Kurobe Senyō Railway

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A train at Keyakidaira-Jōbu Station

The Kurobe Senyō Railway (黒部専用鉄道 Kurobe Sen'yō Tetsudō?, "Kurobe Industrial Railway") is a Japanese, 762 mm (2 ft 6 in) narrow gauge industrial railway line in Toyama Prefecture, operated by Kansai Electric Power Company. There are two lines, namely Jōbu Track (上部軌道 Jōbu Kidō?) and Kuronagi Branch Line (黒薙支線 Kuronagi Shisen?). The two lines go to hydroelectric power plants of Kurobe River. These lines are basically not open to public. This article is mainly about Jōbu Track.

Overview[edit]

The "High Temperature Tunnel" between Asohara and Sennindani

Jōbu Track runs from Keyakidaira-Jōbu to Kurobegawa No.4 Power Station-mae, and is a part of Kurobe Route, an industrial transportation route between Keyakidaira and Kurobe dam. From Keyakidaira, Kurobe Gorge Railway Main Line runs to Unazuki neighbouring Unazukionsen of Toyama Chihō Railway Main Line. As a counterpart the tunnels are divided into 42 parts by the Jōbu Track (literally meaning "Upper Track"), Kurobe Gorge Railway Main Line is sometimes called Kabu Track (下部軌道 Kabu Kidō?, "Lower Track").

The section between Keyakidaira and Sennindani was built in 1941 for the construction of Kurobegawa No.3 Power Station. The section between Sennindani and Kurobegawa No.4 Power Station-mae was built in 1963, for the construction of the said power station.

The construction of the section called High Temperature Tunnel (高熱隧道 Kōnetsu Zuidō?) was difficult. The temperature of rocks there was 160 °C (320 °F) at the time. It is now cooled off to 40 °C (104 °F).

Basic data[edit]

This is the data of Jōbu Track.

  • Distance: 6.4 km
  • Gauge: 762 mm (2 ft 6 in)
  • Stations: 6
  • Track: Single
  • Power: Battery

Stations[edit]

Those in italics are not treated as "stations", but are merely depots. All stations are located in Kurobe, Toyama, except of Kurobegawa No.4 Power Station-mae, which is located in Tateyama, Toyama.

  • Keyakidaira-Jōbu (欅平上部?, "Upper Keyakidaira"): Altitude 800 m. Linked to Keyakidaira-Kabu (altitude 599m) by an elevator. Keyakidaira-Kabu is virtually the same station as Keyakidaira, Kurobe Gorge Railway Main Line.
  • Shiaidani (志合谷?)
  • Oriodani (折尾谷?)
  • Asohara (阿曽原?)
  • Sennindani (仙人谷?)
  • Kurobegawa No.4 Power Station-mae (黒部川第四発電所前 Kurobegawa Dai-yon Hatsudensho-mae?): Altitude 869 m (2,851 ft). Linked to Incline-Jōbu (altitude 1325m) by a funicular.

Services[edit]

An elevator linking Keyakidaira-Jōbu and Keyakidaira-Kabu
A timetable and a route map, shown at Keyakidaira-Jōbu Station
View inside Kurobe Tunnel, the bus tunnel connecting Jōbu Incline with Kurobe Dam, during a study tour

A battery locomotive tows small freight/passenger cabs, a few times a day. Battery locomotives are used because the High Temperature Tunnel may flash off the fuels of engines. Unlike Kurobe Gorge Railway which closes during winter, Jōbu Track operates whole year. This is because the line is almost entirely under a tunnel, so it is not affected by heavy snow.

The actual operation is done by Kurobe Gorge Railway Company, a wholly owned subsidiary of Kansai Electric Power Company.

A Kurobe Route carriage from Keyakidaira Station, Kurobe Gorge Railway Main Line, runs a short industrial railway line to Keyakidaira-Kabu Station, just 500 m (1,640 ft) away from Keyakidaira. From there, a large elevator takes a carriage to Keyakidaira-Jōbu Station, 200 m (656 ft) above. The elevator was made in 1939 by Otis Elevator Company. It is the elevator with the largest maximum loading capacity in Japan, 4.5 t (4.4 long tons; 5.0 short tons). Kurobe Senyō Railway (Jōbu Track) begins from Keyakidaira-Jōbu Station, to Kurobegawa No.4 Power Station-mae Station. From there, a funicular (incline) goes to Incline Jōbu Station, 456 m (1,496 ft) above. Kurobe Tunnel (for a bus) links Incline Jōbu Station and Kurobe Dam Station of Kanden Tunnel Trolleybus, 10.3 km (6.4 mi) away.

Kurobe Route, including the Jōbu Track, is basically not open to public. However, from 1996, participants of a study tour are allowed to take the route. Visitors have to book in advance. In most cases, there are more applicants than the limit, so they have to win a lottery to join the tour. In 2007, they had 34 tours with 2040 participants in total. For each tour, applicants were 2 to 8 times more than the limit.

Kuronagi Branch Line[edit]

Kuronagi Branch Line runs between Kuronagi (黒薙?) of Kurobe Gorge Railway Main Line and Kuronagi No.2 Power Station (黒薙第二発電所 Kuronagi Dai-ni Hatsudensho?), roughly 1.3 km (0.8 mi) away. The line has very infrequent services. As such, tourists going to the nearby Kuronagi Onsen (黒薙温泉?) can walk on the line track (tunnel) with permission by a Kuronagi Station attendant. Unlike the Jōbu Track, the line is not entirely under a tunnel.

See also[edit]

External links[edit]