Shin'etsu Main Line
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|Shinetsu Main Line|
|Locale||Gunma, Nagano, Niigata prefectures|
|Termini||Takasaki - Yokokawa
Shinonoi - Niigata
|Track gauge||1,067 mm (3 ft 6 in)|
|Electrification||1,500 V DC overhead catenary|
The Shinetsu Main Line (信越本線 Shin'etsu-honsen?) is a pair of lines operated by the East Japan Railway Company (JR East) in Japan. Originally one continuous line, the longer section connects Shinonoi Station in Nagano Prefecture to Niigata Station in Niigata Prefecture, with several connections to other lines including Hokuriku Main Line at Naoetsu Station in Niigata Prefecture. The other section of the Shinetsu Main Line connects Takasaki Station in Gunma Prefecture to Yokokawa Station in Gunma Prefecture. Additionally, there are three freight branches; from Echigo-Ishiyama Station to Niigata Kamotsu Terminal, from Kami-Nuttari Junction to Nuttari Station, and from Kami-Nuttari Junction to Higashi-Niigata-kō Station. The name of the line refers to the old names for Nagano and Niigata Prefectures, Shinano (信濃) and Echigo (越後), which the main section still connects.
The separation of the original line into two sections was a result of the abandonment of the section between Yokokawa and Karuizawa and the reassignment of operations over the section between Karuizawa and Shinonoi to the third-sector Shinano Railway, both occurring on October 1, 1997 in conjunction with the opening of the Nagano Shinkansen between Takasaki and Nagano stations. The abandoned section through the Usui Pass was famous for its steep 66.7‰ gradient.
When the Hokuriku Shinkansen extension to Kanazawa opens on 14 March 2015, the portion of the Shinetsu Main Line between Nagano and Naoetsu will also be spun off to two third-sector railway operators, the Shinano Railway in Nagano Prefecture, and the Echigo Tokimeki Railway in Niigata Prefecture.
|Takasaki||0.0||Jōetsu Shinkansen, Nagano Shinkansen, Takasaki Line, Hachikō Line, Jōetsu Line, Ryōmō Line
Joshin Dentetsu Joshin Line
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The Japanese Government Railways opened the Takasaki to Yokokawa section in 1885, the Naoetsu to Sekiyama section the following year, and the Sekiyama - Nagano - Karuizawa section in 1888. In order to surmount the 552 metre altitude difference between Yokokawa and Karuizawa (which are 10 km apart), it then constructed an Abt rack section through the Usui Pass, which opened in 1893, and was double-tracked for 1 km from Karuizawa to the top of the rack section. A horse-drawn tramway operated between Yokokawa and Karuizawa until the rack section opened.
The Hokuetsu Railway opened the Naoetsu to Nagaoka section in 1897, extending the line to Niigata in 1904. Both companies were nationalised in 1907. In 1912, the rack section was electrified using third rail at 600 V DC, this being the first use of this method in Japan.
The Karuizawa to Nagano section was double-tracked between 1917 and 1920, with the Nagaoka to Miyauchi section double-tracked in 1931, and the Niitsu - Kamo section in 1944. Double-tracking of the remainder of the Niigata to Naoetsu line was undertaken in sections between 1958 and 1973.
Double-tracking of the remainder of the Takasaki to Kaminagano line was undertaken in sections between 1963 and 1973, commencing with the replacement of the rack mechanism with an adhesion only electrified (1,500 V DC catenary) operation on the 1 in 15 (6.7%) grade. The rack equipment was initially kept as a contingency, and removed two months after the adhesion-only operation commenced and had proved its reliability.
The Kurohime to Myoko-Kogen section was double-tracked in conjunction with a realignment in 1980. The Mure to Kurohime section was also realigned and prepared for double-tracking (including new double-track size tunnels), but the second track was not laid.
The Miyauchi to Nagaoka section was electrified in 1947 at 1,500 V DC in conjunction with the electrification of the Joetsu Line, with the Nagaoka to Niigata section electrified in 1962, the same year the Takasaki to Yokokawa section was commissioned to facilitate the extension to Nagano the following year via the new adhesion line through the Usui Pass mentioned above. The Nagano to Naoetsu section was electrified in 1966, and extended to Miyauchi in 1969.
Former connecting lines
(Note - since 1997 the stations below between Karuizawa and Nagano are part of the Shinano Railway Line)
- Karuizawa Station: The Kusatsu Light Railway Co. opened a 56 km 762 mm (2 ft 6 in) gauge line, including two switch backs, to Kusatsu Onsen between 1915 and 1926. The line was electrified at 600 V DC in 1924. In 1950, a typhoon resulted in a bridge being swept away, and the same thing occurred in 1959, resulting in the 38 km section from Karuizawa to Joshu Mihara closing in 1960. The balance of the line closed in 1962.
