Ban'etsu West Line
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Banetsu West Line
719 series EMU at Kōriyama Station, March 2008
|Locale||Fukushima, Niigata prefectures|
|Line length||175.6 km (109.1 mi)|
|Track gauge||1,067 mm (3 ft 6 in)|
|Electrification||20 kV AC, 50 Hz overhead catenary (Kōriyama – Kitakata)|
|Operating speed||100 km/h (60 mph)|
The Banetsu West Line (磐越西線 Ban'etsu-sai-sen ) is a railway line in Japan operated by East Japan Railway Company (JR East). It runs between Kōriyama Station in Kōriyama, Fukushima and Niitsu Station in Niigata, Niigata. The name "Banetsu" is taken from the first characters of the names of the ancient provinces of Iwaki (磐城) and Echigo (越後), which the Banetsu East and Banetsu West lines connect. "Sai" (西) means "west" in Japanese.
The line's nickname is the Mori to Mizu to Roman no Tetsudō (森と水とロマンの鉄道 lit. "the water, forest, and nostalgia railway" ).
Station list 
- Local trains generally stop at all stations, but some trains skip stations marked "▽".
- The column marked "* refers to the unnamed rapid service between Kōriyama and Aizu-Wakamatsu/Kitakata using 719 series EMUs.
- Trains can pass one another at stations marked "◇", "∨", or "∧"; stations marked "◆" are switchback stations. Trains cannot pass at stations marked "｜".
|Kōriyama||郡山||-||0.0||●||●||Tōhoku Shinkansen, Yamagata Shinkansen, Tōhoku Main Line, Ban'etsu East Line, Suigun Line[* 1]||∨||Kōriyama||Fukushima|
|Jōko||上戸||6.5||27.3||｜||｜||｜||Inawashiro, Yama District|
|Bandaimachi||磐梯町||10.1||51.2||●||●||◇||Bandai, Yama District|
Aizu Line[* 2]
|Oikawa▽||笈川||3.1||73.2||｜||｜||｜||Yugawa, Kawanuma District|
|Electrified section ends|
|Onobori||尾登||3.8||101.0||｜||｜||Nishiaizu, Yama District|
|Toyomi||豊実||3.3||121.3||｜||｜||Aga, Higashikanbara District||Niigata|
|Niitsu||新津||2.8||175.6||●||Uetsu Main Line, Shin'etsu Main Line[* 3]||∧|
Rolling stock 
As of February 2009, the following rolling stock is used on the Banetsu West Line.
- 719 series EMUs (since June 2007)
- 485 series EMUs (Aizu Liner rapid services)
- KiHa 47 DMUs
- KiHa 52 DMUs
- KiHa 58 DMUs
- KiHa 110 series DMUs
- KiHa E120 DMUs (since November 2008)
- 455 series EMUs (from 1967 until March 2008)
The Ban'etsu West Line was planned under the Railway Construction Act in 1892, and the private Gan'etsu Railway opened the initial section from Kōriyama to Nakayamajuku on July 26, 1898. In 1906, when the line was extended to Kitakata, the Japanese Government Railways under the nationalized the Gan'etsu Railway and renamed the line the Gan'etsu Line. The remaining sections were constructed in 1914, and the line was renamed the Ban'etsu West Line in 1917.
Japan National Railways (JNR) started to modernize the line in the 1960s, introducing the line's first limited express service (as a part of the Yamagata-bound Yamabata) in 1965 between Ueno Station in Tokyo and Aizu-Wakamatsu via the Tōhoku Main Line. In 1968 the train was renamed Aizu Yamabata, but from 1993 onward it was renamed Viva Aizu and ran only between Koriyama and Aizu-Wakamatsu. The train was finally discontinued as a limited express service in 2003, though it remains in use as a rapid service train.
In 1967, JNR electrified the section between Kōriyama and Kitakata. The non-electrified portion of the line between Kitakata and Niitsu is served by diesel multiple units and steam locomotives.
- JR East Niigata Area press release, (16 October 2008). Retrieved on 19 February 2009. (Japanese)
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