|Dates of operation||1883–1906|
|Successor||Japanese Government Railways|
|Track gauge||3 ft 6 in (1,067 mm)|
|Length||860.8 miles (1906)|
Nippon Railway (日本鉄道 Nippon Tetsudō?) was the first private railway company in the history of Japan. The company built trunk lines connecting Tokyo with the Tōhoku region to the northeast. Most of its lines came under the control of Japanese Government Railways following nationalization in 1906, and many are now operated by East Japan Railway Company.
The company was incorporated in 1881 as the first privately funded railway company in Japan, where the railways had been built only by the imperial government since early 1870s. If, however, the definition of "railway" includes horsecars, Nippon Railway is behind Tokyo Bashatetsudō, established in 1880 as the first private railway in Japan.
Major investors to the company were kazoku, led by the highest-class court noble Iwakura Tomomi. The company, incorporated to help expansion of national railway network in line with the national policy, received strong support from the government, both technically and financially.
The company expanded the railway by means of both construction and acquisition of other companies. As of 1906, it operated 860.8 miles (1,385.3 km) of railways including the present-day Tōhoku Main Line, Jōban Line, Takasaki Line and Yamanote Line.
On November 1, 1906, the entire operation of the company was purchased by the government of Japan under the Railway Nationalization Act. Consequently, the company was dissolved.
List of lines
(designated after nationalization)
|Ueno – Aomori||456.9||Tōhoku Main Line|
|Nippori – Mikawashima||0.8||Jōban Line|
|Ōmiya – Maebashi||52.5||Takasaki Line, Ryōmō Line|
|Oyama – Maebashi||50.9||Ryōmō Line|
|Oyama – Tomobe||31.4||Mito Line|
|Tabata – Iwanuma||213.6||Jōban Line|
|Tabata – Ikebukuro||3.3||Yamanote Line|
|Shinagawa – Akabane||13.0||Yamanote Line, Akabane Line|
|Utsunomiya – Nikkō||25.0||Nikkō Line|
|Iwakiri – Shiogama||4.3||Shiogama Line|
|Shiriuchi (present-day Hachinohe) – Minato||5.1||Hachinohe Line|
|Ueno – Akihabara||1.2||Tōhoku Main Line||Freight|
|Mikawashima – Sumidagawa||2.0||Jōban Line||Freight|
|Mito – Nakagawa||0.8||Jōban Line||Freight|
|Freight cars etc.|
- Ishino, p. 323, vol. I
- Free, Early Japanese Railways 1853–1914: Engineering Triumphs That Transformed Meiji-era Japan, Tuttle Publishing, 2008 (ISBN 4805310065)
- Ishino, p. 324, vol. I
- Wakuda, p. 64