- Komoro station - The Nunobiki Electric Railway Co. opened an 8km line, electrified at 600 VDC, to Shimagawara in 1926 to transport construction materials for the Makato Azuma hydro-electric power station. When that traffic finished the revenue for the line was less than 50% of interest bill alone, and it closed in 1934 amid accusations of poor management.
- Oya station - The Maruko Railway Co. opened a 7km line to its namesake town in 1918, and electrified the line at 600 VDC in 1924. The following year it opened a 5km electrified line from Oya to Ueda-Higashi. In 1944 the company merged with the Ueda Onsen Electric Railway Co. (see next entry) creating the Maruko Ueda Electric Railway Co. Both lines closed in 1969.
- Ueda station - The Ueda Onsen Electric Railway Co. opened a 13km line to Sanada, and a 3km branch from Motohara to Sochi between 1927 and 1928, both lines electrified at 1500 VDC. In 1944 the company merged with the Maruko Electric Railway Co. (see previous entry) creating the Maruko Ueda Electric Railway Co. Both lines closed in 1972.
- Yashiro station - The Kato Railway Co. opened a 24km line to Suzaka on the Nagano Electric Railway line in 1922, electrified it at 1500 VDC in January 1926, and merged with that company in September the same year. CTC signalling was commissioned on the line in 1983, but due to falling patronage the line closed in 2012.
- Nagano Station: The Zenkoji Hakuba Railway Co. opened a 7 km line to Susohana Guchi in 1936. A proposal for the line to be extended to Hakuba on the Oito Line did not eventuate, and the line closed in 1944.
- Kuroi Station: The Kubiki Railway Co. opened a 15 km 762 mm (2 ft 6 in) gauge line to Uragawara between 1914 and 1916, with the line closing in 1971.
- Raikoji Station:
The Nagaoka Railway Co. opened a 39 km line to Teradomari (on the Echigo Line) between 1915 and 1921. This company introduced Japan's first diesel railcar in 1928, and in 1951 electrified 31 km of the line at 750 V DC in 70 days, completing the balance the following year. Significant typhoon damage occurred in 1966, and in 1972, passenger services ceased between Raikoji and Nishinagaoka, with the entire line becoming freight-only three years later. The line closed in 1995.
The 13 km 762 mm (2 ft 6 in) gauge Uonuma Railway to Nishiojiya was opened in 1911, and nationalised in 1922. It was converted to 1,067 mm (3 ft 6 in) gauge in 1954, freight services ceased in 1960, and the line closed in 1984.
- Nagaoka Station: The Yukyuzan Railway Co. opened a 27 km 762 mm (2 ft 6 in) gauge line to Tochio between 1915 and 1924. The line was electrified at 600 V DC in 1948, with this being raised to 750 V DC in 1956. CTC signalling was commissioned in 1961, freight services ceased in 1967, and the line closed between 1973 and 1975.
- Higashi Sanjo Station: The Echigo Railway Co. opened the 8 km line to Echigo Nagasawa in 1927, and was nationalised two months later. Freight services ceased in 1960, and the line closed in 1985.
- Kamo Station: The Kanbara Railway Co. operated a line to Gosen on the Ban'etsu West Line from 1923 until 2002.
The Shinetsu Main Line runs roughly parallel to the route of the Hokuriku Shinkansen extension from Nagano to Kanazawa scheduled to open on 14 March 2015. With the opening of the Hokuriku Shinkansen, control of local passenger services on the sections of the Shinetsu Main Line running through Nagano and Niigata prefectures will be transferred to the following two third-sector operating companies owned primarily by the respective prefectures and municipalities.
- Shinano Railway Kita-Shinano Line (37.3 km, Nagano to Myōkō-Kōgen)
- Echigo Tokimeki Railway Myōkō Haneuma Line (37.7 km, Myōkō-Kōgen to Naoetsu)
This article incorporates material from the corresponding article in the Japanese Wikipedia.
- Harada, Katsumasa (1981). "Technological independence and progress of standardization in the Japanese railways". JETRO. Retrieved January 2, 2009.
it was eventually decided to build the track at a steep grade of 66.7/1,000
- Osano, Kagetoshi (March 2015). 北陸新幹線並行在来線各社の姿 [Guide to companies operating conventional lines alongside the Hokuriku Shinkansen]. Tetsudō Daiya Jōhō Magazine (in Japanese) (Japan: Kōtsū Shimbun) 44 (371): p.28-33.