200 series approaching Gala-Yuzawa Station (January 2006)
|Rolling stock||E2 series, E4 series|
|Line length||1.8 km (1.1 mi)|
|Track gauge||1,435 mm (4 ft 8 1⁄2 in)|
|Electrification||25 kV AC 50 Hz overhead catenary|
The standard gauge line is a short (1.8 km) branch line that extends from Echigo-Yuzawa Station on the Jōetsu Shinkansen to Gala-Yuzawa Station, but is officially classified as a branch of the (narrow gauge) Jōetsu Line. The line has no intermediate stations.
Gala-Yuzawa Station serves the nearby ski resort Gala Yuzawa (ski lifts operate directly from the station), so the station is only used during the winter period. During the skiing season, Tanigawa services from Tokyo are extended to run to Gala-Yuzawa. All trains on the line are classified as "limited express", so a limited express surcharge is required.
The branchline was originally built for maintenance purposes, but was upgraded for passenger service from 20 December 1990 when JR East developed the ski resort. Outside the winter season, the line is used for switching trains terminating at and departing from Echigo-Yuzawa Station.
- Hakata-Minami Line, another Shinkansen-style non-Shinkansen line
- "新幹線なのに在来線" [Conventional lines that are also shinkansen]. Japan Railfan Magazine. No. 467. Japan: Koyusha Co., Ltd. March 2000. pp. 66–67.