Seibu Railway

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Seibu Railway Co., Ltd.
Native name
Company typePrivate KK
IndustryPrivate railroad
FoundedDecember 21, 1894
1-1-1 Kusunokidai, Tokorozawa-shi, Saitama-ken
Area served
Tokyo and Saitama Prefectures, Japan
Key people
President: Takashi Goto
Servicespassenger railways
other related services
OwnerSeibu Holdings (100%)
Number of employees
3,289 (as of the end of 2004)

Seibu Railway Company, Ltd. (西武鉄道株式会社, Seibu Tetsudō Kabushiki-gaisha) is a conglomerate based in Tokorozawa, Saitama, Japan, with principal business areas in railways, tourism, and real estate. Seibu Railway's operations are concentrated in northwest Tokyo and Saitama Prefecture; the name "Seibu" is an abbreviation of "west Musashi", referring to the historic name for this area. It and its holding company hold shares of numerous bus, hotel and tourism operations nationwide.


"Seibu Railway" was originally the name of a tram service between Shinjuku and Ogikubo, which was transferred to the Tokyo metropolitan government in 1951 and eventually closed in 1962. The Seibu Railway was acquired in 1921 by the Kawagoe Railway, which had operated a train service between Kokubunji and Kawagoe since 1894; the merged company kept the "Seibu" name and expanded its main line to Takadanobaba, forming what is now known as the Seibu Shinjuku Line.

The current Seibu Railway is a product of a 1945 merger between the former Seibu Railway and the Musashino Railway, which was founded in 1912 to operate what is now known as the Seibu Ikebukuro Line. The merger was largely orchestrated by Yasujirō Tsutsumi, a real estate developer who opened the Tamako Railway (now the Seibu Tamako Line) in 1928, became a major shareholder in the Musashino Railway and merged the two in 1940.

In 1944, the Tokyo metropolitan government, under the administration of Shigeo Ōdachi, hired the Seibu Railway and the Musashino Railway to provide a coordinated service to transport night soil from central Tokyo to outlying disposal areas. At the time, night soil was generally transported by truck to Tokyo Bay and disposed of by dumping there, but the progress of World War II led to gasoline and personnel shortages which made this system unsustainable. The sewage service continued through the American occupation until 1951. As a result of this service cooperation, Seibu Railway merged with Musashino Railway to form the current Seibu Railway, effective in September 1945. Tokyu Group president Keita Goto had an intense personal rivalry with Tsutsumi, and unsuccessfully attempted to block both Tsutsumi's takeover of the Musashino Railway and its merger with the Seibu Railway.[1]

The former Seibu network based around Shinjuku and the former Musashino network based around Ikebukuro remain operationally separated today. In 1986, Seibu Railway moved its headquarters from the Ikebukuro area to Tokorozawa, Saitama, where the two main Seibu lines intersect.

Tsutsumi became the controlling shareholder in Seibu Railway following the merger through his holding company Kokudo Corporation. After gaining control of Seibu, Kokudo developed the Prince Hotels chain, acquired the baseball team now known as the Saitama Seibu Lions, in addition to continuing its core real estate business throughout the Tokyo area. Seibu Railway had its initial public offering on the Tokyo Stock Exchange in 1949 but remained under the control of Tsutsumi through Kokudo.

Station numbering was introduced on all Seibu Railway lines during fiscal 2012.[2]

Delisting and takeover struggle[edit]

Tsutsumi registered Seibu Railway shares owned by Kokudo in the names of various affiliated individuals, often without their permission, so that the true ownership of the company was not readily apparent.[3] Following the death of Tsutsumi in 1964, his third son Yoshiaki Tsutsumi inherited control of Kokudo and continued the practice of falsifying shareholder records. His holdings in Kokudo and Seibu led to his being deemed the "world's richest man" by Forbes magazine for four consecutive years from 1987 to 1990, with estimated net worth of $15–20 billion during the height of the Japanese asset bubble. He was arrested on securities fraud charges in March 2005.[4]

On December 21, 2005, Seibu Railway was delisted from the Tokyo Stock Exchange. A reorganization of the group, completed in February 2006, created Seibu Holdings to act as a holding company for both the railway and Prince Hotels. Cerberus Capital Management, an American investment fund, became the largest shareholder in Seibu Holdings with a 29.9% share of the new company.[1]

In late 2012 and early 2013, Cerberus proposed that Seibu Railway abolish five non-core lines, along with other restructuring measures throughout the Seibu Holdings group, but management refused to implement these changes. Cerberus then executed a tender offer to increase its stake to 35% as of June 2013, giving Cerberus the power to veto shareholder resolutions.[5] Cerberus had aimed to raise its stake to 44%, bringing it closer to an outright majority, but Seibu management engaged in a massive campaign to thwart the tender offer, including advertising within Seibu trains to passengers who owned stock. The East Japan Railway Company and several financial institutions also planned a support scheme to keep Cerberus from acquiring control of Seibu, but it was ultimately not implemented due to a lack of potential financial benefit for the investors. At the June 2013 shareholder meeting, several proposals by Cerberus were voted down, including the election of outside directors and the abolition of non-core lines.[6]

