Shimabara Railway Line
|Shimabara Railway Line|
A train on the Shimabara line at Shirahama beach in 2008
|Locale||Shimabara Peninsula, Nagasaki Prefecture, Japan|
Kazusa (until 2008)
|Rolling stock||Kiha 20 type|
|Line length||78.5 km (48.8 mi)|
|Number of tracks||single|
|Track gauge||1,067 mm (3 ft 6 in)|
The Shimabara Railway Line (島原鉄道線? Shimabara Tetsudō-sen) is a Japanese railway line connecting Isahaya Station, Isahaya and Shimabara-gaiko. The line parallels the coast of Shimabara Peninsula, Nagasaki Prefecture. This is the only railway line of Shimabara Railway (島原鉄道? Shimabara Tetsudō) (Shimatetsu (島鉄?) for short), while the company also operates buses and ships. The first section of the line opened in 1911. The former line between Shimabara-Gaikō and Kazusa had few passengers and closed on April 1, 2008. The line utilizes the older diesel-powered Kiha 20 type train which was developed in the mid-1950s. Because of the line's vintage trains which maintain the old Japanese National Railways colors of red and beige, it remains popular among train enthusiasts. This is the only railway on Kyushu outside the Fukuoka area that has remained privately owned its entire history.
The Shimabara Railway Co. opened the Isahaya - Aino section in 1911, extending the line to Kojiromachi in 1912 and Minami-Shimabara the following year.
The Kuchinotsu Railway Co. opened the Minami-Shimabara - Dozaki section in 1922, extending the line to Harajo in 1926 and Kazusa two years later.
Diesel power was introduced by the Kuchinotsu Railway Co. in 1930, and by the Shimabara Railway Co. in 1934. In 1943 the two companies merged under the name Shimabara Railway Co.
In 1958 direct services to/from Nagasaki were introduced, operating until 1980.
Former connecting lines
- Aino station - The Hizen Obama Railway Co. opened a 17 km line to Unzen Obama between 1923 and 1927. Direct services from the Shimabara line operated from 1927 until 1932. The line closed in 1938.
Services were disrupted for 6 months in 1991 due to lava flows from Mount Unzen, which also caused a one-month service disruption the following year.
In 1993 a major lava flow forced the closure of the line between Shimabara-gaiko and Fukae, and services didn't resume on that section until 1997.
The Shimabara-gaiko - Kazusa section was closed due to declining patronage in 2008.
- ●：Always stops ▲：Sometimes stops ｜：Does not stop
|Isahaya||諫早||0.0||●||JR Kyushu: Nagasaki Main Line, Ōmura Line||Isahaya||Nagasaki
|Shimabara-gaikō – Kazusa: Discontinued on April 1, 2008|
This article incorporates material from the corresponding article in the Japanese Wikipedia
- Route diagram: にっぽん列島 - 鉄道紀元. 27. JTB Publishing Inc. May 10, 2007. pp. 16–17.
- (Japanese) Shimatetsu official website
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