Eizan Electric Railway Co., Ltd (叡山電鉄)
Eizan Electric Railway Co., Ltd. is a railway business operator managing lines between Demachiyanagi Station in Kyoto City's Sakyo Ward and Yase/Kurama. The address of the head office is 25-3 Tanaka-kamiyanagi-cho, Sakyo Ward, Kyoto City, Kyoto Prefecture (adjacent to Demachiyanagi Station). Established as a subsidiary of Keifuku Electric Railroad Co., Ltd., the Eizan Electric Railway has been a wholly owned subsidiary of Keihan Electric Railway since 2002.
The Eizan Electric Railway manages two lines, the Eizan Main Line and the Kurama Line. The number of passengers using these lines (operated by Keifuku Electric Railroad) decreased because more bus routes would go through to the city center and the abandonment of Kyoto City Trams caused the lines to lose connections with other railway tracks. Accordingly, the Keifuku Electric Railroad established the Eizan Electric Railway, thereby separating the management of two lines, the Eizan Main Line and the Kurama Line from the Keifuku Electric Railroad. After the Keihan Oto Line was opened in 1989 to be connected with the Eizan Main Line and the Kurama Line at Demachiyanagi Station, the lines became rejuvenated thanks to the improvement of convenience for passengers from Osaka.
The Eizan Electric Railway is called 'Eiden' for short. This is originated from the Department of Eizan Electric Railway of Kyoto Dento, to which the current Eizan Main Line belonged; thus the name Eiden became commonly used for the Eizan Main Line and the Kurama Line even after the lines came to be owned by the Keifuku Electric Railroad. Through the split-up of the company, the name Eiden literally came to stand as an abbreviation for the company name. Incidentally, an electronics retail store 'EIDEN Co., Ltd.' (whose head office is in Nagoya City) is originated from the former company name 'Eidensha,' but it has nothing to do with the Eizan Electric Railway.
Kyoto Municipal Subway Karasuma Line was extended to Kokusaikaikan Station and bus-route networks were redeveloped around the station, and as a result more residents of the Iwakura area in Sakyo Ward came to use the subway and buses rather than the Eizan Electric Railway to reach the city center; however, the Eizan Electric Railway has been working actively to increase the number of passengers by, for example, introducing Panoramic train 'Kirara' (パノラミック電車「きらら」) and having various kinds of events. The broadcast of 'Yoshitsune' (NHK period drama) in 2005 created a boom in visits to Kurama, resulting in record numbers of tourists in succeeding years.
When the Eizan Electric Railway was established, the Keifuku Electric Railroad was an affiliate company of the Keihan Electric Railway (the Keifuku Electric Railroad remains an affiliate company of the Keihan Electric Railway), but the Keifuku Electric Railroad (Eiden) had a unique characteristic in that the technology in rolling stock showed the strong influence of the Hanshin Electric Railway Co., Ltd. through the introduction of the Dena Type 500. Since becoming independent and the opening of Keihan Oto Line in 1989, the Eizan Electric Railway gradually showed a characteristic of Keihan; particularly, after the Keifuku Electric Railroad sold its shares to the Keihan Electric Railway in 2002 due to the deteriorating conditions caused by the train crash on the Echizen Main Line of the Keifuku Electric Railroad, and became a wholly owned subsidiary of the Keihan Electric Railway, the Eizan Electric Railway has been gradually showing a characteristic of Keihan rather than Keifuku.
The EZ symbol is printed on the KANSAI THRU PASS.
July 6, 1985: The Eizan Electric Railway Co., Ltd. was established. The Eizan Electric Railway was fully funded by Keifuku Electric Railroad Co., Ltd. The capital used for its establishment was 100 million yen.
April 1, 1986: The Eizan Electric Railway began operating the Eizan Main Line and the Kurama Line, which were transferred from Keifuku Electric Railroad Co., Ltd.
