Arashiyama Main Line, Keifuku Electric Railroad Co., Ltd (京福電気鉄道嵐山本線)

The Arashiyama Main Line is a Keifuku Electric Railroad route which links Shijo-Omiya Station (Shimogyo Ward, Kyoto City, Kyoto Prefecture) to Arashiyama Station (Ukyo Ward). It is called Randen in combination with the Keifuku Electric Railroad's Kitano Line, in addition to being called the Arashiyama Line.

Besides being an excursion route to Arashiyama and other sightseeing spots in the Rakusai area, it is also a convenient way to get to downtown Shijo-dori Street.

The route between Nishioji-Sanjo and Yamanouchi, plus the vicinity of Kaiko-no-Yashiro Station and Uzumasa Koryu-ji Station, are shared tracks; all other tracks are for exclusive use.

Route data

Route distance (working kilometers): 7.2 km
Track gauge: 1435 mm
Number of stations: 13 (including the station of origin and the destination station)
Double-tracked sections: entire rail line
Electrified sections: entire rail line (direct current 600 V)
Block (railway): Automatic block system

Operating pattern

Except for one section, the entire rail line between Shio-Omiya and Arashiyama is in operation. During early morning, evening and some late-night time slots, including trains entering or leaving the Saiin garage, there are trains originating from Saiin (departing for Shijo-Omiya, Arashiyama or Kitano Hakubaicho), and from Nishioji-Sanjo (for Arashiyama), and trains which terminate at Saiin (originating from Arashiyama). During the autumn and spring sightseeing seasons, direct trains are sometimes run between Kitano Hakubaicho Station, Katabiranotsuji Station and Arashiyama Station of the Kitano Line during the day on Saturdays and holidays.

The train is usually composed of a single car and run on a single track by one operator; however, at rush hour or during the sightseeing seasons, another car is added and an additional crew member rides in the second car, where the driver's cab is located, and collects fares. Except for Shijo-Omiya, Katabiranotsuji, and Arashiyama, all stations are unmanned; some unmanned stations which handle many passengers (such as Uzumasa Koryu-ji Station) may have a staff member on site during rush hours or peak seasons to guide passengers and assist in fare collection and safety management.

History

March 25, 1910: The Arashiyama Electric Tramway started service between Shijo-Omiya and Arashiyama.

April 2, 1918: Arashiyama Electric Tramway merged with Kyoto Dento. The route was put under the control of the Arashiyama Electric Tramway section.

1927: Saga Teishajo-mae Station was renamed Saga-ekimae Station.

December 1928: The entire rail line became double-tracked.

June 1929: Mibu Station was opened.

March 2, 1942: It was transferred to Keifuku Electric Railroad Co., Ltd.

April 16, 1944: Taishi-mae Station was renamed Uzumasa Station.

November 27, 1956: Rokuoin Station was opened.

July 11, 1971: Mibu Station, which had been located between Shijo-Omiya and Saiin, was closed.

August 9, 1975: Sagano Station was renamed Arisu-gawa Station.

December 15, 1975: The cars' electricity collector devices were changed from wheel type power collectors to bow collectors.

December 20, 1982: Operation by a single operator began during some early morning and late night time slots.

March 16, 1985: All trains began to be operated in this way, except during morning rush hours.

August 17, 1987: All trains became exclusively operated by single operators at all times.

May 1, 2002: A uniform fare system was adopted (200 yen for adults, 100 yen for children). Simultaneously, the Kansai Thru Pass was introduced.

March 19, 2007: Sanjoguchi Station, Uzumasa Station, Kurumazaki Station and Saga-ekimae Station were renamed Nishioji-Sanjo Station, Uzumasa Koryu-ji Station, Kurumazaki-jinja Station and Randen-Saga Station, respectively. In addition, the station numbering which had been tested on the Kitano Line and the Japan railway line color list were formally introduced on all routes, including this one.

March 28, 2008: The Randen-Tenjingawa Station was opened.

April 1, 2008: Departure melodies were introduced at Shijo-Omiya Station, Katabiranotsuji Station, and Arashiyama Station.

List of stations

The missing station number A2 is thought to have been reserved for the installation of an additional station at some point in the future; however, there are no specific plans for one at present.

Closed stations

Mibu Station (Kyoto Prefecture), located between Shijo-Omiya Station and Saiin Station, was closed on July 11, 1971.

Extension of the Kyoto Municipal Subway Tozai Line

The Keifuku Line (Randen) had long been isolated from the route network of Kyoto's municipal subway. However, with the extension of Kyoto Municipal Subway's Tozai Line to run between Nijo Station and Uzumasa-Tenjingawa Station on January 16, 2008, and with the establishment of the new 'Randen-Tenjingawa Station' between Yamanouchi Station and Kaiko-no-Yashiro Station on March 28 of the same year, the Keifuku Line became connected to the Kyoto Municipal Subway. The Randen-Tenjingawa Station was built in Sanjo-dori Street (about 280 meters east of Kaiko-no-Yashiro Station), near the subway Uzumasa-Tenjingawa Station. A6, the number assigned to Randen-Tenjingawa Station when the station numbering system was introduced in March, 2007, had previously been a missing number.

