Shin'etsu Main Line

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Shinetsu Main Line
JR Shinetsu Main Line linemap.svg
Map Legend
Red: Shinetsu Main Line
Blue: Shinano Railway Line, Kita-Shinano Line and Myōkō Haneuma Line
Overview
Native name 信越本線
Status Operarional
Locale Gunma, Nagano, Niigata prefectures
Operation
Opened Stages between 1885-1904
Closed
Operator(s) JR logo (east).svg JR East
Technical
Line length 181.5 km (112.8 mi)
Track gauge 1,067 mm (3 ft 6 in)
Electrification 1,500 V DC overhead catenary
Route map

1. Takasaki - Yokokawa

Jōetsu Shinkansen, Takasaki Line
Jōshin Dentetsu Jōshin Line
0.0 Takasaki
Jōetsu Line
Former Tobu Takasaki Line
2.4 Kita-Takasaki
Jōetsu Shinkansen
Hokuriku Shinkansen
6.4 Gumma-Yawata
10.6 Annaka
17.6 Isobe
22.7 Matsuida Since 1962
Matsuida Until 1962
23.9 Nishi-Matsuida
29.7 Yokokawa
Usui Horsecar
31.5 Maruyama (Signal Box) Until 1966
35.8 Kumanotaira (Signal Box) Until 1997
40.1 Yagasaki (Signal Box) Until 1966
Former Kusakaru Dentetsu
40.9 Karuizawa
Hokuriku Shinkansen, Shinano Railway Line

2. Sinonoi-Nagano

Hokuriku Shinkansen, Shinano Railway Line
Shinonoi Line
0.0 Shinonoi
2.1 Imai
4.3 Kawanakajima
5.9 Saigawa (Signal Box) Until 1935
Saigawa
6.4 Amori
Zenkōji Hakuba Dentetsu
Former South Nagano Line
9.3 Nagano
Nagano Electric Railway
Hokuriku Shinkansen,
Shinano Railway Kita-Shinano Line

3. Naoetsu-Niigata

ETR-Myōkō Haneuma Line
ETR-Nihonkai Hisui Line
0.0 Naoetsu Since 1899
0.2 Naoetsu Until 1899
1.4 Naoetsu Port Until 1959
Sekigawa
0.8 Kasuga Shinden Until 1906
2.7 Kuroi
Kubiki Railway Line
7.1 Saigata
Hokuetsu Express Hokuhoku Line
9.4 Dosokohama
11.2 Katamachi
14.0 Jogehama
17.6 Kakizaki
21.2 Takehana (Signal Box) Until 1973
23.5 Yoneyama
27.4 Kasashima
29.6 Oumigawa
32.6 Kujiranami
36.3 Kashiwazaki
Echigo Line
39.3 Ibarame
42.2 Yasuda
44.8 Kitajo
48.1 Echigo-Hirota
50.8 Nagatori
Tsukayama Tunnel
53.9 Nishi-Tsukayama (Signal Box) Until 1967
55.8 Tsukayama
Nishi-Shibuumikawa Until 1900
Higashi-Shibuumikawa Until 1900
60.5 Echigo-Iwatsuka
Former Echigo Kotsu Nagaoka Line
63.3 Raikōji
Shinano River
67.4 Maekawa
Jōetsu Line
70.0 Miyauchi
71.4 Minami-Nagaoka Freight Terminal
Jōetsu Shinkansen
73.0 Nagaoka
75.5 Kita-Nagaoka
79.9 Oshikiri
82.0 Kariyada (Signal Box) Until 1945
84.4 Mitsuke
88.5 Obiori
91.1 Tōkōji
94.6 Sanjō
Yahiko Line
96.2 Higashi-Sanjō
Former Yahiko Line
100.0 Honai
103.8 Kamo
Kanbara Railway Line
107.9 Hanyūda
111.1 Tagami
114.8 Yashiroda
117.9 Furutsu
Banetsu West Line
121.1 Niitsu
Uetsu Main Line
122.6 Satsukino
124.9 Ogikawa
129.8 Kameda
132.2
0.0##
Echigo-Ishiyama
Hakushin Line
Higashi-Niigata
2.4## Niigata Freight Terminal
134.4
0.0#
Kami-Nuttari (Signal Box)
2.1# Yakejima
3.8# East Niigata Port
5.5# Ōgata Until 1941
136.2
0.0**
Nuttari Until 2010
1.4** Niigata Port Until 1986
136.3
1.9#
Niigata Since 1958
138.1 Niigata Until 1958
4.3# Bandai Until 1965
Jōetsu Shinkansen
Echigo Line

