Esashi Line

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     Esashi Line
Overview
Type Regional rail
Locale Hokkaido
Termini Goryōkaku
Kikonai
Stations 12
Operation
Owner JR Hokkaido
Technical
Line length 37.8 km (23.5 mi)
Track gauge 1,067 mm (3 ft 6 in)
Electrification 20 kV AC
Route map
Route map

The Esashi Line (江差線 Esashi-sen?) is a Japanese railway line operated by Hokkaido Railway Company (JR Hokkaido). It connects Goryōkaku (near Hakodate) and Kikonai. The section beyond Kikonai to Esashi closed in May 2014.

Stations[edit]

All stations are in Hokkaido.
Track: ∥: Double track, ∨: Double track ends, ◇: Passing loop |: No passing loop

Station Japanese Between (km) Distance (km) Transfers Track Location
Hakodate Main Line, part of Tsugaru-Kaikyō Line
Hakodate 函館 - 3.4 Hakodate City Tram Hakodate
Esashi Line, part of Tsugaru-Kaikyō Line
Goryōkaku 五稜郭 3.4 0.0 Hakodate Main Line Hakodate
Nanaehama 七重浜 2.7 2.7   Hokuto
Higashi-Kunibetsu 東久根別 2.6 5.3  
Kunibetsu 久根別 1.2 6.5  
Kiyokawaguchi 清川口 1.1 7.6  
Kamiiso 上磯 1.2 8.8  
Moheji 茂辺地 8.8 17.6  
Oshima-Tōbetsu 渡島当別 5.0 22.6  
Kamaya 釜谷 4.9 27.5   Kikonai
Izumisawa 泉沢 3.1 30.6  
Satsukari 札苅 3.4 34.0  
Kikonai 木古内 3.8 37.8 Kaikyō Line

Former Kikonai - Esashi section (closed May 2014)[edit]

Station Japanese Between (km) Distance (km) Transfers Track Location
Oshima-Tsuruoka 渡島鶴岡 2.3 40.1   Kikonai
Yoshibori 吉堀 3.1 43.2  
Shinmei 神明 13.2 56.4   Kaminokuni
Yunotai 湯ノ岱 2.8 59.2  
Miyakoshi 宮越 7.1 66.3  
Katsuraoka 桂岡 2.2 68.5  
Naka-Suda 中須田 2.1 70.6  
Kaminokuni 上ノ国 3.2 73.8  
Esashi 江差 6.1 79.9   Esashi

History[edit]

The Goryokaku - Kamiiso section opened on 15 September 1913, and was extended to Kikonai on 25 October 1930. The Kikonai - Yunotai section opened on 10 December 1935, and was extended to Esashi on 10 November 1936.

Local freight trains ceased running beyond Kamiiso in 1982, and totally in 1985.[citation needed]

The Goryokaku - Kikonai section was electrified on 13 March 1988 as part of the upgrading of the line associated with the opening of the Seikan Tunnel and associated Kaikyo Line linking Hokkaido to Honshu.

On 7 August 2012, JR Hokkaido announced its intention to close the 42 km non-electrified section of the line between Kikonai and Esashi in spring 2014 due to a lack of financial viability.[1] In fiscal 2011, the Kikonai - Esashi section was served by six return services daily, with an average patronage of 41 passengers per km daily, the lowest for any of JR Hokkaido's lines.[2] The Kikonai - Esashi section was closed in 2014, with the last services operating on 11 May.[3]

Former connecting lines[edit]

Japan Cement Co. loco No. 2 was in service at Kamiiso from 1922 until 1975
  • Kamiiso station - A 500 m spur line served the Japan Cement Co factory from 1915 to 1989. A private 6.6 km line transported limestone to the factory from 1921 to 1956, being electrified at 600 V DC from 1922. A second 3.4 km line to a limestone quarry operated from 1949 until replaced by a conveyor belt in 1973.
  • Kikonai station - In 1937, the 8 km section to Shiriuchi opened, the beginning of a 75 km line to serve a proposed manganese mine at Oshima. The line reached Matsumae (51 km) in 1953, and closed in 1988. The last 24 km to the manganese deposit was not constructed.

Future developments[edit]

Operations on the remaining section of the line between Goryōkaku and Kikonai are scheduled to be transferred from JR Hokkaido to a new operating company when the Hokkaido Shinkansen opens around 2016.[3]

References[edit]

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

  1. ^ "JR北海道 木古内-江差廃止方針 14年にもバス転換 来月地元に申し入れ" [JR Hokkaido to close line between Kikonai and Esashi - bus substitution from spring 2014]. Doshin Web (in Japanese). Japan: The Hokkaido Shimbun Press. 8 August 2012. Retrieved 8 August 2012. 
  2. ^ "江差線の木古内~江差間、廃止へ" [Esashi Line Kikonai to Esashi section to close]. Tetsudo.com (in Japanese). Japan: Asahi Interactive Inc. 7 September 2012. Retrieved 7 September 2012. 
  3. ^ a b "江差線木古内—江差間が廃止される" [Esashi Line section between Kikonai and Esashi closes]. Japan Railfan Magazine Online (in Japanese). Japan: Koyusha Co., Ltd. 12 May 2014. Retrieved 12 May 2014.