As of June 2013, Yoshiaki Tsutsumi remains a major investor in Seibu Holdings through his 36% investment in NW Corporation, the second-largest shareholder in the company with a share of around 15%. Tsutsumi refused to respond to the Cerberus tender offer at the urging of Seibu management.[6]

Railway operations[edit]

Map of Seibu network

As of June 2017, Seibu's routes total 176.6 km (109.7 mi). They fall into two separate groups. Tokorozawa Station is the crossing point of Ikebukuro Line and Shinjuku Line.

Seibu Railway is well known for its bright yellow colored trains. However, more recent trains have a blue colored line on unpainted stainless steel or aluminium bodies.

Ikebukuro Line Group[edit]

The Ikebukuro Line group includes the Ikebukuro Line and its branches.

Shinjuku Line Group[edit]

The Shinjuku Line group includes the Shinjuku Line and its branches, as well as the Tamagawa Line, which is not a branch of the Shinjuku Line but had been owned by the Shinjuku Line's operator before its merger with the Ikebukuro Line operator.

Until May 31, 2017, this list included the Ahina Line (安比奈線). Prior to the formal closure, the 3.2 km (2.0 mi) freight line between Minami-Ōtsuka Station and Ahina Station had suspended operation since 1963.[8][9]

People mover[edit]

Rolling stock[edit]

As of 1 April 2015, Seibu operates a fleet of 1,274 electric multiple unit (EMU) vehicles.[10]

Future rolling stock[edit]

Several Tokyu 9000 and Odakyu 8000 series trains (100 vehicles in total) are expected to be transferred from their original operators from 2024 in use primarily on Seibu's branch lines such as the Kokubunji and Chichibu lines, thus bringing down energy consumption as they replace some of Seibu's oldest vehicles. [12]

Former rolling stock[edit]

Railway fares[edit]

Single fare (Adult)

Affiliated companies[edit]


  1. ^ "Postwar60: Seibu's shareholding methods turn into minefield", Kyodo News, January 13, 2005, retrieved June 26, 2013
  2. ^ 西武線全駅で駅ナンバリングを導入します [Station numbering to be introduced at all Seibu stations] (PDF). News Release (in Japanese). Japan: Seibu Railway. 23 February 2012. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2015-09-24. Retrieved 10 February 2013.
  3. ^ "Kokudo faked names of all shareholdings when Seibu debuted in 1949", Kyodo News, March 15, 2005, retrieved June 26, 2013
  4. ^ "Tycoon Tsutsumi -- from world's richest man to detention cell", Kyodo News, March 3, 2005, retrieved June 26, 2013
  5. ^ "Cerberus Boosts Seibu Stake but Misses Goal", Wall Street Journal, June 1, 2013, retrieved June 26, 2013
  6. ^ a b "西武TOB攻防に幻の「助っ人」", 日本経済新聞, pp. 朝刊 総合2, June 26, 2013, retrieved June 26, 2013
  7. ^ "2013 年 3 月 16 日(土)ダイヤ改正を実施します" [A revision to train operations to be enforced on March 16, 2013 (Sat)] (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on February 28, 2013. Retrieved August 11, 2013.
  8. ^ 西武HD、安比奈線の廃止決定 半世紀の謎に決着 関連で減損126億円 [Seibu Holdings decides to discontinue the Ahina Line to end the half-century mystery; related 12.6 billion impairment]. Nikkei (in Japanese). February 10, 2016. Retrieved June 4, 2017.
  9. ^ Seibu Railway (June 1, 2017). 安比奈線の鉄道事業の廃止について [Discontinuation of the Ahina Line railway business] (PDF) (in Japanese). Archived (PDF) from the original on July 28, 2017. Retrieved June 4, 2017.
  10. ^ 私鉄車両編成表 2015 [Private Railway Rolling Stock Formations - 2015] (in Japanese). Japan: Kotsu Shimbunsha. 23 July 2015. p. 203. ISBN 978-4-330-58415-7.
  11. ^ 西武鉄道 2018年度に新型特急車輌導入 [Seibu Railway to introduce new limited express trains in fiscal 2018]. Tetsudo Hobidas (in Japanese). Japan: Neko Publishing Co., Ltd. 14 March 2016. Retrieved 14 March 2016.
  12. ^ "西武鉄道「サステナ車両」東急電鉄9000系&小田急電鉄8000形を譲受" [Seibu receives Tokyu 9000 series and Odakyu 8000 series as sustainer vehicles]. Japan Railfan Magazine Online (in Japanese). Koyusha.Co.Ltd. 26 September 2023. Archived from the original on 2023-09-26. Retrieved 24 November 2023.

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