Ban'etsu West Line
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|Banetsu West Line|
719 series EMU at Kōriyama Station, March 2008
|Locale||Fukushima, Niigata prefectures|
|Line length||175.6 km (109.1 mi)|
|Track gauge||1,067 mm (3 ft 6 in)|
|Electrification||20 kV AC, 50 Hz overhead catenary (Kōriyama – Kitakata)|
|Operating speed||100 km/h (60 mph)|
The Banetsu West Line (磐越西線 Ban'etsu-sai-sen?) is a railway line in Japan operated by East Japan Railway Company (JR East). It connects Kōriyama Station in Kōriyama, Fukushima and Niitsu Station in Niigata, Niigata. The name "Banetsu" is taken from the first characters of the names of the ancient provinces of Iwaki (磐城?) and Echigo (越後?), which the Banetsu East and Banetsu West lines connect. "Sai" (西?) means "west" in Japanese.
- Local trains generally stop at all stations, but some trains skip stations marked "▽".
- The column marked "*" refers to the unnamed rapid service between Kōriyama and Aizu-Wakamatsu/Kitakata using 719 series EMUs.
- Trains can pass one another at stations marked "◇", "∨", or "∧"; stations marked "◆" are switchback stations. Trains cannot pass at stations marked "｜".
|Station||Japanese||Distance (km)||Rapid||Transfers/Other Notes||Location|
|Jōko||上戸||6.5||27.3||｜||｜||Inawashiro, Yama District|
|Inawashirokohan (closed)||猪苗代湖畔||2.0||29.3||Closed in 2007||｜|
|Bandaimachi||磐梯町||10.1||51.2||●||◇||Bandai, Yama District|
■Aizu Line[* 3]
|Oikawa▽||笈川||3.1||73.2||｜||｜||｜||Yugawa, Kawanuma District|
|Kitakata||喜多方||1.7||81.2||●||●||Terminus of electrification||◇|
|Onobori||尾登||3.8||101.0||｜||｜||Nishiaizu, Yama District|
|Toyomi||豊実||3.3||121.3||｜||｜||Aga, Higashikanbara District||Niigata|
- Although the official start of the Suigun Line is Asakanagamori, all trains run through to/from Kōriyama.
- Scheduled to open in spring 2017.
- Although the official start of the Aizu Line is Nishi-Wakamatsu, all trains run through to/from Aizu-Wakamatsu.
- Most Banetsu West Line trains travel through to/from Niigata.
As of October 2016, the following rolling stock is used on the Banetsu West Line.
- 719 series EMUs (since June 2007)
SL "Banetsu Monogatari"
- 455 series EMUs (from 1967 until March 2008)
- 485 series EMUs (Aizu Liner rapid services)
- KiHa 52 DMUs (until 2009)
- KiHa 58 DMUs (until 2009)
485 series Aizu Liner rapid service at Koriyama Station, March 2012
The Banetsu West Line was planned under the Railway Construction Act in 1892, and the private Ganetsu Railway opened the initial section from Kōriyama to Nakayamajuku on July 26, 1898, and extended the line to Aizu-Wakamatsu the following year. In 1906, when the line was extended to Kitakata, the Japanese Government Railways (JGR) nationalized the Ganetsu Railway and renamed the line the Ganetsu Line.
In 1910 the JGR opened the Niitsu - Maoroshi section and extended the eastern section to Yamato. The remaining sections were opened in 1913 and 1914, providing the first rail link from Niigata to the east coast of Japan (and Tokyo). The line was renamed the Banetsu West Line in 1917, the year that the Matsuno tunnel (situated west of Kitakata) collapsed, blocking the line for 15 months, during which time a cableway operated to transfer freight and passengers walked around the blocked section. The reopened section permanently bypassed the tunnel.
Japanese National Railways (JNR) started to modernize the line in the 1960s, introducing the line's first limited express service (as a part of the Yamagata-bound Yamabata) in 1965 between Ueno Station in Tokyo and Aizu-Wakamatsu via the Tōhoku Main Line. In 1968 the train was renamed Aizu Yamabata, but from 1993 onward it was renamed Viva Aizu and ran only between Koriyama and Aizu-Wakamatsu. The train was finally discontinued as a limited express service in 2003.
In 1967, JNR electrified the section between Kōriyama and Kitakata at 20 kV AC.
In 2011 the line was closed for 15 days in March following the Tohoku earthquake, two days in April as a result of aftershocks, and for 10 weeks following torrential rain at the end of July.
This article incorporates material from the corresponding article in the Japanese Wikipedia.
- 《草町義和》. "JR東日本、新潟・秋田地区に電気式の新型気動車を導入へ | レスポンス". Response.jp. Retrieved 2015-05-19.
- 磐越西線に新駅を設置いたします [New station to be built on Banetsu West Line] (pdf). News release (in Japanese). Japan: East Japan Railway Company. 15 September 2015. Retrieved 15 September 2015.
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