Uetsu Main Line

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Uetsu Main Line
Inaho express 2.jpg
An Inaho limited express service
Overview
Type Heavy rail
System JR East
Status Operating
Locale Niigata, Yamagata, Akita Prefectures
Termini Niitsu Station
Akita Station
Stations 61
Operation
Opening September 2, 1912
Owner JR East
Operator(s) JR East, JR Freight
Technical
Track length 274.4 km
Track gauge 1,067 mm (3 ft 6 in)
1,435 mm (4 ft 8 12 in)
Electrification 1,500 V DC, 20 kV AC 50Hz
Operating speed 120 km/h (75 mph)
Route map
JR Uetsu Line linemap.svg

The Uetsu Main Line (羽越本線 Uetsu-hon-sen?) is a railway line in the Tōhoku and Chūbu regions of Japan. Part of the East Japan Railway Company (JR East) system, it connects Niitsu Station in the city of Niigata and Akita Station in Akita. The name "Uetsu" refers to the ancient provinces of Dewa (出) and Echigo (後), which the line connects.

History[edit]

The line was opened in sections between 1912 and 1924, and electrified in 1972, the same year CTC signalling was commissioned.

Work to duplicate the line in sections commenced in 1957, and continued for 25 years until being suspended due to capital expenditure restrictions in 1983, at which time 51% of the route was duplicated, although the longest continuous duplicated section is 27.3km. In many sections the track is located on a narrow shelf between the ocean and adjacent mountains, meaning duplication often required constructing long tunnels on the inland side of the original line to accommodate the second track. The completed work includes 11 tunnels each over 1km long (the longest being 2.3km), and the suspension of works resulted in the completed tunnel between Koiwagawa and Atsumi Onsen stations remaining unused.

Former connecting lines[edit]

  • Shibata station - Plans by the Ministry of Commerce to mine an iron ore deposit in 1918 resulted in the construction of a line to service the mine. 14km had been built when construction was abandoned in 1920 following the collapse in the iron ore price. In 1925 the line was transferred to the Ministry of Railways and opened as a development line, called the Akatani Line. In 1941 the line was extended 5km to Higashiakatani to connect to the Nittetsu Mining Co railway, which operated a 4km line serving an iron ore mine until 1956. The Akatani line closed in 1984.
  • Tsuruoka station - The Shonai Electric Railway Co. operated a 12km line to Yunohama Onsen, electrified at 600 VDC, from 1929 until 1975.

Route data[edit]

Stations[edit]

Station Japanese Distance between
stations (km)
Distance
(km)
Rapid DC/AC Transfers Track Location
Niitsu 新津 - 0.0 Via Hakushin Line 1,500 V
DC
Shin'etsu Main Line, Ban'etsu West Line Akiha-ku, Niigata Niigata
Kyōgase 京ヶ瀬 6.1 6.1   Agano
Suibara 水原 4.1 10.2  
Kamiyama 神山 3.7 13.9  
Tsukioka 月岡 3.9 17.8   Shibata
Nakaura 中浦 3.7 21.5  
Shibata 新発田 4.5 26.0 Hakushin Line (some trains through to Murakami) ^
Kaji 加治 4.3 30.3  
Kanazuka 金塚 5.0 35.3  
Nakajō 中条 3.8 39.1   ^ Tainai
Hirakida 平木田 5.6 44.7  
Sakamachi 坂町 3.3 48.0 Yonesaka Line Murakami
Hirabayashi 平林 3.6 51.6  
Iwafunemachi 岩船町 3.6 55.2  
Murakami 村上 4.2 59.4   ^
Majima 間島 7.1 66.5   20 kV
AC
50 Hz
 
Echigo-Hayakawa 越後早川 4.9 71.4     ^
Kuwagawa 桑川 6.9 78.3    
Imagawa 今川 4.3 82.6    
Echigo-Kangawa 越後寒川 4.9 87.5     ^
Gatsugi 勝木 5.3 92.8    
Fuya 府屋 3.1 95.9     ^
Nezugaseki 鼠ヶ関 5.1 101.0     Tsuruoka Yamagata
Koiwagawa 小岩川 4.4 105.4    
Atsumi Onsen あつみ温泉 4.4 109.8     ^
Iragawa 五十川 5.9 115.7    
Kobato 小波渡 4.4 120.1    
Sanze 三瀬 3.1 123.2    
Uzen-Mizusawa 羽前水沢 5.7 128.9    
Uzen-Ōyama 羽前大山 4.5 133.4    
Tsuruoka 鶴岡 6.0 139.4    
Fujishima 藤島 6.6 146.0     ^
Nishibukuro 西袋 5.1 151.1     Shōnai, Higashitagawa
Amarume 余目 3.6 154.7   Rikuu West Line[* 1]
Kita-Amarume 北余目 2.7 157.4    
Sagoshi 砂越 3.0 160.4     Sakata
Higashi-Sakata 東酒田 3.3 163.7    
Sakata 酒田 3.2 166.9   JR Freight Uetsu Freight Branch Line (to Sakata-Minato)
Mototate 本楯 6.4 173.3    
Minamichōkai 南鳥海 2.6 175.9    
Yuza 遊佐 3.2 179.1     ^ Yuza, Akumi
Fukura 吹浦 7.0 186.1    
Mega 女鹿 3.6 189.7    
Kosagawa 小砂川 5.1 194.8     Nikaho Akita
Kamihama 上浜 3.7 198.5    
Kisakata 象潟 4.9 203.4    
Konoura 金浦 5.8 209.2     ^
Nikaho 仁賀保 5.5 214.7    
Nishime 西目 8.4 223.1     ^ Yurihonjō
Ugo-Honjō 羽後本荘 5.8 228.9 Yuri Kōgen Railway Chōkai Sanroku Line
Ugo-Iwaya 羽後岩谷 7.1 236.0  
Oriwatari 折渡 4.7 240.7  
Ugo-Kameda 羽後亀田 3.0 243.7  
Iwaki-Minato 岩城みなと 6.5 250.2  
Michikawa 道川 1.6 251.8   ^
Shimohama 下浜 6.6 258.4   Akita
Katsurane 桂根 3.4 261.7  
Araya 新屋 4.0 265.7  
Ugo-Ushijima 羽後牛島 3.3 269.0  
Akita 秋田 2.7 271.7 Akita Shinkansen, Ōu Main Line, Oga Line[* 2] ^
  1. ^ Most trains from Rikuu West Line terminate at Sakata Station
  2. ^ The official beginning of the Oga Line is at Oiwake Station, but all trains terminate at Akita Station.

Symbols:

  • | - Single-track
  • ◇ - Single-track; station where trains can pass
  • ^ - Double-track section starts from this point
  • ∥ - Double-track
  • ∨ - Single-track section starts from this point

Accidents[edit]

On December 25, 2005, all six cars of a limited express train Inaho No.14 on the Uetsu Line derailed in Yamagata prefecture, about 350 kilometres (220 mi) north of Tokyo. The train was headed south towards Kita-Amarume Station. Three of the cars turned over, causing the deaths of five people and injuring 33 others. Three other persons were originally reported missing, but authorities later discovered that they had disembarked from the train before the accident.

References[edit]

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

  • JR全線全駅ステーション倶楽部編(上) [Complete JR Line/Station Compendium (Vol. 1)] (in Japanese). Tokyo, Japan: Bunshun Bunko. September 1988. p. pp 236-248. ISBN 4-16-748701-2.