Shigaraki Kohgen Railway

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Shigaraki Kohgen Railway Co., Ltd. (信楽高原鐵道株式会社, Shigaraki Kōgen Tetsudō Kabushiki-gaisha) is a Japanese third-sector railway company funded by Shiga Prefecture and the city of Koka.

The railway operates the Shigaraki Line, a former JR West line that was transferred to the third sector in 1987. The Shigaraki Line connects Kibukawa on the JR West Kusatsu Line with Shigaraki.

Route data[edit]

  • Operating Company:
    • Shigaraki Kohgen Railway Co.
  • Distance:
    • Kibukawa — Shigaraki: 14.7 km
  • Gauge: 1,067 mm (3 ft 6 in)
  • Stations: 6
  • Double-track: None
  • Electrification: Not electrified


Rolling stock[edit]

  • SKR310 series (since 2001)
  • SKR400 series (since 2015)
  • SKR500 series (since 5 February 2017)

As of February 2017, the company operates a fleet of four diesel railcars: SKR310 series cars SKR311 and SKR312, SKR400 series car SKR401, and SKR500 series car SKR501.[1] The two SKR310 series diesel railcars were introduced in 2001, based on the earlier SKR300 series design but with more powerful engines.[2] SKR400 series diesel railcar SKR401 was delivered to the line in September 2015. This replaced car SKR301, which was withdrawn from service on 3 October 2015.[3] New SKR500 series diesel railcar SKR501 entered revenue service on the line from 5 February 2017.[4] This replaced SKR205, which made its last run on 4 February 2017.[5] While similar in design to the earlier SKR400 series car SKR401, SKR501 has transverse seating, whereas SKR401 has longitudinal bench seating.[6]

Former rolling stock[edit]

  • SKR200 series (x5, from 1987 until February 2017)
  • SKR300 series (x1, from 1995 until October 2015)

Five SKR200 series railcars were introduced between 1987 and 1992.[2] One SKR300 series car was introduced in 1995.[2]


A pair of SKR200 series diesel railcars in 1988

The line was opened by the Japanese Government Railways on May 8, 1933.[7] Freight services ceased in 1982.[citation needed]

The company was established on February 10, 1987 and started the railway operation on July 13, 1987 following the end of the operation by JR West the day before.[7] Originally the company owned the railway facilities, but on April 1, 2013 the asset was transferred to the city of Kōka for 10-year free lease to the company as a part of the restructuring.[8]

Service disruptions[edit]

The line has an unfortunate record in this regard, with services suspended between 1943 and 1947 due to it being deemed non-essential during World War II and the track was removed. The citizens' volunteer work contributed to the reopening of the line on July 25, 1947.[7]

A bridge was washed out in 1953, and the line was out of service for a year whilst it was rebuilt.[citation needed]

The 1991 collision (see below) resulted in the suspension of services for six months.[7]

The line was out of service from September 16, 2013 to November 29, 2014 as a result of another bridge washout caused by Typhoon Man-yi.[9][10][11]


A train passing the memorial at the site of the 1991 crash

The Shigaraki train disaster happened on the line in May 1991, when a through train from JR West collided head-on with a Shigaraki Kohgen Railway train, killing 42 people.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ 私鉄車両編成表 2016 私鉄車両編成表 2016 [Private Railway Rolling Stock Formations - 2016] (in Japanese). Japan: Kotsu Shimbunsha. 25 July 2016. p. 116. ISBN 978-4-330-70116-5.
  2. ^ a b c Takai, Kunpei (30 June 2014). Morokawa, Hisashi; Hattori, Akihiro, eds. 全国私鉄超決定版電車・機関車・気動車1700 全国私鉄超決定版 電車・機関車・気動車1700 [Nationwide Private Railway Ultimate Edition: 1700 EMUs, Locomotives, and DMUs] (in Japanese). Tokyo, Japan: Sekaibunka-sha. p. 224. ISBN 978-4-418-14219-4.
  3. ^ 信楽高原鐵道,SKR401を導入 [Shigaraki Kogen Railway introduces SKR401]. Japan Railfan Magazine Online (in Japanese). Japan: Koyusha Co., Ltd. 22 September 2015. Archived from the original on 4 March 2016. Retrieved 24 January 2017.
  4. ^ 信楽高原鐵道SKR501が営業運転を開始 [Shigaraki Kohgen Railway SKR501 enters revenue service]. Japan Railfan Magazine Online (in Japanese). Japan: Koyusha Co., Ltd. 6 February 2017. Archived from the original on 6 February 2017. Retrieved 6 February 2017.
  5. ^ 信楽高原鐵道 SKR205 さよならHM掲出 [Shigaraki Kohgen Railway SKR205 carried "Sayonara" headboard]. RM News (in Japanese). Japan: Neko Publishing Co., Ltd. 31 January 2017. Archived from the original on 31 January 2017. Retrieved 31 January 2017.
  6. ^ 信楽高原鐵道SKR500形 [Shigaraki Kohgen Railway SKR500 series]. Japan Railfan Magazine (in Japanese). Vol. 57 no. 672. Japan: Koyusha Co., Ltd. April 2017. p. 79.
  7. ^ a b c d "会社沿革". Retrieved September 21, 2014.
  8. ^ "信楽高原鐵道、4月から「上下分離」経営に" [Shigaraki Kogen Railway Management to be Owner-Operator Separated from April]. March 15, 2013. Retrieved September 21, 2014.
  9. ^ Kusamachi, Yoshikazu (August 22, 2014). "信楽高原鐵道、11月29日に再開へ…昨秋の台風で不通" [Shigaraki Kogen Railway to Resume on November 29, Suspended Due to Typhoon of Last Fall]. Response. Retrieved September 21, 2014.
  10. ^ "信楽鉄道再開待つ秋…台風18号1年" [Fall to Wait Resumption of Shigaraki Railway, One Year from Typhoon No. 18]. Yomiuri Shimbun. September 15, 2014. Retrieved September 21, 2014.
  11. ^ 小川勝也, 和野康宏 (December 13, 2014). "赤字・大事故・豪雨被害、それでも立ち上がった"幸運な鉄道"…住民らが支えた苦難の80年" [Despite Deficit, Disaster, Flood the Lucky Railway Rises—Residents Supported 80 Years of Hardship]. Sankei West. Retrieved December 14, 2014.

External links[edit]