Nemuro Main Line

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Nemuro Line
JR Hokkaido Nemuro Line 001.JPG
A KiHa 283 series DMU between Shakubetsu and Ombetsu
Overview
TypeRegional rail
LocaleHokkaido
TerminiTakikawa
Nemuro
Stations68
Operation
Opened1901
OwnerJR Hokkaido
Technical
Line length443.8 km (275.8 mi)
Track gauge1,067 mm (3 ft 6 in)
ElectrificationNone
Route map
JR Nemuro Main Line linemap.svg

Nemuro Main Line (根室本線, Nemuro Honsen) is a railway line in Hokkaido operated by Hokkaido Railway Company (JR Hokkaido), connecting Takikawa Station in Takikawa and Nemuro Station in Nemuro, including Obihiro and Kushiro. Higashi-Nemuro is the most easterly situated station on the Japanese rail system.

On 19 November 2016, JR Hokkaido's President announced plans to rationalise the network by up to 1,237 km, or ~50% of the current network,[1] including closure of the Nemuro Line between Furano and Kami-Ochiai Junction. The section between Kushiro and Nemuro is proposed for conversion to Third Sector operation, but if local governments are not agreeable, such sections will also face closure.

Services[edit]

Super Ōzora limited express train
A KiHa 40-700 DMU on a local service

The line is roughly divided into three segments. The segment between Takikawa and Shintoku is now a quiet local line. The rapid train Karikachi (狩勝) runs twice a day, and there is one local train service every 1 to 2 hours.

The segment between Shintoku and Kushiro remains a part of the important trunk route between Sapporo and eastern Hokkaido. The limited express train Super Ozora runs between Sapporo and Kushiro six times a day, while the Super Tokachi runs twice a day, Tokachi four times a day, both between Sapporo and Obihiro. There is one local train service every 1 to 2 hours.

The segment between Kushiro and Nemuro is again a quiet local line. This segment has the official nickname Hanasaki Line (花咲線, Hanasaki-sen). There are two rapid trains Nosappu (ノサップ) and Hanasaki (はなさき) which run once a day each. Other than that, there is one local train service every 2 to 3 hours.

Stations[edit]

LE: Limited express
R: Rapid
All trains stop at stations signed "+". Some trains stop at "*". No trains (other than local) stop at "-".
No. Station name Japanese Distance (km) LE R Transfers Location (all in Hokkaido)
 A21  Takikawa 滝川 0.0 + Hakodate Main Line Takikawa
 T22  Higashi-Takikawa 東滝川 7.2 -
 T23  Akabira 赤平 13.7 + Akabira
 T24  Moshiri 茂尻 17.2 *
 T25  Hiragishi 平岸 20.7 -
 T26  Ashibetsu 芦別 26.6 + Ashibetsu
 T27  Kami-Ashibetsu 上芦別 30.5 *
 T28  Nokanan 野花南 35.2 *
 T29  Shimanoshita 島ノ下 49.1 - Furano
 T30  Furano 富良野 54.6 + Furano-Shintoku rapid Furano Line
 T31  Nunobe 布部 60.9 *
 T32  Yamabe 山部 66.7 +
 T33  Shimo-Kanayama 下金山 74.7 * Minamifurano, Sorachi
 T34  Kanayama 金山 81.6 *
 T35  Higashi-Shikagoe 東鹿越 94.8 *
 T36  Ikutora 幾寅 98.8 + Furano-Shintoku rapid
 T37  Ochiai 落合 108.2 *
Kami-Ochiai Junction 上落合(信) 112.2 -
 K23  Shintoku 新得 136.3 + + Furano-Shintoku rapid Sekishō Line Shintoku, Kamikawa
 K24  Tokachi-Shimizu 十勝清水 145.4 * + Shimizu, Kamikawa
 K25  Haobi 羽帯 152.9 - -
 K26  Mikage 御影 155.9 - *
 K27  Memuro 芽室 166.5 * + Memuro, Kasai
 K28  Taisei 大成 168.6 - -
 K29  Nishi-Obihiro 西帯広 173.4 - * Obihiro
 K30  Hakurindai 柏林台 176.6 - -
 K31  Obihiro 帯広 180.1 + +
 K32  Satsunai 札内 184.9 - Makubetsu, Nakagawa
 K33  Inashibetsu 稲士別 188.5 -
 K34  Makubetsu 幕別 194.3 -
 K35  Toshibetsu 利別 200.8 - Ikeda, Nakagawa
 K36  Ikeda 池田 204.3 +
 K37  Tōfutsu 十弗 212.8 - Toyokoro, Nakagawa
 K38  Toyokoro 豊頃 218.2 -
 K39  Shin-Yoshino 新吉野 225.3 - Urahoro, Tokachi
 K40  Urahoro 浦幌 231.7 *
 K41  Kami-Atsunai 上厚内 243.5 -
 K42  Atsunai 厚内 250.1 -
 K43  Chokubetsu(closed) 直別 257.3 - Kushiro
 K44  Shakubetsu(closed) 尺別 261.3 -
 K45  Onbetsu 音別 265.1 -
 K46  Furuse 古瀬 274.8 - Shiranuka, Shiranuka
 K47  Shiranuka 白糠 281.1 *
 K48  Nishi-Shoro 西庶路 286.5 -
 K49  Shoro 庶路 288.6 -
 K50  Otanoshike 大楽毛 299.0 - Kushiro
 K51  Shin-Otanoshike 新大楽毛 300.8 -
 K52  Shin-Fuji 新富士 305.7 -
 K53  Kushiro 釧路 308.4 + +
 B54  Higashi-Kushiro 東釧路 311.3 * Senmō Main Line
Musa 武佐 312.5 *
Beppo 別保 317.0 * Kushiro Town, Kushiro
Kami-Oboro 上尾幌 331.7 * Akkeshi, Akkeshi
Oboro 尾幌 340.9 -
Monshizu 門静 350.1 -
Akkeshi 厚岸 355.0 +
Itoizawa 糸魚沢 365.6 -
Chanai 茶内 375.2 + Hamanaka, Akkeshi
Hamanaka 浜中 382.2 +
Anebetsu 姉別 392.3 -
Attoko 厚床 398.9 + Nemuro
Hattaushi 初田牛 406.0 -
Bettoga 別当賀 414.5 -
Ochiishi 落石 424.8 *
Konbumori 昆布盛 428.8 -
Nishi-Wada 西和田 433.6 -
Hanasaki 花咲 438.2 -
Higashi-Nemuro 東根室 442.3 -
Nemuro 根室 443.8 +

