Watarase Keikoku Line

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Watarase Keikoku Railway Wa 89-313 train.

The Watarase Keikoku Line (わたらせ渓谷線, -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 (2km beyond Mato) in 1911/12 to service the Ashio Copper Mine, and leased the line to JNR in 1913. Passenger services were introduced in 1914, and the line was nationalised in 1918.

The copper mine closed in 1973, the same year the line was deviated for the construction of the Kusaki Dam, including the 5242m Kusaki Tunnel.

In 1989 the Ashio-Motoyama - Mato section was closed and the operation of the balance of the line was transferred to the Watarase Keikoku Railway Co.

Basic data[edit]

  • Distance: 44.1 km
  • Gauge: 1,067 mm
  • 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 Japanese Watarase Keikoku-gō Transfers Location
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    
Shimo-Shinden 下新田    
Aioi 相老 Tōbu Railway: Kiryū Line
Undō-Kōen 運動公園 Jōmō Electric Railway: Jōmō Line (Kiryū-Kyūjō-Mae)
Ōmama 大間々 Tōbu: Kiryū Line (Akagi)
Jōmō Electric Railway: Jōmō Line (Akagi)
Kami-Kambai 上神梅  
Motojuku 本宿   Kiryū
Mizunuma 水沼  
Hanawa 花輪   Midori
Nakano 中野  
Konaka 小中  
Gōdo 神戸  
Sōri 沢入  
Haramukō 原向   Nikkō Tochigi
Tsūdō 通洞  
Ashio 足尾  
Matō 間藤    


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

External links[edit]