Atagoyama Railway (愛宕山鉄道)

Atagoyama Railway ("Atagoyama Tetsudo" in Japanese) was a railroad company that, before the war, managed a flat railway line that ran from Arashiyama Station (operated by Keifuku Electric Railway and located in present-day Ukyo Ward, Kyoto City, Kyoto Prefecture) to Kiyotaki Station, as well as a cable car line (funicular railway) that ran from Kiyotakigawa Station to Atago Station.

Summary

The company was a joint venture between Keihan Electric Railway and Kyoto Dento.

The Atagoyama railway line was constructed to provide a means of visiting Atago Shrine (Kyoto City) on Mt. Atago (Kyoto City). The company developed Kiyotaki-yuenchi Park in Kiyotaki (which is located at the foot of Mt. Atago), and also set up a ski resort, a tent village, and Atagoyama Amusement Park (which includes a hotel and an amusement ride called the flying tower) on Mt. Atago, all of which flourished. Because business was declining due to the effects of the Great Depression, Keihan Electric Railway and Kyoto Dento together made efforts to revive business. The entire railway was later designated as "non-essential" during the war. It was ultimately abandoned and was never brought back into service after the war. With the abandonment of the railway, hotels and other tourist facilities soon disappeared afterwards allowing the area to be return to its natural state, and leaving Atagoyama resort facilities as a vague memory in people's minds.

Company Timeline

1926 - License issued on November 25th. 1927 - Atagoyama Railway founded on August 1st. 1928 - Construction begins for the flat and the funicular lines in June. 1929 - Aerial ropeway for freight begins operation to transport construction materials for the funicular line in January. 1929 - Both the flat and the funicular lines are brought into service. A tent village and, subsequently, a ski resort opens on Atagoyama.

1930 - Atagoyama Hotel and the flying tower opens on July 20th. 1944 - The funicular line and, later, the flat line are abandoned. Tourist facilities are also closed down.

1959 - Atagoyama Railway is dissolved on October 31st.

Atagoyama Railway requested a restructuring or a merger with its parent companies Hankyu Corporation and Keifuku Electric Railroad Co., Ltd. Unfortunately, both companies were too preoccupied with their own post-war reconstruction to offer any assistance. Therefore, Atagoyama Railway had no choice but to give up its attempts at reconstruction and moved to dissolve the company. In 1967, a different organization announced plans to reconstruct the funicular line, but these plans were never realized.

Railway Data

As of 1941

Flat line
Total distance: 3.39 km between Arashiyama and Kiyotaki
Track gauge: 1,435 mm (standard gauge)
Stations: 5
Area of double-tracks: Entire length of 2.94 km excluding the Kiyotaki Tunnel area
Electric-powered section: Entire line (DC electrification 600 V)
Funicular line
Total Distance: 2.13 km between Kiyotakigawa and Atago
Track gauge: 1,067 mm (narrow gauge)
Stations: 2
Altitude difference: 638.83 m

Operation Overview

As of revision of September 1, 1942

Flat line
Frequency of service: Every 20 minutes from 6:30 am to 10:00 pm (additional trains provided during Sennichi Mairi (literally, A Thousand Days of Prayer)
Riding time: 11 minutes from end to end
Funicular line
Frequency of service: Every 15 to 30 minutes from 7:00 am to 7:00 pm (additional trains provided during Sennichi Mairi)
Riding time: 11 minutes from end to end

Route Timeline

April 12, 1929: The flat line between Arashiyama and Kiyotaki is brought into service. July 25, 1929: The funicular line between Kiyotaki and Atago is brought into service. April 11, 1941: Saganishi Station is opened at the junction with Japanese National Railways' Sanin Line. December 3, 1943: The railway is designated as "non-essential" by the wartime regime and is expected to be discontinued. January 11, 1944: The flat line is converted to a single-track line. February 11, 1944: The funicular line is closed. December 11, 1944: The flat line is closed.

