi, Mie Prefecture, Japan

Oiwake Station is a railway station on the Kintetsu Utsube Line in Yokkaichi, Mie Prefecture, Japan, operated by the private railway operator Kintetsu. It is 4.3 rail kilometers from the terminus of the line at Kintetsu-Yokkaichi Station.

Utsube Station Railway station in Yokkaichi, Mie Prefecture, Japan

Utsube Station is a terminal railway station on the Yokkaichi Asunarou Railway Utsube Line in Yokkaichi, Mie Prefecture, Japan, operated by the private railway operator Yokkaichi Asunarou Railway. It is 5.7 rail kilometers from the opposing terminus of the line at Asunarou Yokkaichi Station.

Sangi Railway Hokusei Line Narrow gauge (762mm/26") railway line in Mie Prefecture, Japan

The Hokusei Line, commonly known as the Sangi Hokusei Line, is a 762 mm narrow gauge railway line owned and operated by the Sangi Railway, a Japanese private railway company. The line connects Nishi-Kuwana Station in Kuwana, Mie with Ageki Station in Inabe, Mie, in Japan. For many years the line was owned by major railway operator Kintetsu but control was transferred to Sangi in April 2003.

2 ft 6 in gauge railways in Japan

A list of two foot six inch gauge railways in Japan.

Yokkaichi Asunarou Railway

The Yokkaichi Asunarou Railway is a railway company in Yokkaichi, Mie, Japan. The company operates the Utsube Line and the Hachiōji Line in Yokkaichi. Both lines are 762 mm gauge railways.

References

  1. 近鉄:内部線・八王子線の鉄路廃止、跡地にバス運行 三重. Mainichi jp (in Japanese). Japan: The Mainichi Newspapers. 22 August 2012. Retrieved 2 September 2012.
  2. 小佐野カゲトシ (April 1, 2015). "四日市あすなろう鉄道がスタート…近鉄内部・八王子線を引き継ぎ". Response (in Japanese). Retrieved April 4, 2015.