Sagano Scenic Railway

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Not to be confused with Sagano Line.
Sagano Scenic Railway
Technical
Line length 7.3 km (4.5 mi)
Track gauge 1,067 mm (3 ft 6 in)


Sagano Scenic Railway
  • The Sagano Scenic Railway line is the winding line along the river
  • The straight line is the JR West San'in Main Line
Keifuku Arashiyama Main Line
Saga-Arashiyama
Randen-Saga
0.0 Torokko Saga
Atagoyama Railway
Arashiyama
1.0 Torokko Arashiyama
Hozu River
3.4 Torokko Hozukyō
Hozukyō
7.3 Torokko Kameoka
Umahori
San'in Main Line

The Sagano Scenic Railway (嵯峨野観光鉄道 Sagano Kankō Tetsudō?) or Sagano Sightseeing Railway is a wholly owned subsidiary of West Japan Railway Company (JR West) that operates the Sagano Scenic Line (嵯峨野観光線 Sagano Kankō-sen?) or Sagano Sight-seeing Line in Kyoto.

The line uses superseded tracks of the Sagano Line (officially a portion of the San'in Main Line) of JR West, from Torokko Sagano in Arashiyama, and passes a gorge offering a scenic view along the Hozu River, then enters and terminates in the basin of Kameoka. It is closed on Wednesdays and in the winter.

The line is locally known as "Torokko in Hozu gorge." Torokko is a Japanese word derived from the English "truck" once used for mining cars hauling ore, but presently means rail carriages for scenic view with rough accommodations.

Some sources refer to the Sagano Scenic Line as the only scenic railway in Japan.[1]

Description[edit]

Company[edit]

  • Wholly owned subsidiary of West Japan Railway Company
  • Headquarters: Ukyō-ku, Kyoto, Kyoto Prefecture, Japan
  • Founded: 1990
  • Major enterprise: Operation of Sagano Scenic Line

Line[edit]

  • Under Railway Business Act (not under Tram Act)
  • Operation and possession (see Three categories of railway)
    • Operation: Sagano Scenic Railway (category 2)
    • Possession: West Japan Railway (category 1)
  • Track: single
    • Shares down (for Kameoka) track of San'in Main Line between Torokko Saga and Torokko Arashiyama stations. Up trains of the line traverse the down line to reach Arashiyama.
  • Traction: internal combustion (diesel)
  • No. of stations: 4 incl. both ends
  • Rolling stock
    • Locomotive: 1
    • Coach: 5

History[edit]

Construction of the line[edit]

The line was originally a part of the main line of Kyoto Railway (京都鉄道 Kyoto Tetsudō?) Co. opened in 1899, to connect Kyoto to the northern part of Kyoto Prefecture, or the old province of Tamba. The company adopted the relatively level route through the gorge, avoiding Oinosaka (老の坂?)pass which would have required a steep grade. The company was nationalized in 1907.

Bypass[edit]

The Japanese National Railways (JNR) built a new, shorter, straighter, electrified double-tracked section of the San'in Main Line between Saga (present Saga-Arashiyama) and Umahori which opened in 1989, bypassing the original winding route with narrow tunnels.

Success[edit]

The privatized JR West utilised the original line for tourism under a subsidiary founded in 1990. JR West used old rolling stock for this purpose; 4 semi-open coaches hauled by a diesel locomotive.

By 1991 the line was more popular than expected (there had been speculation that the venture would be unsuccessful). As a result, a fifth carriage, nicknamed "The Rich" (ザ・リッチ?), was introduced. The car is contrary to its name, converted from an old gondola of JR West to fully open carriage, even the floor and the sides are of fine grills and offers a rough ride.

Presently, combined with rafting on the Hozu River, it is a major tourist attraction in Arashiyama and Sagano.

Operation[edit]

All trains are operated between Torokko Saga and Torokko Kameoka stations. All seats are reserved, and tickets (JPY 600 for adult and JPY 300 for child, as of 2006) are on sale one month prior to the operation with some exceptions. Some are sold on the day, but travel in "The Rich" is not available on rainy days. Down (for Kameoka) trains cater for a return journey via the Hozu River boat ride to Arashiyama, thus up trains are generally less patronised.

Stations[edit]

Hozukyo station

Except Torokko Kameoka is in Kameoka, all stations are in Kyoto.

Rolling stock[edit]

As mentioned above, all are JR West origin. Daily and minor maintenance is carried out at Torokko Saga, while heavy maintenances in JR West facility.

Liveried in red, yellow and black, explained as a typical colour set to infer Kyoto.

  • Locomotive
    • DE10 type diesel locomotive, No. DE10 1104
    • Heading on Saga end of the formation
  • Passenger cars, from Saga side to Kameoka
    • SK300-1, SK100-1, SK100-11, SK100-2, SK200-1
    • All were converted from Toki 25000 type gondolas (trucks)
    • SK200-1 is equipped with controller on the Kameoka end
    • SK300-1 is nicknamed "The Rich", floor and side are of fine grills

See also[edit]

References[edit]

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

  1. ^ Keitetsu Association (けいてつ協会 Keitetsu Kyōkai?) (1997) Unknown Railways (知られざる鉄道 Shirarezaru Tetsudō?), Tokyo: JTB Corporation

External links[edit]