November 29, 1991: The Eizan Electric Railway increased its capital through Keihan Electric Railway (holding 60% of shares). The capital was 250 million yen.
October 4, 1997: The panoramic train 'Kirara' began operating.
March 29, 2002: The Eizan Electric Railway became a wholly owned subsidiary of the Keihan Electric Railway.
March 1, 2004: The KANSAI THRU PASS and its corresponding cards came into service on the entire line.
The line's color is green, which has been chosen to represent Mt. Hiei (Hiei-zan)
The top of Mt. Hiei can be reached via the Eizan Cable of the Keifuku Electric Railroad from Yase-Hieizanguchi Station.
The line's color is red, which has been chosen to represent the autumn leaves in Kibune and Mt. Kurama (Kurama-san). Kurama Cable runs on the premises of the Kurama-dera Temple, located near Kurama Station (operated by Kurama-dera Temple).
The line is operated for a special schedule when there are many passengers; it is basically the only transportation, particularly during Kurama Fire Festival held every October 22, when nearly all the cars are employed for operation; but still the passengers have to wait several hours before boarding at peak hour because the Kurama Line, with a limited track capacity, is a single track between Nikenchaya Station (Kyoto Prefecture) and stations to the north of Nikenchaya Station. However, at the same time this prevents the town of Kurama from flooding with people.
Since January 2004 every train throughout the line has run without a conductor on board, except for certain trains.
Since 2007, station signs have been gradually installed in accordance with the line's own color. The station signs employ the line's color along with a symbol mark on which the color is based. The station signs include Korean and Chinese descriptions as well as English descriptions. As of October 2007, half the stations have installed station signs.
Traditionally, the types of each rolling stock are uniquely called 'Dena (デナ),' 'Deo (デオ),' 'Deto (デト)' or the like. As to the type of car used for passenger service, the second letter of katakana 'na (ナ)' stands for 'nakagata,' meaning a middle size, whereas 'o (オ)' stands for 'ogata,' meaning a large size. Note that the type 'Dena (デナ)' disappeared when the car 'Dena Type 21 (デナ21形)' was abandoned in 1995. As to the type of car used for operation, the second letter is based on the type of freight car of Japan National Railways (JNR), and the type 'Dewa (デワ)' also existed during the Keifuku era.
Except for the Dena Type 500, all the cars were newly built for the line (including new bodies). Even 'Deo' of about 16 meters long falls into a small size in Japan today; this is because when the existing cars became old and had to meet the requirement for air conditioning, the Eizan Electric Railway couldn't find suitable cars to be transferred from major private railways.
This led to the following common feature or the creation of a unique car such as 'Kirara.'
In view of maintenance and security in the steeply sloped section, all the existing cars for passenger service are motor-driven and employ drive shafts, being controlled by a combination of resistance control and dynamic braking. Except for a spare car Deo Type 600, a Cardan driving device and an air conditioner are installed. A door for passengers is installed near the edge of a car for convenience in collecting tickets at an unmanned station. As for the Deo Series 800 and Deo Type 900 (which comprise two fixed cars), a door on the connection side is placed inward.
With the previous circumstances, all the existing cars for passenger service were produced by the previous Mukogawa-Sharyo (Hanshin group), while many of the components have been transferred from the Keihan Electric Railway and are reused.
Throughout the Eizan Main Line and the Kurama Line, a standard fare is based on the number of sections, whereas a commuter-pass fare is based on the distance. A standard fare is based on the number of sections, where an additional section is counted by passing each of the Shugakuin, Iwakura (Kyoto Prefecture), Nikenchaya (Kyoto Prefecture) and Ninose stations. An additional section is counted when boarding the train at Kurama Station to change at Takaragaike Station for Yase-Hieizanguchi Station, or in the opposite case. Therefore, boarding from, for example Demachiyanagi Station to Shugakuin Station, a distance of 2.9 km corresponds to one section, but when boarding from Hachiman-mae Station (Kyoto Prefecture) to Miyakehachiman Station, a distance of 1.5 km corresponds to two sections. As for commuter tickets, there are standard adult/child tickets (eleven tickets for the fare equal to ten standard tickets), student discount commuter tickets (adult tickets only, fifteen tickets for the fare equal to ten standard tickets), and discount commuter tickets for elderly (adult tickets only, twenty tickets for the fare equal to ten standard tickets).
