Shigaraki Kōgen Railway

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Shigaraki Kōgen Railway 310 Series train

Shigaraki Kōgen Railway Co., Ltd. (信楽高原鐵道株式会社 Shigaraki Kōgen Tetsudō Kabushiki-gaisha?) is a Japanese Third Sector railway company whose investors are Shiga Prefecture and the city of Koka.

The railway operates the Shigaraki Line, a former JR West line that was transferred to the third sector in 1987. The Shigaraki Line connects Kibukawa on the JR West Kusatsu Line and Shigaraki. The original plan proposed the extension of the line to Kamo on the Kansai Main Line. A current proposal is for the line to be extended to Osaka (see below).

Route data[edit]

  • Operating Company:
    • Shigaraki Kōgen Railway Co.
  • Distance:
    • Kibukawa — Shigaraki: 14.7km
  • Gauge: 1,067 mm (3 ft 6 in)
  • Stations: 6
  • Double-tracking: None
  • Electrification: Not electrified
  • Railway safeworking:
    • Ordinary staff

Stations[edit]

History[edit]

The line was opened by the Japanese Government Railways on May 8, 1933.[1] Freight services ceased in 1982.

The company was established on February 10, 1987 and started the railway operation on July 13, 1987 following the end of the operation by JR West the day before.[1] Originally the company owned the railway facilities, but on April 1, 2013 the asset was transferred to the city of Kōka for 10-year free lease to the company as a part of the restructuring.[2]

Service disruptions[edit]

The line has an unfortunate record in this regard, with services suspended between 1943 and 1947 due to it being deemed non-essential during the World War II and the track was removed. The citizens' volunteer work contributed to the reopening of the line on July 25, 1947.[1]

A bridge was washed out in 1953, and the line was out of service for a year whilst it was rebuilt.

The 1991 collision (see below) resulted in the suspension of services for six months.[1]

The line has been out of service since September 16, 2013 as a result of another bridge washout caused by Typhoon Man-yi. The operation is scheduled to be resumed on November 29, 2014.[3][4]

Accidents[edit]

The Shigaraki train disaster happened on the line in May 1991, when a through train from JR West collided head-on with a Shigaraki Kōgen Railway train, killing 42 people.

Proposed extension[edit]

A current proposal calls for the Shiragaki Line to be part of a single-line connection from Maibara to suburban Osaka; the proposal consists of a direct connection from the Ohmi Railway Main Line to the Shigaraki Line at Kibukawa, infrastructure upgrades on the Shigaraki Line, and a new line from Shiragaki and connecting with the Gakkentoshi Line in southern Kyoto Prefecture.

It is not known if the bridge washout that has resulted in services being suspended since September 2013 has affected this proposal.

References[edit]

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