Agatsuma Line

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
     Agatsuma Line
Omae Sta 20061108.jpg
An 115 series EMU at Ōmae Station, November 2006
Overview
Native name 吾妻線
Type Regional rail
Locale Gunma Prefecture
Termini Shibukawa
Ōmae
Stations 18
Operation
Opening 1945
Owner JR East
Technical
Line length 55.6 km (34.5 mi)
Track gauge 1,067 mm (3 ft 6 in)
Electrification 1,500 V DC overhead catenary
Route map
JR Agatsuma Line linemap.svg

The Agatsuma Line (吾妻線 Agatsuma-sen?) is a local rail line in Gunma, Japan, and is part of the East Japan Railway Company (JR East) network. Approximately following the Agatsuma River, it is 55.6 km between Shibukawa and Ōmae stations.

Operations[edit]

Although the official start of the line is at Shibukawa, all trains run through on the Jōetsu Line to/from Takasaki.

Stations[edit]

55.6 km post marking the end of the line at Ōmae Station
Station Japanese Distance (km) Transfers Location
Between
stations
Total
Shibukawa 渋川   0.0 Jōetsu Line (all trains through to Takasaki) Shibukawa Gunma
Kanashima 金島 5.5 5.5  
Ubashima 祖母島 2.2 7.7  
Onogami 小野上 4.2 11.9  
Onogami-Onsen 小野上温泉 1.8 13.7  
Ichishiro 市城 2.3 16.4   Nakanojō, Agatsuma District
Nakanojō 中之条 3.4 19.8  
Gunma-Haramachi 群馬原町 3.1 22.9   Higashiagatsuma, Agatsuma District
Gōbara 郷原 3.4 26.3  
Yagura 矢倉 1.7 28.0  
Iwashima 岩島 5.5 30.5  
Kawarayu-Onsen 川原湯温泉 5.9 36.4   Naganohara, Agatsuma District
Naganohara-Kusatsuguchi 長野原草津口 5.9 42.3  
Gunma-Ōtsu 群馬大津 2.2 44.5  
Haneo 羽根尾 2.2 46.7  
Fukurogura 袋倉 2.9 49.6   Tsumagoi, Agatsuma District
Manza-Kazawaguchi 万座・鹿沢口 2.9 52.5  
Ōmae 大前 3.1 55.6  

History[edit]

The line opened on 2 January 1945 as the freight-only Naganohara Line (長野原線?) operating between Shibukawa and Naganohara Station (長野原駅?) (present-day Naganohara-Kusatsuguchi Station).[1] Passenger services were introduced as far as Nakanojō from 5 August 1945, to Iwashima from 20 November 1945, and to Naganohara-Kusatsuguchi from 20 April 1946.[1]

The remains of the former Ōshi Station in June 2013

On 1 October 1952, the line was extended to Ōshi Station (太子駅?), initially for freight only, but passengers services were also introduced from 21 June 1954.[1] Freight services between Shibukawa and Ōshi ceased as of 1 October 1966.[1]

Services on the section between Naganohara and Ōshi were suspended as of 1 November 1970, and on 7 March 1971, a new line was opened beyond Naganohara to Ōmae, with the entire line renamed Agatsuma Line at the same time.[1] The Naganohara-Kusatsuguchi to Ōshi line was formally closed as of 1 May 1971.[1] CTC signalling on the entire line was also commissioned at the same time.[citation needed]

With the privatization of JNR on 1 April 1987, the Agatsuma Line came under the ownership of JR East.[1]

It had been proposed[when?] to extend the line to Nagano, but geological exploratory drilling revealed extensive faulting beyond Ōmae, and as any extension would have required extensive tunnelling, this was considered impractical.[citation needed]

Yanba Dam construction[edit]

The Yanba Dam was proposed for construction, and required the realignment of the line between Iwashima and Naganohara-Kusatsuguchi. Construction of the diversion was well advanced when a change of government in 2009 resulted in the project being halted. Another change of government in 2012 revived the project. Services on the old section of the line were suspended following the last scheduled service on 24 September 2014 to allow commissioning of the new alignment.[2] The new alignment opened for passenger services on 1 October 2014.[2] The new route will be 0.3km shorter, and will result in the shortest tunnel in Japan, the 7m Tarusawa Tunnel, being abandoned, although it will not be inundated by the new dam.[citation needed]

Points of interest[edit]

The Agatsuma Line is noted for numerous onsen hot springs along the route. The famous hot springs at Kusatsu are some distance north of the line, but several rural onsen such as those at Shima, Sawatari, Kawarayu, and Shiriyaki are more accessible.

Mount Asama, Mount Kusatsu-Shirane, and the Agatsuma Canyon can all be seen from the Agatsuma Line, though the canyon will be inundated when the Yanba Dam is commissioned.

References[edit]

This article incorporates material from the corresponding article in the Japanese Wikipedia.

  1. ^ a b c d e f g Ishino, Tetsu, ed. (1998). 停車場変遷大辞典 国鉄・JR編 [Station Transition Directory - JNR/JR] I. Japan: JTB. p. 105. ISBN 4-533-02980-9. 
  2. ^ a b 吾妻線新線で試運転 [Test-running starts on new Agatsuma Line section]. Japan Railfan Magazine Online (in Japanese). Japan: Koyusha Co., Ltd. 29 September 2014. Retrieved 1 October 2014.