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Watarase Keikoku Line

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Watarase Keikoku Line
Watarase Keikoku Railway Wa 89-313 train.
Native nameわたらせ渓谷線
Opened15 April 1911; 113 years ago (1911-04-15)
Line length44.1 km (27.4 mi)
Number of tracks1
Track gauge1,067 mm (3 ft 6 in)
Operating speed75 km/h (47 mph) (Maximum)
Train protection systemATS-P

The Watarase Keikoku Line (わたらせ渓谷線, Watarase Keikoku-sen) is a Japanese railway line connecting Kiryū Station in Kiryū, Gunma and Matō Station in Nikkō, Tochigi. This is the only railway line that the third-sector company Watarase Keikoku Railway (わたらせ渓谷鐵道, Watarase Keikoku Tetsudō) operates. The company and line are also known as Watakei (わた渓) or Watetsu (わ鐵). The company acquired the line from the East Japan Railway Company (JR East) in 1989. As the name suggests, the line runs along the Watarase River through a deep valley.


The Ashio Railway Co. opened the line to Ashio-Motoyama (2 kilometres or 1.2 miles beyond Mato) in 1911–12[clarification needed] to service the Ashio Copper Mine, and leased the line to JNR in 1913. Passenger services were introduced in 1914. In 1918 the line was nationalised.[1]

The copper mine closed in 1973, the same year the line was deviated for the construction of the Kusaki Dam,[1] including the 5,242-metre (17,198 ft) Kusaki Tunnel.

Operation of the line between Kiryū and Matō was transferred to the Watarase Keikoku Railway, a third-sector company, in 1989.[2] Also in 1989, the Ashio-Motoyama – Mato section was closed.

Basic data[edit]

  • Distance: 44.1 km (27.4 mi)
  • Gauge: 1,067 mm (3 ft 6 in)
  • Stations: 17
  • Double-tracking: None
  • Electrification: None
  • Railway signalling:
    • Kiryū — Shimo-Shinden: Automatic
    • Shimo-Shinden — Matō: Simplified Automatic

Station list[edit]

  • Trains stop at stations marked "●" and pass those marked "|".
  • Local trains stop at all stations (other than Shimo-Shinden Signal Box).
Station No. Station Japanese Watarase Keikoku-gō Transfers Location
WK01 Kiryū 桐生   East Japan Railway Company (JR East): Ryōmō Line
Jōmō Electric Railway: Jōmō Line (Nishi-Kiryū)
Kiryū Gunma
- Shimo-Shinden Signal Box 下新田信号場    
WK02 Shimo-Shinden 下新田    
WK03 Aioi 相老 Tōbu Railway: Kiryū Line
WK04 Undō-Kōen 運動公園 Jōmō Electric Railway: Jōmō Line (Kiryū-Kyūjō-Mae)
WK05 Ōmama 大間々 Tōbu: Kiryū Line (Akagi)
Jōmō Electric Railway: Jōmō Line (Akagi)
WK06 Kami-Kambai 上神梅  
WK07 Motojuku 本宿   Kiryū
WK08 Mizunuma 水沼  
WK09 Hanawa 花輪   Midori
WK10 Nakano 中野  
WK11 Konaka 小中  
WK12 Gōdo 神戸  
WK13 Sōri 沢入  
WK14 Haramukō 原向   Nikkō Tochigi
WK15 Tsūdō 通洞  
WK16 Ashio 足尾  
WK17 Matō 間藤    


  1. ^ a b c "沿革・歴史" [Company History]. watetsu.com (in Japanese). Archived from the original on 7 December 2023. Retrieved 9 February 2024.
  2. ^ Bushell, Chris, ed. (2006). Railway Directory 2006 (111th ed.). Reed Business Information. p. 127. ISBN 0-617-01031-5.

External links[edit]