History[edit]

The line was built as a link line between central and eastern Hokkaido, by Hokkaido Government Railway (北海道官設鉄道, Hokkaidō Kansetsu Tetsudō). The first section, originally included as part of the Nemuro Line, become classified as the Furano Line in 1913.

The first section of the current Nemuro Line was opened between Kushiro - Shiranuka in 1901. The line was extended westward, reaching Furano in 1907. In 1913 the Furano - Takikawa section opened, shortening the route by 53.5 km.

The first section of the line east of Kushiro opened in 1917, reaching Nemuro in 1921.

In 1966, two major deviations opened, the first, east of Kanayama, associated with the construction of the Kanayama Dam, and the second between Ochiai and Shintoku, including the 5,790 m Shinkarikachi tunnel allowing the line to bypass the 1907 Karikachi tunnel and associated 1 in 40 (2.5%) grades.

In 1981, the Sekishō Line opened between Shin-Yubari and Shintoku, becoming the main route between central and southeastern Hokkaido and shortening the distance for stations east of Shintoku to Sapporo by 43.4 km.

In 1990, a new tunnel and associated alignment opened near Atsunai, and a deviation near Shimanoshita associated with the construction of the Takisato Dam was opened in 1991.

On 16th of March 2019, Chokubetsu Station and Shakubetsu Station were closed and became signal points.[2]

Service augmentations[edit]

In 1911, 1st class sleeping accommodation was included on the Hakodate to Kushiro train, and a dining car was added from 1916.

In 1971, a refrigerated container train was introduced between Kushiro and Tokyo.

Former connecting lines[edit]

Taushubetsu bridge on the former Tokachi Mitsuma line

Ashibetsu area[edit]

  • Ashibetsu station - The Mitsui Mining Co. opened a 10 km line to Tamagawa in 1940/45. A 3 car DMU provided a passenger service 1958-72. The line closed in 1989.
  • Kamiashibetsu station -

The Mitsubishi Mining Co. opened an 8 km line to Penke Sanko in 1949, and a 1 km branch to the Yuya mine in 1954. Both closed with the mine in 1964.

A 762 mm (2'6") gauge logging tramway was operated from Kamiashibetsu commencing 1934. By 1954 it had a 31 km 'main line' and 5 branches totalling 44 km. The lines closed 1961 when log trucks replaced the tramway.