The Shinetsu Main Line (信越本線 Shin'etsu-honsen?) is a railway line, consisting of three geographically separated sections, operated by the East Japan Railway Company (JR East) in Japan. It was originally one continuous line connecting Takasaki and Niigata via Nagano; however, with the opening of the Hokuriku Shinkansen, some sections were transferred to the third-sector railway companies or abandoned.

The name of the line refers to the old names for Nagano and Niigata Prefectures, Shinano (信濃) and Echigo (越後).

The abandoned section through the Usui Pass was famous for its steep 66.7 gradient.[1]

Sections[edit]

From 14 March 2015, the line consists of the following three sections.

There are three small freight branches; from Echigo-Ishiyama Station to Niigata Freight Terminal, from Kami-Nuttari Junction to Nuttari Station, and from Kami-Nuttari Junction to Higashi-Niigata-kō Station.

Services[edit]

Takasaki–Yokokawa[edit]

Shinonoi–Nagano[edit]

Most trains run through on the Shinonoi Line or the Shinano Railway Line.

Naoetsu–Niigata[edit]

  • Limited express
  • Local
    • Noetsu–Nagaoka: 1 train per one to two hours
    • Nagaoka–Niitsu: 1 or 2 trains per hour
    • Niitsu–Niigata: 3 trains per hour
  • Excursion train (Joyful Train)

Stations[edit]

Takasaki–Yokokawa[edit]

Station Japanese Distance
(km)
Connections Location
Takasaki 高崎 0.0 Takasaki Gunma Prefecture
Kita-Takasaki 北高崎 2.4  
Gumma-Yawata 群馬八幡 6.4  
Annaka 安中 10.6   Annaka
Isobe 磯部 17.6  
Matsuida 松井田 22.7  
Nishi-Matsuida 西松井田 23.9  
Yokokawa 横川 29.7  
  1. ^ a b Although the official terminus of the Ryōmō Line is at Shin-Maebashi and that of the Agatsuma Line is at Shibukawa, trains on both lines run through to Takasaki.

Yokokawa–Shinonoi[edit]

The section between Yokokawa and Karuizawa was closed and the section between Karuizawa and Shinonoi was transferred to the ownership of the third-sector railway operator Shinano Railway from 1 October 1997 with the opening of the Hokuriku Shinkansen (Nagano Shinkansen) between Takasaki and Nagano.

Shinonoi–Nagano[edit]

Station Japanese Distance
(km)
Connections Location
Shinonoi 篠ノ井 0.0
Nagano Nagano Prefecture
Imai 今井 2.1  
Kawanakajima 川中島 4.3  
Amori 安茂里 6.4  
Nagano 長野 9.3
  1. ^ Although the official terminus of the Iiyama Line is at Toyono, trains on the line run through to Nagano.

Nagano–Naoetsu[edit]

The section between Nagano and Naoetsu was transferred to the ownership of the third-sector railway operators Shinano Railway and Echigo Tokimeki Railway from 14 March 2015 with the opening of the Hokuriku Shinkansen extension north of Nagano.

