Osaka Loop Line

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  O   Ōsaka Loop Line
JRW-201 and 103 001JPN.JPG
103 series (left) and 201 series EMUs
Overview
Type Heavy rail
System Urban Network
Locale Osaka, Japan
Termini Osaka (loop)
Stations 19
Operation
Opening April 5, 1898 (first section)
April 25, 1961 (entire line)
Owner JR West
Operator(s) JR West
JR Freight
Depot(s) Morinomiya
Rolling stock 103 series EMU
201 series EMU
221 series EMU
223-0 series EMU
223-2500 series EMU
225-5000 series EMU
281 series EMU
283 series EMU
287 series EMU
381 series EMU
Technical
Line length 21.7 km (13.5 mi)
No. of tracks 3 (Fukushima — Nishikujo)
2 (other sections)
Track gauge 1,067 mm (3 ft 6 in)
Electrification 1,500 V DC, overhead lines
Operating speed 100 km/h (62 mph)

The Ōsaka Loop Line (大阪環状線 Ōsaka kanjō-sen?) is a railway line in Japan operated by West Japan Railway Company (JR West). It encircles central Osaka.

The second loop line, the Osaka Higashi Line, from Hanaten to Kyuhoji was opened on March 15, 2008, and the line from Shigino to Shin-Ōsaka is planned to open in 2020.

Outline[edit]

This loop line consists of two tracks around the heart of metropolitan Osaka. Most trains consist of 8 carriages, with distinctive orange colour with white JR graphics on the front, rear and sides. The train schedule varies, but on average, two trains leave Tennōji Station and Ōsaka Station every seven minutes, in opposite directions.

Operation[edit]

Osaka Loop Line trains
Osaka
Kyōbashi
Nishikujō
Tennōji
JR Yumesaki Line through trains
Osaka
Kyōbashi
Nishikujō
Sakurajima
Tennōji
Yamatoji Rapid, Regional Rapid
Osaka
Kyōbashi
Nishikujō
Tennōji
Nara
Kamo
Kansai Airport Rapid, Kishūji Rapid, Direct Rapid
Osaka
Kyōbashi
Nishikujō
Tennōji
Kansai Airport
Wakayama
Haruka
Maibara
Kyoto
Shin-Ōsaka
Nishikujō
Tennōji
Kansai Airport
Kuroshio
Kyoto
Shin-Ōsaka
Nishikujō
Tennōji
Wakayama
Shingū

On this line, JR West operates several types of trains. The line serves as a link of Ōsaka Station in northern Osaka, and Tennōji in southern downtown. Some Limited Express trains linking north and south of the Osaka-Kobe-Kyoto area use the line as bypass between Tōkaidō Main Line in the north and Hanwa Line in the south. Traffic is heavier in the eastern half, Osaka - Kyōbashi - Tennōji, than in the western half via Nishi-Kujō.

Direction[edit]

Completely loop shaped Osaka Loop Line is unable to use the up and down direction commonly applied in Japanese railways. Instead, the words "outer circle" (or outer loop) (外回り Soto mawari?) and the "inner circle" (内回り Uchi mawari?) are used to refer to the direction. The outer is clockwise, the inner counterclockwise.

If rules, such as the registration of the line at Ministry of Land, Infrastructure and Transport apply,[1] the inner loop is down.

Local[edit]

Local trains are operated all day. Some run the complete loop, while some serve the eastern half between Osaka and Tennōji via Kyōbashi.

Eight-car EMUs of 103 series and 201 series are used.

Sakurajima Line trains[edit]

Trains of the Sakurajima Line (JR Yumesaki Line) are now operated through to the loop line to/from Kyōbashi and Tennoji.

Eight-car 103 series and 201 series EMUs are used.

Rapids of Kansai Main Line[edit]

Through trains to the Kansai Main Line (Yamatoji Line) began operated in 1973. "Yamatoji Rapid" (大和路快速 Yamatoji Kaisoku?) and "Regional Rapid" (区間快速 Kukan Kaisoku?) trains originate at Tennōji on the loop, passing the loop as "inner" via Osaka, after stopping at Tennōji where once called on, exit the loop to the Kansai Main Line and terminate at Kamo, Nara or Ōji. In the loop, Yamatoji Rapids pass some stations while Regional Rapids stop all.

For "Yamatoji Rapid", 6 or 8-car 221 series EMUs are used, while 8-car 103 series of light green livery and 6 or 8-car 221 series are for "Regional Rapid".