Shintoku area[edit]

Wagon used on the Kamishihoro line
  • Shintoku station - A private 54 km line operated to Kamishihoro, where it connected to the JR Shihoro line (see below). Opened 1928/31, it closed beyond Urimaku in 1949. The remaining 29 km section closed 1968. The Tokachi - Bandaibashi line (see below) crossed the line twice.
  • Tokachi station - A 29 km 762mm line built to haul sugar beets operated to Bandaibashi opened between 1925 and 1928, with 4 branches totalling 28 km. The lines closed in 1951.

Obihiro area[edit]

Former Chihoku line, 2006
  • Obihiro station -

The 78 km Shihoro line to Tokachi Mitsuma opened in sections between 1925 and 1939. An 18 km deviation built in association with the Nukabira Dam opened in 1955. The line closed in 1987.

The 84 km Hiroo line opened between 1929 & 1932 and was closed in 1987. A proposal to extend the line to Samani and connect to the Hidaka Main Line did not eventuate.

A 4 km private 1067mm (3'6") line connected a sugar beet factory to Obihiro. The sugar beets were transported to the factory by a 3 line 762mm gauge network totalling 59 km, which operated 1924-77.

  • Ikeda station - The 140 km Chihoku line was the original line to Abashiri and connected to the Sekihoku Main Line at Kitami, opening 1910/12. It was transferred to private operation in 1989, and closed 2006.

Shakubetsu - Higashi-Kushiro section[edit]

Shimokita Susumu station in winter
  • Shakubetsu station - The Mitsubishi Mining Co. opened an 11 km 762mm gauge line to Sumiyama in 1920. The line was re-gauged to 1067mm in 1942 and closed with the mine in 1970.
  • Shiranuka station - A 25 km line to Kamicharo opened in 1964, and was extended 8 km to Shimokita Susumu in 1972. The line closed in 1983.
  • Shinfuji station - A 29 km 762mm gauge horse-drawn tramway was opened to Nakasetsuri in 1929. A charcoal gas powered locomotive was introduced in 1941, and a 19 km branch to Shinhororo opened in 1943. The lines closed in 1967/68.
  • Kushiro station - The Mitsubishi Mining Co. also operated a 44 km line from Kushiro - Yubetsu Sumiyama, opened 1923/26 and closed with the mine in 1970. It also connected to the Nemuro line at Shinfuji, where a 2 km line connecting to a wharf operated 1951-84, ownership of it transferring to the Kushiro Port Co in 1970.
  • Higashi Kushiro station - The Pacific Ocean Coal Co. opened a 6 km line from a coal mine at Harutori to Irifune-cho wharf in 1926/27, with a 3 km line connecting the mine to Higashi-Kushiro opening in 1928. Passenger services ceased in 1963, and the line was truncated 2 km in 1966 when a new coal loading wharf opened. The Higashi-Kushiro - Harutori section closed in 1986, with the remaining 4 km Taiheiyo line continuing to operate as the only remaining colliery line in Japan.

Hamanaka - Nemuro section[edit]

1963 railcar from the Shibetsu development lines
  • Hamanaka station - The Hamanaka Prefectural Government operated a 762mm gauge network of 3 lines totalling 27 km opened between 1929 and 1932, closing 1972.
  • Attoko station - In 1925 a horse drawn 762mm tramway opened to Nakashibetsu, being replaced by a 1067mm line in 1933, which closed in 1989. It connected to a branch from Shibecha (on the Senmo Main Line) to Shibetsu which operated between 1936 and 1989, the two branches being known collectively as the Shibetsu Line. A total of 9 separate 762mm gauge development lines connected to stations long the Shibetsu Line were built between 1930 and 1963, the last closing in 1971.
  • Nemuro - A 15 km 762mm gauge line operated to Habomai between 1929 and 1959 to transport kelp to the Nemuro port (located about 1 km from the Nemuro JR station), being the most easterly railway in Japan. A proposed 7 km extension to Cape Nosappu was not built.

See also[edit]

References[edit]

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

  1. ^ "JR Hokkaido says it can't maintain half of its railways". The Japan Times. 19 November 2016. Archived from the original on 2 February 2017.
  2. ^ "2019年3月ダイヤ改正について" [About March 2019 schedule revision] (PDF). JR Hokkaido (in Japanese). 14 December 2018. Archived from the original (PDF) on 14 December 2018.