Standard fare (as of October 2007)
One section - 200 yen (child: 100 yen)
Two sections - 260 yen (child: 130 yen)
Three sections - 320 yen (child: 160 yen)
Four sections - 370 yen (child: 190 yen)
Five sections - 410 yen (child: 210 yen)
For a mutual base fare section with Keihan (Mototanaka Station - Shugakuin Station and Keihan Jingu-marutamachi Station - Gion-shijo Station), a discount of 20 yen for an adult or 10 yen for a child is applied (passengers are required to buy a connection ticket in advance at an automatic ticket machine. For passengers boarding from the Eizan Electric Railway, tickets are sold at a gate at Demachiyanagi Station during the out-of-service hours of the automatic ticket machine. In the case of the KANSAI THRU PASS, a discount fare is automatically deducted).
Staff are always stationed at Demachiyanagi Station, and automatic ticket gates and automatic ticket machines are always in operation. At Kurama Station, staff are stationed except for the times around the first and last trains, and automatic ticket gates are in operation while staff are stationed. Except for the above stations, staff (a ticket clerk and a ticket examiner) are not stationed. Incidentally, at Kibuneguchi Station and Yase-Hieizanguchi Station, staff are stationed during the tourist season, while at some other stations staff are stationed only at limited times.
At a manned station, passengers buy tickets at the automatic ticket machine and pass them through the automatic ticket gate. Most of the unmanned stations aren't equipped with ticket gates, and thus passengers take a numbered ticket from a numbered ticket issuing machine installed at the entrance of the train when boarding, or pass the KANSAI THRU PASS through a card reader in order to have the station name where they board recorded on their card. Some unmanned stations are equipped with automatic ticket machines in operation for a limited time; when passengers buy tickets in advance at an unmanned station, they may just board the train with the ticket. In some stations, automatic ticket machines are installed inside the automatic ticket gate; passengers can buy tickets with cash on the platform by passing the ticket gate, but they don't need to return to the automatic ticket gate in order to pass the ticket.
At manned stations, passengers buy tickets with cash at the ticket gate or pass the ticket or the KANSAI THRU PASS through an automatic ticket gate. At unmanned stations, the passenger puts a numbered ticket with money or a ticket into a fare collection box beside the driver's seat. A pattern indicating a station where a passenger boards is printed on the numbered ticket, whereby the fare is automatically displayed on the fare collection box at the station where the passenger disembarks. Passengers pass the KANSAI THRU PASS through the card reader. The passenger shows a commuter pass to the driver.
At an unmanned station, the entrance to the train is the rear door, whereas the exit to the platform is the front door. The middle door of a three-door car and the door of the second car when a train comprises two cars are kept closed, except at manned stations. The fare collection box, the card reader and the numbered ticket issuing machine are all installed beside the door on the left side toward the direction of travel.
The one-day pass for Eizan Railways 'Ee Kippu' is sold for 1,000 yen (child: 500 yen) at a ticket office at Demachiyanagi and Kurama Stations and at a commuter pass office at Shugakuin Station. Only by presenting the 'Ee Kippu,' a discount admission fee or entrance fee is applied at shrines, temples or sightseeing facilities along the lines, a free gift is given, or a specific benefit is offered at restaurants or souvenir shops along the lines. The expiration date is printed on the back of the 'Ee Kippu' when passing it through the automatic ticket gate or the card reader on the train. When boarding the train at an unmanned station, the passenger is required to pass it through the card reader only upon boarding for the first time, but when getting off the train at an unmanned station each passenger is required to pass it through the card reader.