KiHa 200 diesel cars on the Kominato Line
|Line length||39.1 km (24.3 mi)|
|Number of tracks||Single|
|Track gauge||1,067 mm (3 ft 6 in)|
The Kominato Line (小湊鉄道線 Kominato Tetsudō sen?) is a railway line in Chiba Prefecture, Japan, operated by the third-sector Kominato Railway (小湊鐵道 Kominato tetsudō?). It extends from the west coast of central Bōsō Peninsula (where it connects with the Uchibō Line at Goi to Kazusa-Nakano in the town of Ōtaki (where it connects to the Isumi Line). All of its stations with the exception of the Kazusa-Nakano terminus are within the city of Ichihara. Diesel cars manufactured between 1961 and 1977 run through the scenic hilly areas of Bōsō Peninsula, and the line has many antique station buildings.
|Goi||五井||0.0||Uchibō Line||Ichihara||Chiba Prefecture|
- All trains stop at every station.
From 15 November 2015, a Satoyama Torokko (里山トロッコ?) open-sided tourist train hauled by a replica steam locomotive powered by a diesel engine entered service on the line, operating generally at weekends only. The train consists of four coaches, two of which have open sides, with a total capacity of 144 passengers. It is hauled by diesel locomotive number DB4, a replica of a German Orenstein & Koppel-built steam locomotive formerly operated on the line from 1924 until the 1940s, powered by a Volvo diesel engine.
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Plans for a railroad bisecting the Bōsō Peninsula were drafted by the Railway Ministry in the Meiji period, with the aim of connecting the town of Kominato (now part of Kamogawa City), a town facing the Pacific and famous as the birthplace of Nichiren, for economic and military reasons. However, due to lack of profitability of other lines in the area, the idea was shelved.
The project was revived in 1917 by noted entrepreneur Yasuda Zenjirō, who used the financial resources of the Yasuda zaibatsu to fund over half of the construction costs, and who imported two steam locomotives from the Baldwin Locomotive Works in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania to run on the new line.
On 7 March 1925, the first stage of construction from Goi to Satomi was completed. The line was extended to Tsukizaki on 1 September 1926 and reached its present eastern terminus at Kazusa-Nakano on 16 May 1928. At Kazusa-Nakano, the line connected with the Japanese Government Railways Kihara Line, which provided a route to the eastern shore of the Bōsō Peninsula and so plans to extend the line further to Kominato Town were subsequently abandoned.
In 1942, the line was forced to merge with the Keisei Electric Railway, and remained a subsidiary of that company after the end of World War II. On 21 March 1962, its old steam locomotives were retired (and are currently on display at Goi Station). Freight operations were phased out by 1 October 1969. A new ATS was installed in early 1995. On 12 April 2006, heavy rains washed away a portion of the tracks between Kazusa-Nakano and Yōrōkeikoku, leading to a two-month disruption in services.
- 私鉄車両編成表 2015 [Private Railway Rolling Stock Formations - 2015] (in Japanese). Japan: Kotsu Shimbunsha. 23 July 2015. p. 22. ISBN 978-4-330-58415-7.
- Kanemori, Takayuki (5 September 2015). 小湊鉄道：里山に再生ＳＬ ディーゼル化トロッコがけん引 [Kominato Railway to run diesel-hauled open-sided train]. Mainichi Shimbun (in Japanese). Japan: The Mainichi Newspapers. Retrieved 10 September 2015.
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- Official website (Japanese)