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-tracking: None
  • Electrification: Not electrified
  • Railway safeworking:
    • Ordinary staff


Rolling stock[edit]

  • SKR200 series
  • SKR300 series (from 1995 until October 2015)
  • SKR310 series (since 2001)
  • SKR400 series (from 2015)

As of 1 April 2015, the company operates a fleet of four diesel railcars: SKR200 series car 205, SKR300 series car 301, and SKR310 series cars 311 and 312.[1] A new SKR400 series diesel railcar, numbered SKR401, was delivered to the line in September 2015. This is scheduled to replace car SKR301, which was withdrawn from service on 3 October 2015.[2]


The line was opened by the Japanese Government Railways on May 8, 1933.[3] Freight services ceased in 1982.

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.[3] 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.[4]

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 the World War II and the track was removed. The citizens' volunteer work contributed to the reopening of the line on July 25, 1947.[3]

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

The 1991 collision (see below) resulted in the suspension of services for six months.[3]

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.[5][6][7]


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 Kōgen Railway train, killing 42 people.

Proposed extension[edit]

A current proposal calls for the Shiragaki Line to be part of a single-line connection from Maibara to suburban Osaka; the proposal consists of a direct connection from the Ohmi Railway Main Line to the Shigaraki Line at Kibukawa, infrastructure upgrades on the Shigaraki Line, and a new line from Shiragaki and connecting with the Gakkentoshi Line in southern Kyoto Prefecture.[citation needed]


  1. ^ 私鉄車両編成表 2015 [Private Railway Rolling Stock Formations - 2015] (in Japanese). Japan: Kotsu Shimbunsha. 23 July 2015. p. 114. ISBN 978-4-330-58415-7. 
  2. ^ 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. Retrieved 23 September 2015. 
  3. ^ a b c d "会社沿革". Retrieved September 21, 2014. 
  4. ^ "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. 
  5. ^ 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. 
  6. ^ "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. 
  7. ^ 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]