Furthermore, with the extension of the Tozai Line, some trains on the Keihan Electric Railway's Keihan Keishin Line extended part of their zones from the subway Kyoto Shiyakusho-mae Station to Uzumasa-Tenjingawa Station.

Influence of the improvements to JR Sanin Main Line (Sagano Line)

During the Japanese National Railways era, the West Japan Railway (JR West) Sanin Main Line (Sagano Line) placed great emphasis on Express Limited trains and Express trains, the main form of long-distance transportation. It had given almost no consideration to transportation to the city's outskirts; following the dissolution and privatization of Japan National Railway and the beginning of JR West, however, Uzumasa Station was opened, and the route between Saga-Arashiyama Station and Umahori Station was relaid and double-tracked. Afterwards, the track between Kyoto Station and Sonobe Station was laid and run with electric trains (it was later extended to Fukuchiyama Station, while direct electric trains went as far as Kinosakionsen Station where the electrification of railways had been completed during the late Japan National Railways era). The tasks of double-tracking and the construction of an elevated railway bridge between Nijo Station and Hanazono Station (Kyoto Prefecture) were completed, followed by the opening of Emmachi Station. In addition, the project of double-tracking the entire route between Kyoto Station and Sonobe Station, scheduled to be completed in spring 2010, is underway, and the line's character as a city outskirts route is strengthened.

In light of all of this, it is foreseeable that tourists who formerly took the Keifuku Line (Randen) or shuttle buses from central Kyoto City out to Uzumasa or Arashiyama will switch to using the Sagano Line. As a result, each transportation company which services these conventional routes will face hard times; after the double-tracking of the entire route is completed, the situation will only become more severe. Keifuku Electric Railroad's acceptance of Kyoto City's proposal of the construction of the previously mentioned new station (the Randen-Tenjingawa Station) is also, in a way, a countermeasure against JR.

The Randen Brush-up Project

Beginning in Fiscal Year 2006, the following projects were carried out as part of the 'Randen Brush-up Project.'

The names of the Arashiyama Main Line and Kitano Line were united to form 'Randen' (March 19, 2007).

Seven stations, including the closest stations to several tourist spots, were renamed. (March 19, 2007)

Sightseeing information was added to on-board announcements.

A comprehensive tourist guide board to each station was set up.

Reforms at each station

In addition to these projects, the following tasks were carried out on the Arashiyama Main Line and Keifuku Electric Railroad Kitano Line, which have many sightseeing spots designated as world cultural heritage sites or national treasures along their routes.

Randen Kaiwai-kan
First, in October 2006, with the exceptions of the stations at either end of the Kitano Line (Kitano Hakubaicho Station and Katabiranotsuji Station), a large photograph panel was posted at each station; the panel, called 'Randen Kaiwai-kan,' describes the showplaces in the vicinity of that station. In September 2007, each station on the Arashiyama Main Line, except for Shijo-Omiya Station, Nishioji-Sanjo Station and Yamanouchi Station, was posted with a panel.
(In addition, on October 4, Arashiyama Station held an unveiling ceremony for the panel, combined with a 'ceremony to commemorate the station's number of footbath users passing the 300,000 mark.')
Most stations posted their panels in only one of the platforms handling departures to or arrivals from Kyoto; however, Ryuanji Station and Rokuoin Station posted panels in both the arrival and departure platforms. The panels are composed of color photographs; the lone exception is the work at Arashiyama Station (Keifuku Electric Railroad), a series of 6 monochrome photographs on the theme of Zen Buddhism (Tenryu-ji Temple Unsui). These photographs are the work of photographer Hiroshi MORITANI; the title 'Randen Kaiwai-kan,' written beside the photograph panels, was stroked by calligrapher Kagen HIGUCHI. In some of the panels set up along the Arashiyama Main Line, the photographs have Japanese poems which relate to them written outside their frames.

Symbol trees
In December 2006, each station on the Kitano Line except for Katabiranotsuji Station was planted with trees or flower beds which symbolize that station. There are, at present, no symbol trees at any of the Arashiyama Main Line stations; however, as was the case with 'Randen Kaiwai-kan,' they will most likely be planted at almost all of the stations in the near future.

Other
Before Randen-Tenjingawa Station opened in March 2008, a comprehensive tourist guide board was posted at each station on the Kitano Line, and nowhere else; with the opening of Randen-Tenjingawa Station, though, a board was posted at each station on the Arashiyama Main Line as well.

There were formerly two kinds of station name signposts: a type which was fixed to the station rooftop, and a two-legged signpost on the platform. When the line colors were formally introduced on March 19, 2007, all two-legged platform signposts were removed.