The Kiyotaki Tunnel was converted into an aircraft parts factory and was operated by Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, Ltd. during the war. In addition, machinery from the funicular line was re-used elsewhere such as for the Kasamatsu Cable Railway (Amanohashidate Funicular Railway).

List of Stations

As of 1941
Flat line
Arashiyama Station - Saganishi Station - Shakado Station - Toriimoto Station - Kiyotaki Station
Funicular line
Kiyotakigawa Station - Atago Station

Atagoyama Railway's Arashiyama Station was constructed alongside of Keifuku Electric Railroad's Arashiyama Station on the Kyoto Dento Main Line (present-day Arashiyama Main Line).

Since there was a significant distance between Atago Station and Atago Shrine, plans for the construction of a funicular line was underway. However, this plan was never realized.

Connecting Lines

As of 1941
Arashiyama Station: Kyoto Dento Main Line (present-day Arashiyama Main Line of Keifuku Electric Railroad) and Hankyu Arashiyama Line of Keihan Electric Railway (present-day Hankyu Corporation)
Saganishi Station: Sanin Main Line (Saga Station; present-day Saga Arashiyama Station) of Japan National Railways (present-day West Japan Railway Company)

Railway Cars

Flat line
Shinkeihan Railway, who had financial ties with Keihan as did Atagoyama Railway, worked to increased the voltage of the overhead power lines. They transferred to Atagoyama Railway five wooden Hankyu Type 37 cars (cars which were used when the Hankyu Senri line opened in 1921), which they no longer needed. The cars were numbered from one to five, and were in service until the line was discontinued. When the line was discontinued, three of the cars were moved to the Keihan Otsu Line and two to the Keifuku Eiheiji Line. They all were used until the 1960's.

Funicular line
Toyo Sharyo Corporation manufactured cars Nos. 1 and 2 (the chassis was provided by ギーゼライベルン), which were used until the funicular line was discontinued.

Current State of Abandoned Railway

The railway was transformed into a road called the Kiyotaki-do Road (consisting of the Utano Arashiyama Yamada Route on the Kyoto Prefectural Road 29, and the Kiyotaki Toriimoto Route on the Kyoto Prefectural Road 137). Currently, the Arashiyama Branch Office of the Kyoto Bus Company provides transportation along these routes. The Kiyotaki Tunnel, which was the single-track tunnel of the flat line, still remains and is now re-used as an one-way alternating traffic road.

Remnants of the funicular line also exist, including the remaining site of Kiyotakigawa Station, the disused railway tracks, and the Atago Station building. The Atago Station building, however, is in a state of near collapse, with two out of the six tunnels inside heavily damaged and in a dangerous condition. Bridges and other concrete structures are seeing the effects of weathering and are in danger of collapse. Some have already collapsed completely on one side, leaving only the cement portion of the rail.

Experienced hikers presently use the path left behind by the abandoned funicular line as a mountain trail to Atago Shrine (Kyoto City). However, because of the dangerous conditions, entering the site without being accompanied by an experienced hiker is not recommended.
(Sections which are completely off-limits do exist.)
Additionally, because the area is outside of the range of cell phone coverage, hikers should not rely upon rescue efforts in the case of an emergency.

Other Facts

The book "Naoki TANEMURA's New Consulting Room for Train Travel - Basics of Train Travel and Fares and Fees" (first published in 1993 from Jiyu Kokumin sha, ISBN 4426548012) mentions that a telephone number of a company called "Atagoyama Cable" was listed in the telephone directory for Kyoto City in 1992. Since Atagoyama Railway was dissolved in 1959, it is believed that "Atagoyama Cable" company is not directly related to the Atagoyama Railway. However, it is not known whether or not this "Atagoyama Cable" is the same company that was planning to revive the funicular line in 1967. As of May 2007, "Atagoyama Cable" is not listed not in the i-TownPage (an Internet telephone directory).