Naoetsu–Niigata[edit]

Station Japanese Distance
(km)
Connections Location
Naoetsu 直江津 84.3 Jōetsu Niigata Prefecture
Kuroi 黒井 87.0  
Saigata 犀潟 91.4 Hokuhoku Line
Dosokohama 土底浜 93.7  
Katamachi 潟町 95.5  
Jōgehama 上下浜 98.3  
Kakizaki 柿崎 101.9  
Yoneyama 米山 107.8   Kashiwazaki
Kasashima 笠島 111.7  
Ōmigawa 青海川 113.9  
Kujiranami 鯨波 116.9  
Kashiwazaki 柏崎 120.6 Echigo Line
Ibarame 茨目 123.6  
Yasuda 安田 126.5  
Kitajō 北条 129.1  
Echigo-Hirota 越後広田 132.4  
Nagatori 長鳥 135.1  
Tsukayama 塚山 140.1   Nagaoka
Echigo-Iwatsuka 越後岩塚 144.8  
Raikōji 来迎寺 147.6  
Maekawa 前川 151.7  
Miyauchi 宮内 154.3 Jōetsu Line
Minami-Nagaoka
Freight Terminal
南長岡 (155.7)  
Nagaoka 長岡 157.3 Shinkansen-E.png Jōetsu Shinkansen
Kita-Nagaoka 北長岡 159.8  
Oshikiri 押切 164.2  
Mitsuke 見附 168.7   Mitsuke
Obiori 帯織 172.8   Sanjō
Tōkōji 東光寺 175.4  
Sanjō 三条 178.9  
Higashi-Sanjō 東三条 180.5 Yahiko Line
Honai 保内 184.3  
Kamo 加茂 188.1   Kamo
Hanyūda 羽生田 192.2   Tagami
Tagami 田上 195.4  
Yashiroda 矢代田 199.1   Akiha-ku, Niigata
Furutsu 古津 202.2  
Niitsu 新津 205.4
Satsukino さつき野 206.9  
Ogikawa 荻川 209.2  
Kameda 亀田 214.1   Kōnan-ku, Niigata
Echigo-Ishiyama 越後石山 216.5   Higashi-ku, Niigata
Kaminuttari Junction 上沼垂 (218.7)   Chūō-ku, Niigata
Niigata 新潟 220.6

Rolling Stock[edit]

Takasaki–Yokokawa[edit]

Shinonoi–Nagano[edit]

Naoetsu–Niigata[edit]

Limited Express[edit]

History[edit]

Abt rack railway loco used on the Usui Pass line, note the 'shoe' ahead of the nearest wheel to collect power via a third rail

The Japanese Government Railways opened the Takasaki to Yokokawa section in 1885, the Naoetsu to Sekiyama section the following year, and the Sekiyama - Nagano - Karuizawa section in 1888. In order to surmount the 552 metre altitude difference between Yokokawa and Karuizawa (which are 10 km apart), it then constructed an Abt rack section through the Usui Pass, which opened in 1893, and was double-tracked for 1 km from Karuizawa to the top of the rack section. A horse-drawn tramway operated between Yokokawa and Karuizawa until the rack section opened.

The Hokuetsu Railway opened the Naoetsu to Nagaoka section in 1897, extending the line to Niigata in 1904. Both companies were nationalised in 1907. In 1912, the rack section was electrified using third rail at 600 V DC, this being the first use of this method in Japan.[citation needed]

Double-tracking[edit]

The Karuizawa to Nagano section was double-tracked between 1917 and 1920, with the Nagaoka to Miyauchi section double-tracked in 1931, and the Niitsu - Kamo section in 1944. Double-tracking of the remainder of the Niigata to Naoetsu line was undertaken in sections between 1958 and 1973.

Double-tracking of the remainder of the Takasaki to Kaminagano line was undertaken in sections between 1963 and 1973, commencing with the replacement of the rack mechanism with an adhesion only electrified (1,500 V DC catenary) operation on the 1 in 15 (6.7%) grade. The rack equipment was initially kept as a contingency, and removed two months after the adhesion-only operation commenced and had proved its reliability.

The Kurohime to Myoko-Kogen section was double-tracked in conjunction with a realignment in 1980. The Mure to Kurohime section was also realigned and prepared for double-tracking (including new double-track size tunnels), but the second track was not laid.

