Minato Line

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Minato Line
Hitachinaka Kiha3710 New Color 20100322.JPG
A pair of KiHa 3710 diesel railcars in March 2010
Native name 湊線
Locale Ibaraki Prefecture
Termini Katsuta
Stations 9
Opened 1913
Owner Hitachinaka Seaside Railway
Depot(s) Nakaminato
Line length 14.3 km (8.9 mi)
No. of tracks Single
Track gauge 1,067 mm (3 ft 6 in)
Minimum radius 200 m
Electrification None
Operating speed 60 km/h (35 mph)

The Minato Line (湊線 Minato-sen?) is a 14.3 km Japanese railway line operated by the third-sector railway operator Hitachinaka Seaside Railway (ひたちなか海浜鉄道 Hitachinaka Kaihin Tetsudō?) between Katsuta and Ajigaura, all within Hitachinaka, Ibaraki. It is the only railway line operated by the Hitachinaka Seaside Railway. The line was formerly operated by Ibaraki Kōtsū until 2008.


Train services are normally formed of single-car diesel units, increased to two-car formations during the morning peak.[1]


Name Between (km) Distance (km) Connections Location
Katsuta 勝田 - 0.0 Jōban Line Hitachinaka, Ibaraki
Nikkōmae 日工前 0.6 0.6  
Kaneage [金上 1.2 1.8  
Nakane 中根 3.0 4.8  
Takadano-tekkyō 高田の鉄橋 2.3 7.1  
Nakaminato 那珂湊 1.1 8.2  
Tonoyama 殿山 1.4 9.6  
Hiraiso 平磯 1.2 10.8  
Isozaki 磯崎 2.5 13.3  
Ajigaura 阿字ヶ浦 1.0 14.3  

Takadano-tekkyō Station opened on 1 October 2014, the first new station on the line in 52 years, after the opening of Nikkōmae in April 1962.[2]

Rolling stock[edit]

As of 1 April 2015, the railway operates a fleet of eight single-car diesel railcars, as follows.[3]

  • KiHa 20 x1 (car number 205, former Mizushima Rinkai Railway KiHa 20, same as JNR KiHa 20)
  • KiHa 22 x1 (car number 222, former Haboro Mining Railway KiHa 22, same as JNR KiHa 22)
  • MiKi 300 x1 (car number 300-103, former Miki Railway MiKi 300)
  • KiHa 2000 x2 (car numbers 2004 and 2005, former Rumoi Railway KiHa 2000, as JNR KiHa 22)
  • KiHa 3710 x2 (car numbers 3710-01 and 3710-02)
  • KiHa 37100 x1 (car number 37100-03)

In April 2015, three former JR Central KiHa 11 diesel cars, KiHa 11-123/203/204, were sold to the Hitachinaka Kaihin Railway.[4] Two more KiHa 11-200 series cars, formerly owned by Tokai Transport Service Company (TKJ) in Aichi Prefecture, are scheduled to be purchased by the Hitachinaka Kaihin Railway between 2015 and 2016.[5] Of these, KiHa 11-201 was moved by road to the Hitachinaka Kaihin Railway in September 2015.[6]


Trackbed damaged by the March 2011 Great East Japan earthquake

The Minato Railway (湊鉄道 Minato Tetsudō?) was established on 18 November 1907, and the line was opened from Katsuta to Nakaminato on 25 December 1913, using steam haulage.[1] The entire line to Ajigaura was completed on 17 July 1928.[1] From 1 August 1944, the line was taken over by Ibaraki Kōtsū (茨城交通?), becoming the Ibaraki Kōtsū Minato Line.[1]

The Minato Line was the only railway line operated by Ibaraki Kōtsū, whose main business was bus transport. Because of its severe financial situation, Ibaraki Kōtsū decided to withdraw from railway operation. In September 2007, Ibaraki Kōtsū and the city of Hitachinaka agreed to transfer the line to a third-sector (funded jointly by local government and private sector) company, later incorporated as Hitachinaka Seaside Railway. From 1 April 2008, the line became the Hitachinaka Seaside Railway Minato Line.[1]

From 6 April 2010, all train services became wanman driver-only operation.[1]

The line was damaged by the 11 March 2011 Great East Japan earthquake, but the entire line was reopened for business from 23 July of the same year.[1]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d e f g Terada, Hirokazu (19 January 2013). データブック日本の私鉄 [Databook: Japan's Private Railways]. Japan: Neko Publishing. p. 39. ISBN 978-4-7770-1336-4. 
  2. ^ 湊線新駅「高田の鉄橋」駅開業 [New Takadano-tekkyō Station opens on Hitachinaka Seaside Railway]. RM News (in Japanese). Japan: Neko Publishing Co., Ltd. 1 October 2014. Retrieved 1 October 2014. 
  3. ^ 私鉄車両編成表 2015 [Private Railway Rolling Stock Formations - 2015] (in Japanese). Japan: Kotsu Shimbunsha. 23 July 2015. p. 18. ISBN 978-4-330-58415-7. 
  4. ^ もとJR東海キハ11形が湊機関区へ [Former JR Central KiHa 11s moved to Minato Depot]. Japan Railfan Magazine Online (in Japanese). Japan: Koyusha Co., Ltd. 1 May 2015. Retrieved 28 September 2015. 
  5. ^ 営業車両の購入について [Purchase of new passenger rolling stock] (in Japanese). Japan: Tokai Transport Service Company. September 2015. Retrieved 28 September 2015. 
  6. ^ 東海交通事業キハ11-201が,ひたちなか海浜鉄道へ [TKJ KiHa 11-201 moved to Hitachinaka Kaihin Railway]. Japan Railfan Magazine Online (in Japanese). Japan: Koyusha Co., Ltd. 28 September 2015. Retrieved 28 September 2015. 

External links[edit]