Rapids of Hanwa Line[edit]

To the Hanwa Line, "Kansai Airport Rapid" (関空快速 Kankū Kaisoku?) for Kansai Airport, Kishūji Rapid (紀州路快速 Kishūji Kaisoku?) for Wakayama originate at Tennoji via Tsuruhashi (part of trains originate at Kyobashi), and together with other types of rapid trains, go through from the loop. Rapid (non-Limited Express) operations of this route began in 1994 on the opening of Kansai Airport, following a few exceptional rapid trains in 1989.

8-car 223 series and 225 series EMUs in 4+4 formations are used for Kansai Airport and Kishūji rapids. 113 series 4-car units were also used for rapids of Shin-Ōsaka - Kii-Tanabe in early morning and late night. They were withdrawn in 2010.

Limited express[edit]

Charged Limited Expresses such as Haruka for Kansai International Airport, and south bound Kuroshio on the Hanwa Line and Kisei Main Line (Kinokuni Line) heading for the scenic southern Wakayama Prefecture utilise the Osaka Loop Line as the bypass for Tōkaidō Main Line and Hanwa Line. Inside the line except Tennōji, limited numbers of trains stop only at Nishi-Kujō. Between the Tōkaidō Main Line and the Osaka Loop Line, trains pass the "Umeda freight line" which crosses right west of Ōsaka Station, not stopping at Osaka because no passenger facilities are installed on the freight line until it merges the main line at Shin-Ōsaka. This route was applied in 1989 on the completion of a bypass track from Hanwa Line to platforms of Kansai Main Line at Tennōji, until then no through operations enabled from Hanwa Line.

281 series EMUs are used for Haruka, 283 series EMUs, 287 series EMUs and 381 series EMUs for Kuroshio.

Freight trains[edit]

After abandonment of Naniwa freight terminal, freight trains on the line run only between Fukushima and Nishikujō, from the "Umeda Freight Line" to Ajikawaguchi on the Sakurajima Line (JR Yumesaki Line).

Stations[edit]

Listed counterclockwise: All stations are in the city of Osaka, Osaka Prefecture.

Station Distance (km) Transfers Location
Ōsaka 0.0 Tōkaidō Main Line (JR Kyoto Line, JR Kobe Line, JR Takarazuka Line), JR Tōzai Line (Kitashinchi Station)
Osaka Municipal Subway: Tanimachi Line (T20: Higashi-Umeda Station), Yotsubashi Line (Y11: Nishi-Umeda Station), Midōsuji Line (M16: Umeda Station)
Hankyu: Kōbe Line, Kyoto Line, Takarazuka Line (Umeda Station)
Hanshin: Main Line (Umeda Station)
Kita
Fukushima 1.0 JR Tōzai Line (Shin-Fukushima Station)
Hanshin: Main Line
Keihan: Nakanoshima Line (Nakanoshima Station)
Fukushima
Noda 2.4 Osaka Municipal Subway: Sennichimae Line (S12: Tamagawa Station)
Nishikujō 3.6 Sakurajima Line (JR Yumesaki Line)
Hanshin: Hanshin Namba Line
Konohana
Bentenchō 5.2 Osaka Municipal Subway: Chūō Line (C13) Minato
Taishō 7.0 Osaka Municipal Subway: Nagahori Tsurumi-ryokuchi Line (N11) Taishō
Ashiharabashi 8.2 Naniwa
Imamiya 8.8 Kansai Main Line (Yamatoji Line)
Shin-Imamiya 10.0 Kansai Main Line (Yamatoji Line)
Nankai (NK03): Nankai Main Line, Kōya Line
Osaka Municipal Subway: Midōsuji Line (M22: Dōbutsuen-mae Station), Sakaisuji Line (K19: Dōbutsuen-mae Station)
Hankai: Hankai Line (HN52: Minami-Kasumichō Station)
Tennōji 11.0 Kansai Main Line (Yamatoji Line), Hanwa Line
Osaka Municipal Subway: Midōsuji Line (M23), Tanimachi Line (T27)
Kintetsu: Minami-Osaka Line (Osaka Abenobashi Station)
Hankai: Uemachi Line (HN01: Tennoji-ekimae Station)
Tennōji
Teradachō 12.0  
Momodani 13.2  
Tsuruhashi 14.0 Kintetsu: Nara Line, Osaka Line
Osaka Municipal Subway: Sennichimae Line (S19)
Tamatsukuri 14.9 Osaka Municipal Subway: Nagahori Tsurumi-ryokuchi Line (N19)
Morinomiya 15.8 Osaka Municipal Subway: Chūō Line (C19), Nagahori Tsurumi-ryokuchi Line (N20) Chūō
Osakajō-kōen 16.7   Jōtō
Kyōbashi 17.5 Katamachi Line (Gakkentoshi Line), JR Tōzai Line
Keihan: Keihan Main Line
Osaka Municipal Subway: Nagahori Tsurumi-ryokuchi Line (N22)
Sakuranomiya 19.3   Miyakojima
Temma 20.1 Osaka Municipal Subway: Sakaisuji Line (K12: Ōgimachi Station) Kita
Osaka 21.7  