Electrification[edit]

The Miyauchi to Nagaoka section was electrified in 1947 at 1,500 V DC in conjunction with the electrification of the Joetsu Line, with the Nagaoka to Niigata section electrified in 1962, the same year the Takasaki to Yokokawa section was commissioned to facilitate the extension to Nagano the following year via the new adhesion line through the Usui Pass mentioned above. The Nagano to Naoetsu section was electrified in 1966, and extended to Miyauchi in 1969.

Separation into sections[edit]

In 1997, following the opening of the Nagano Shinkansen, the Yokokawa to Karuizawa section was closed, and the Karuizawa to Shinonoi section transferred to the third-sector Shinano Railway.

On 14 March 2015, following the extension of the Hokuriku Shinkansen to Kanazawa, the Nagano to Naoetsu section was also spun off to the following two third-sector operating companies owned primarily by the respective prefectures and municipalities.[2]

Former connecting lines[edit]

The Kubiki Railway prior to 1940
A train on the Uomuna line in 1937, prior to its conversion to 1,067 mm gauge

(Note - for the connections at stations between Karuizawa and Shinonoi, see Shinano Railway Line)

  • Nagano Station: The Zenkoji Hakuba Railway Co. opened a 7 km line to Susohana Guchi in 1936. A proposal for the line to be extended to Hakuba on the Oito Line did not eventuate, and the line closed in 1944.
  • Kuroi Station: The Kubiki Railway Co. opened a 15 km 762 mm (2 ft 6 in) gauge line to Uragawara between 1914 and 1916, with the line closing in 1971.
  • Raikoji Station: The Nagaoka Railway Co. opened a 39 km line to Teradomari (on the Echigo Line) between 1915 and 1921. This company introduced Japan's first diesel railcar in 1928, and in 1951 electrified 31 km of the line at 750 V DC in 70 days, completing the balance the following year. Significant typhoon damage occurred in 1966, and in 1972, passenger services ceased between Raikoji and Nishinagaoka, with the entire line becoming freight-only three years later. The line closed in 1995.
The 13 km 762 mm (2 ft 6 in) gauge Uonuma Railway to Nishiojiya was opened in 1911, and nationalised in 1922. It was converted to 1,067 mm (3 ft 6 in) gauge in 1954, freight services ceased in 1960, and the line closed in 1984.
  • Nagaoka Station: The Tochio Railway opened a 27 km 762 mm (2 ft 6 in) gauge line to Tochio and Yūkyūzan between 1915 and 1924.[3] The line was electrified at 600 V DC in 1948, with this being raised to 750 V DC in 1956. CTC signalling was commissioned in 1961, freight services ceased in 1967, and the line closed between 1973 and 1975.
  • Higashi Sanjo Station: The Echigo Railway Co. opened the 8 km line to Echigo Nagasawa in 1927, and was nationalised two months later. Freight services ceased in 1960, and the line closed in 1985.
  • Kamo Station: The Kanbara Railway Co. operated a line to Gosen on the Ban'etsu West Line from 1923 until 2002.

References[edit]

This article incorporates material from the corresponding article in the Japanese Wikipedia.

  1. ^ Harada, Katsumasa (1981). "Technological independence and progress of standardization in the Japanese railways". JETRO. Retrieved January 2, 2009. it was eventually decided to build the track at a steep grade of 66.7/1,000 
  2. ^ Osano, Kagetoshi (March 2015).  北陸新幹線並行在来線各社の姿 [Guide to companies operating conventional lines alongside the Hokuriku Shinkansen]. Tetsudō Daiya Jōhō Magazine (in Japanese). Vol. 44 no. 371. Japan: Kōtsū Shimbun. pp. 28–33. 
  3. ^ Wakuda, Yasuo (1993). 私鉄史ハンドブック [Private Railways History Handbook] (in Japanese). Tokyo: Denkisha Kenkyūkai. p. 43. ISBN 4-88548-065-5. 

External links[edit]