MR-600 series diesel railcar
|Line length||93.9 km (58.3 mi)|
|Track gauge||1,067 mm (3 ft 6 in)|
The Nishi-Kyushu Line (西九州線 Nishi-Kyūshū-sen?) is a Japanese railway line operated by the private railway operator Matsuura Railway, which connects Arita in Saga Prefecture with Sasebo in Nagasaki Prefecture. This is the westernmost railway line in Japan, with Tabira-Hiradoguchi Station being the westernmost station
The Kansai Coal Mining Co. opened a 12 km, 2 ft 6 in (762 mm) gauge line from Sasaki to Sechihara via Yoshii in 1896.
The 1,067 mm (3 ft 6 in) Arita - Imari section of the line was opened on 7 August 1898 by the Imari Railway (伊万里鉄道 Imari Tetsudō?), which merged with the Kyushu Railway in December of the same year. In 1907, the line was nationalised, becoming the Imari Line (伊万里線 Imari-sen?). The line was extended to Imabuku in 1930, Matsuura in 1933, Tabira-Hiradoguchi in 1935, and Senryugataki in 1939.
The then isolated Hidariishi - Ainoura section was opened as a 2 ft 6 in (762 mm) gauge line by the Sasebo Light Railway (佐世保軽便鉄道 Sasebo Keibin Tetsudō?) for coal transportation on 27 March 1920, and extended to Kami-Sasebo the following year. In 1931, it was extended to Sasaki, with the company acquiring the Kansai Coal line to Sechihara in 1933 and passenger services to Yoshii commencing in 1934. A connection to Sasebo opened in 1935, and the company was nationalised in October 1936. Between 1943 and 1944, the line was regauged to 1,067 mm (3 ft 6 in), with a new alignment opened in March 1945, linking the two sections.
Former connecting lines
- Yoshii Station: The 7 km Sechibaru line to Sechihara, opened by the Kansai Coal Mining Co. as a 2 ft 6 in (762 mm) gauge line in 1896, was nationalised and regauged at the same time as the main line, and closed in 1971.
- Sasaki Station: The 4 km line to Usunoura was opened by the Sasebo Light Railway for coal transportation in 1931. It was also nationalised and regauged at the same time as the main line, and closed in 1971.
- Hidariishi Station: The 4 km Yunoki line to 'Upper' Sasebo (later Yuzuki) opened in 1921 as a 2 ft 6 in (762 mm) gauge line, became a branch with the opening of the direct line to Sasebo in 1935, was regauged in 1943 and remained in service until flood damage closed it in 1967.
- Sasebo station - A 5 km line to a US Forces Japan oil storage facility operated between 1950 and 1978.
- ●: Stops |: Does not stop
Rapid Service: Down trains (to Sasebo) operate between Saza and Sasebo. Up trains (from Sasebo) operate between Sasebo and Tabira-Hiradoguchi.
This article incorporates material from the corresponding article in the Japanese Wikipedia
- Matsuura Railway official website (Japanese)