Stopping patterns[edit]

Trains
  • Loop: Osaka Loop Line local trains
  • Yumesaki: JR Yumesaki Line through local trains
  • Reg R: Regional Rapid Service (Yamatoji Line)
  • Yamatoji R: Yamatoji Rapid Service
  • Dir R: Direct Rapid Service
  • BR: B Rapid Service (from the Hanwa Line for Shin-Osaka)
  • Kishuji R: Kishuji Rapid Service
  • Kansai Apt. R: Kansai Airport Rapid Service
  • R: Rapid Service (Hanwa Line)
Stations
  • S: Trains stop.
  • Outer: Outer track trains stop.
  • number: Track (Platform) numbers to arrive at and depart from.
  • | (both), ↑ (outer) : Trains pass.
Station Loop Yumesaki Reg R Yamatoji R Dir R BR
(for Shin-Osaka)
Kishuji R Kansai Apt. R R
(Hanwa Line)
Tennoji S
11-14
S
11-14
S
11-14
S
11-14
S
11-14
  S
11-14
S
11-14
S
11-14
Teradacho S S S S S   S S S
Momodani S S S S S   S S S
Tsuruhashi S S S S S   S S S
Tamatsukuri S S S S S   S S S
Morinomiya S S S S S   S S S
Osakajokoen S S S S S   S S S
Kyobashi S S S S S   S S S
Sakuranomiya S S S S S   S S S
Temma S S S S S   S S S
Osaka S S S S S   S S S
Fukushima S S S S S   S S S
Noda S S S | S   | | |
Nishikujo S S S S S Outer S S S
Bentencho S   S S S Outer S S S
Taisho S   S S S Outer S S S
Ashiharabashi S   S | S | | |
Imamiya S   S | S | | |
Shin-Imamiya S
1, 4
  S
2-4
S
2-4
S
2-4
Outer
3, 4
S
2-4
S
2-4
S
2-4
Tennoji S
11, 14
  S
15-18
S
15-18
S
15, 18
Outer
18
S
15, 18
S
15, 18
S
15, 18
Through to/from   JR Yumesaki Line Yamatoji Line Hanwa Line

Rolling stock[edit]

Current[edit]

Local[edit]

Yamatoji Rapid, Regional Rapid[edit]

Kansai Airport Rapid, Kishūji Rapid, Direct Rapid, B Rapid and Local[edit]

Limited express[edit]

Freight[edit]

Locomotives seen hauling freight trains include the M250 series, EF65, EF66, EF81, EF210 and DE10.

Former[edit]

Passenger[edit]

Freight[edit]

Fares[edit]

A special discount rate is applied for travels within the Osaka Loop Line, the Sakurajima Line and the segment between JR Namba Station and Tennōji Station of the Kansai Main Line (collectively called the Osaka Loop Zone (大阪環状線内 Ōsaka Kanjōsen-nai?)).[2] The following table is the rate for adult single-ride tickets.[3] (Note: Fractions of one kilometre are rounded up to the nearest full kilometre.)

Kilometre Yen
1 – 3 120
4 – 6 160
7 – 10 170
11 – 15 190
16 – 20 250

For travel between a station within the zone and a station out of the zone or between two stations out of the zone, fares are calculated in accordance with a universal fare table and the good rate as above is not applicable.

