Sotobō Line

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     Sotobō Line
E257-500.JPG
E257-500 series EMU on a Sotobō Line Wakashio limited express service, November 2006
Overview
Type Heavy rail
Locale Chiba Prefecture
Termini Chiba
Awa-Kamogawa
Stations 27
Operation
Opening 1896
Operator(s) JR East
Depot(s) Chiba
Technical
Line length 93.3 km (58.0 mi)
Track gauge 1,067 mm (3 ft 6 in)
Operating speed 110 km/h (70 mph)
Route map
鉄道路線図 JR外房線.svg

The Sotobō Line (外房線 Sotobō-sen?) is a railway line in Japan operated by the East Japan Railway Company (JR East) adjacent to the Pacific Ocean, on the eastern (i.e., outer) side of the Bōsō Peninsula. It connects Chiba Station in Chiba to Awa-Kamogawa Station in Kamogawa, passing through Ōami-Shirasato, Mobara, Chōsei, Ichinomiya, Isumi, Onjuku, and Katsuura. The line is connected to the Uchibō Line at both ends.

History[edit]

Mobara human powered line
Former human powered railcar converted to petrol engine at Ohara

The Boso Railway Co. opened the Chiba - Oami section in 1896, extending the line to Kazusa-Ichinomiya the following year and to Ohara in 1899. The company was nationalised in 1907.

The extension to Katsuura opened in 1913, to Kazusa-Okitsu in 1927 and Awa-Kamogawa in 1929.

A new tunnel and associated deviation was opened at Toke in 1954 to improve the loading gauge of the line.

The Chiba - Soga section was duplicated between 1960 and 1963, extended to Nagata between 1972 and 1974, with CTC signalling being commissioned between Soga and Awa-Kamogawa in the latter year. The duplication of the line to Kazusa-Ichinomiya was opened between 1980 and 1986, with the Onjuku - Katsuura section duplicated in 1995, and the Torami - Chojamachi section the following year.

The entire line was electrified in 1968, and freight services ceased between 1982 and 1987.

Former connecting lines[edit]

  • Mobara station - The Mobara Town Council operated a 9km, 610mm (2') gauge human powered line to Tai Muko between 1909 and 1924. The Council then decided to build a railway to connect to the Kominato Line. 12km of 1067mm (3'6") gauge line was opened as far as Okuno between 1930 and 1933, the first 6km following the human powered line alignment. Poor patronage and economic circumstances led to the line being closed in 1939.
  • Ohara station - The Chiba Prefectural Government opened a 16km, 610mm gauge human powered line to Otaki in 1912. A railcar was converted to be powered by a petrol engine in 1922. The line closed in 1927 to allow for the construction of the Isumi Line, which opened on the same alignment in 1930.

Services[edit]

Limited express and Rapid ("Commuter Rapid") services run on this line.

Tokyo - (Keiyō Line) - Soga - Awa-Kamogawa
(some operate as all-stations "Local" services between Katsuura and Awa-Kamogawa

Station list[edit]

  • Local trains stop at every station.
Station Japanese Distance (km) Rapid/
Commuter Rapid
Limited express
Wakashio
Transfers Location
(in Chiba)
Chiba 千葉 0.0 X
(to/from Tokyo on Sōbu Line (Rapid) and Yokosuka Line)
to/from Tokyo on Keiyō Line Sōbu Main Line
Chiba Urban Monorail Line 1, Line 2
Keisei Chiba Line (at Keisei Chiba)
Chūō-ku, Chiba
Hon-Chiba 本千葉 1.4  
Soga 蘇我 3.8 X X Uchibō Line, Keiyō Line (through-running)
Kamatori 鎌取 8.8 X   Midori-ku, Chiba
Honda 誉田 12.6 X  
Toke 土気 18.1 X (X)  
Ōami 大網 22.9 X X Togane Line Ōamishirasato
Nagata 永田 25.3  
Honnō 本納 27.7   Mobara
Shin-Mobara 新茂原 31.4  
Mobara 茂原 34.3 X X  
Yatsumi 八積 38.9   Chōsei
Kazusa-Ichinomiya 上総一ノ宮 43.0 X X   Ichinomiya
Torami 東浪見 46.2 X  
Taitō 太東 49.3 X   Isumi
Chōjamachi 長者町 52.1 X  
Mikado 三門 53.7 X  
Ōhara 大原 57.2 X X Isumi Line
Namihana 浪花 60.5 X  
Onjuku 御宿 65.4 X (X)   Onjuku
Katsuura 勝浦 70.9 X X   Katsuura
Ubara 鵜原 74.5    
Kazusa-Okitsu 上総興津 77.2 (X)  
Namegawa-Island 行川アイランド 80.5  
Awa-Kominato 安房小湊 84.3 X   Kamogawa
Awa-Amatsu 安房天津 87.7  
Awa-Kamogawa 安房鴨川 93.3 X Uchibō Line

Rolling stock[edit]

Former rolling stock[edit]

  • 113 series EMUs (Sotobō Line local services, until 2011)

References[edit]

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

  1. ^ "10/21, 房総211系, 営業運転開始" [Boso 211 series enter service]. Japan Railfan Magazine (in Japanese) (Japan: Koyusha Co., Ltd.) 47 (549): p.179. January 2007. 

External links[edit]