Katamachi Line

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  H   Katamachi Line
(Gakkentoshi Line)
JRW series207 Gakken.jpg
207 series EMU on a Local service
Overview
Type Heavy rail
System Urban Network
Locale Osaka Prefecture and Kyoto Prefecture
Termini Kizu
Kyōbashi
Stations 24
Operation
Opening 1895
Owner JR West
Operator(s) JR West
JR Freight
Rolling stock 207 series EMU
321 series EMU
Technical
Line length 55.4 km (34.4 mi)
Track gauge 1,067 mm (3 ft 6 in)
Electrification 1,500 V DC, overhead line
Operating speed 110 km/h (68 mph)

The Katamachi Line (片町線 Katamachi-sen?), officially nicknamed the Gakkentoshi Line (学研都市線 Gakkentoshi-sen?), is a commuter rail line and service in the Osaka-Kobe-Kyoto Metropolitan Area of Japan, owned and operated by West Japan Railway Company (JR West). The line connects Kizu Station in Kyoto Prefecture and Kyōbashi Station in Osaka.

The common name "Gakkentoshi Line", literally "Research City Line", comes from the Kansai Science City, which is located along the line around the border of Osaka and Nara prefectures.

Basic data[edit]

Route and operation[edit]

The line is connected via the JR Tōzai Line in downtown Osaka, at Amagasaki, to the Tōkaidō Main Line (JR Kobe Line) and Fukuchiyama Line (JR Takarazuka Line). This link enables trains operated from Nara to the west, as Kobe, Himeji, and Sanda.

Rapid services of several types of stops, with no surcharge, are also provided. Abbreviations are tentative for this article.

Local (普通 Futsū?) (Lo)
Operated all day, most trains between Matsuiyamate and Nishi-Akashi on Sanyō Main (JR Kobe) Line. Some in busy hours to Fukuchiyama Line (JR Takarazuka Line), some terminate at Kyōbashi.
Regional Rapid (区間快速 Kukan Kaisoku?) (RR)
Operated in early morning, late night, and busy hours only. Some from/to Nara, most from/to Dōshishamae or Kyōtanabe. Through to Nishiakashi or Shin-Sanda.
Rapid (快速 Kaisoku?) (Ra)
Mostly through to Shin-Sanda or Sasayamaguchi on Fukuchiyama (JR Takarazuka) Line. One per 15 minutes per direction.
Direct Rapid (直通快速 Chokutsū Kaisoku?) (DR)
Through trains from Osaka Higashi Line, only between Hanaten and Kyōbashi in this line. Four trains to Amagasaki from Nara in the morning, 4 vice versa in the evening.

Stations[edit]

Station Stops Location
Kizu RR Ra    Kizugawa Kyoto
Nishi-Kizu RR Ra   
Hōsono RR Ra    Seika, Sōraku
Shimokoma RR Ra   
JR Miyamaki RR Ra    Kyōtanabe
Dōshisha-mae RR Ra   
Kyōtanabe RR Ra   
Ōsumi RR Ra   
Matsuiyamate RR Ra   
Nagao RR Ra    Hirakata Osaka
Fujisaka RR      
Tsuda RR      
Kawachi-Iwafune RR Ra    Katano
Hoshida RR Ra   
Higashi-Neyagawa RR       Neyagawa
Shinobugaoka RR       Shijōnawate
Shijōnawate RR Ra    Daitō
Nozaki  
Suminodō RR Ra   
Kōnoikeshinden   Higashiosaka
Tokuan  
Hanaten RR Ra DR Tsurumi, Osaka
Shigino   Jōtō, Osaka
Kyōbashi RR Ra DR

Rolling stock[edit]

All trains are based at Aboshi Depot.

Former[edit]

History[edit]

The line was originally built and operated by the Naniwa Railway (浪速鉄道 Naniwa Tetsudō?) between Katamachi and Shijōnawate in 1895. Two years later, the Kansai Railway bought the line in order to have its own trunk line to Osaka from Nagoya, combined with constructing the section between Shijōnawate and Kizu. Katamachi station was unable to be expanded, thus Amijima terminus was constructed. However Kansai Railway bought the Osaka Railway (I, ja) line from Nara via Ōji to Minatomachi (present JR Namba) in downtown Osaka, and shifted its main line to the ex-Naniwa Railway line. Thereafter, the Katamachi line became a branch of the railway network of Osaka.

The Kansai Railway Co. was nationalised in 1907.

The Shigino - Hanaten section was duplicated in 1927, with the Katamachi - Shigino section duplicated in 1955, the Hanaten - Shijonawate section in 1969, extended to Nagao in 1979, to Matsuiyamate in 1989, and the balance of the section to Kyobashi duplicated between 2007 and 2009.

The section between Katamachi and Shijōnawate became the first Japan Governmental Railways electrified line in Osaka-Kobe-Kyoto area in 1932, with electrification extended to Nagao in 1950. After privatization of the then Japanese National Railways (JNR), the line became part of the West Japan Railway Company (JR West) system, and the Kizu - Nagao section was electrified in 1989.

In 1997, the JR Tōzai Line was opened and connected to Katamachi Line at Kyōbashi, and Katamachi Station was closed (with Ōsakajō-kitazume Station becoming the replacement station). Most trains began operating through to the Fukuchiyama Line (JR Takarazuka Line).

Converted from a freight branch to a passenger route, the Osaka Higashi Line began service in 2008. Trains from Nara via Kansai Main (Yamatoji) Line are operated to Amagasaki Station.

Military use[edit]

Entrance to the Kin-ya Ammunition Dump, January 2008

Three military/weapons-related facilities used during the early 20th century were serviced by spurs located between Fujisaka and Tsuda Stations (Kin-ya Ammunition Dump, where two explosions occurred in 1909 and 1939), between Kawachi-Iwafune and Hoshida Stations (Uji Weapon Kori Factory), and the Osaka Army Arsenal warehouse between Hanaten and Shigino Stations.