For the calculations of the fares for travels between two stations out of the zone that include the segment between Ōsaka Station and Tennōji Station of the Osaka Loop Line, where two routes (10.7 km route via Temma and 11.0 km route via Fukushima) are practical, the shorter route is always used irrespective of the actual travel route.[4][5]

History[edit]

The Osaka Loop Line consists of four segments historically, namely:

Jōtō Line
Eastern half of present line, Osaka - Tennōji via Kyōbashi
Nishinari Line
The northwestern quarter, Osaka - Nishi-Kujō
Kansai Main Line freight line
Southwestern portion, Tennōji - Sakaigawa Junction
Newly built section
The remainder to complete the loop, Nishi-Kujō - Sakaigawa Junction

Jōtō Line[edit]

The section of Osaka - Tennōji via Kyōbashi, eastern half of the present line was built by the then Osaka Railway (大阪鉄道 Osaka Tetsudō?) (I, apart from the second to open the present Kintetsu Minami-Osaka Line network) to link its line to the governmental railway network. In 1895 the line was opened in 2 stages: Tennōji - Tamatsukuri (2 mi. 28 chain, ca. 3.8 km) on 28 May; Tamatsukuri - Umeda (4 mi. 29 chain, ca. 7.0 km) on 17 October.

Earlier in 1889, the company opened its main line Kashiwara - Tennōji - Minatomachi (湊町?, present JR Namba) which includes a short portion of Osaka Loop Line, Tennōji - Imamiya; the station itself was opened in the following year 1890 between Tennōji and Minatomachi.

Kansai Railway (関西鉄道 Kansai Tetsudō?, also read as Kansei or Kwansai) merged Osaka Railway and unified Umeda Station to Ōsaka Station of governmental railways in 1900. The railway was acquired by the national government in 1907 under the 1906 Railway Nationalization Act. In 1909 the line was named the "Jōtō Line" (城東線 Jōtō sen?).

In 1930 the unit was changed to metric, thus distance was modified from 6.6 mi (10.6 km). to 10.7 km. Electrification of the Jōtō Line was done in 1933.

Nishinari Line[edit]

Osaka - Nishi-Kujō, the northwestern quarter of the line was built by Nishinari Railway (西成鉄道 Nishinari Tetsudō?) for a rail access to the Osaka Port. In 1898 the company opened Osaka - Ajikawaguchi, in 1904 the line was loaned to the government, in 1906 the company was nationalized under the act of the same year. In 1909, the line was named the "Nishinari Line" (西成線 Nishinari sen?) which included the present-day Sakurajima Line.

The Nishinari Line was electrified in 1941.

Kansai Main Line[edit]

A south-western portion of the loop, Tennōji - Sakaigawa Signal Box (abandoned in 2006, between Taishō and Bentenchō) was at first constructed for freight traffic by the then Japanese Government Railways to the port. In 1928, a branch freight line of the Kansai Main Line, Imamiya - Naniwa (浪速?) - Osaka-minato (大阪港?, apart from the present Ōsakakō Station on the Osaka Municipal Subway Chūō Line) with a distance of 5.2 mi. (ca. 8.4 km). In 1930 the unit was changed to metric, 8.2 km. The former Osaka-Minato and Osaka-Tōkō stations were abandoned in 1984.

Loop line[edit]

To complete a loop line, new tracks were laid between Nishi-Kujō to Sakaigawa S. B. by the then Japanese National Railways. In 1961, the section opened and the new Osaka Loop Line was named for the entirety of the then Jōtō Line, Osaka - Nishi-Kujō of Nishinari Line (the rest, Nishi-Kujō - Sakurajima was named Sakurajima Line) and the new Nishi-Kujō - Taishō - Tennōji.

In 1964, operation of loop shape commenced on the completion of elevated double tracks around Nishi-Kujō. Until then the operation had been done in the shape of mirrored "6", Sakurajima - Nishi-Kujō - Osaka - Kyōbashi - Tennōji - Nishi-Kujō. Tracks of Tennōji - Shin-Imamiya were quadrupled in 1968, to separate traffic of the Kansai Main Line.

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Ministry of Land, Infrastructure and Transport (2001) Railway directory: FY Heisei 13th ed. (鉄道要覧平成13年度版 Tetsudō Yōran Heisei 13 nendo-ban?), Tokyo: Tetsudō Tosho Kankōkai or Denkisha Kenkyūkai (鉄道図書刊行会 or 電気車研究会?) ISBN 4-88548-099-X
  2. ^ Section 78, West Japan Railway Company Terms and Conditions for Passenger Transport (Japanese)
  3. ^ JTB Timetable No. 979 (August 2007) (in Japanese). Tokyo: JTB Corporation. p. 967. 
  4. ^ West Japan Railway Company. "きっぷのルール (Rules for tickets)" (in Japanese). Retrieved 2008-02-02. 
  5. ^ Section 69, West Japan Railway Company Terms and Conditions for Passenger Transport