K-Limited Express (K-tokkyu) (K特急)

Introduced in 2003, "K-tokkyu" is a type of train owned by Keihan Electric Railway Co., Ltd., and represents the best type offered by the company. Its English translation is 'K-Limited Express,' and the letter 'K' is formally written in italics ('K').

The K-Limited Express is operated between Demachiyanagi Station and Yodoyabashi Station, and is also operated from Kisaichi Station to Yodoyabashi Station. This train is operated for direct commuters between Kyoto and Osaka, so that on weekdays the round-trip train services are provided until the end of the morning rush hour and after the beginning of the evening rush hour, totaling approximately 30 round-trip services; however, on weekends and holidays there is no service.

On the weekday mornings there is a car for women only within the K-Limited Express (except for 'Orihime' mentioned below), which is placed on side of the train nearer to Demachiyanagi Station.
The train service operated in the morning for Yodoyabashi Station makes a stop at Hirakatashi Station; the letter 'B' is attached at the head of its train number;
for the other trains, the letter 'A' is attached at the head of the train number.

Some say the letter 'K' in 'K-Limited Express' symbolizes 'Keihan (Electric Railway),' but others say it symbolizes 'Kaisoku Tokkyu' (rapid limited express) as the type of train. Additionally, a book asserts that the letter 'K' in 'K-Limited Express Orihime,' which directly connects it with the Katano Line, symbolizes either 'Katanoshi Station' or 'Kisaichi Station'; this is because 'K-Limited Express Orihime' isn't the through train between 'Kei' (Kyoto) and 'Han' (Osaka). Having these various meanings, K-Limited Express seems to lump the inbound-train service in the morning that makes a stop at Hirakatashi Station, which constitutes a commuter limited express, together with the other train service that constitutes a rapid limited express, thus constituting one type of train in operation.

In this section, the description of K-Limited Express is mainly in regard to the type of train. For information on the description of its history, please refer to the article of "Keihan Tokkyu (Keihan Limited Express)."

Introduction process of the K-Limited Express

On September 6, 2003, with the timetable revision, there was an increase in the number of stations at which the Keihan Limited Express stopped, but it was decided that some limited express services should continue the conventional operation only on weekdays (not in operation during the daytime), so these services had to be categorized as a new type of train, which is why the K-Limited Express was introduced. Accordingly, the K-Limited Express is formally publicized as a new type of train, but essentially it's a conventional train in which only its type designation has been changed. There are examples of similarity to the K-Limited Express, such as 'Meitetsu-tokkyu' (Nagoya Railroad's rapid limited express and limited express--some cars of a limited express train are those where seat reservation is required) running on Nagoya Main Line in the section between Meitetsu Gifu Station and Toyohashi Station, or the 'Kaisoku-tokkyu Keisei Dentetsu' (Keisei Electric Railway's rapid limited express) running on the Keisei Main Line. Additionally, the K-Limited Express--which started operating on September 8, 2003--marked the first introduction of a new type of train in 43 years within the Keihan Electric Railway after the express introduced in March 1960. Moreover, in regard to the K-Limited Express that starts from Kisaichi Station and directly connects with the Keihan Katano Line, a nickname was requested from the public and 'Orihime' was chosen. Partly because the Katano area is related to 'Tanabata' (the Japanese traditional festival held on July 7), 42 votes were won out of approximately 1000 in a popularity vote.

The K-Limited Express running on the Keihan Main Line and Keihan Oto Line

Since its introduction, the K-Limited Express train service has operated only on weekdays in the section between Demachiyanagi Station and Yodoyabashi Station. Basically, the train uses Keihan Electric Railway Series (KERS) 8000 & KERS 3000 rolling stock, and during the morning rush hour the KERS 9000, KERS 6000 and KERS 7200 are also used. Incidentally, having no reserve rolling stock, the KERS 9000 is replaced by the KERS 6000 or KERS 7200 when it can't be used for whatever reason, such as when it's being inspected at the stock yard.

The K-Limited Express running on this line is essentially a nonstop train between Kyoto and Osaka, except for the train running during the morning rush hour for Yodoyabashi Station, because Chushojima Station and Tanbabashi Station, at which the K-Limited Express stops, are located in Kyoto City. Also, during the Gion Festival and Daimonji Gozan Okuribi (Mountain Bon Fire), the KERS 9000 is operated as the special train after the evening time period.

From now on, the Keihan Nakanoshima Line's rapid express, whose rolling stock is the KERS 3000 (second generation) will be used as the temporary replacement train and the special train.

The 'K-Limited Express (K-tokkyu) Orihime' directly connecting with the Katano Line

Introduced as a competitor to the train on the JR Katamachi Line, the 'K-Limited Express Orihime' starts from Kisaichi Station bound for Yodoyabashi Station. It was the first regular train to directly connect the Keihan Main Line with the Katano Line. The rolling stock used is KERS 2600. KERS 2600 is used because it's equipped with the rollsign 'Limited Express' (the rollsign 'K-Limited Express' is not equipped, therefore it cannot be displayed) and because the platforms on the Katano Line can accommodate a train made up of five cars at most, owing to their effective lengths. While in operation, the train displays the signboard 'Through K-Limited Express Orihime' in its front car. Two trains of KERS 7200 can have their rolling stock made up of five cars, but these trains haven't been used as 'K-Limited Express Orihime'; moreover, the KERS 7200 is equipped with the rollsign 'K-Limited Express,' so it can show the rollsign on its front car. The KERS 1900 train is also made up of five cars, but it's equipped neither with the rollsign 'K-Limited Express' nor with 'Limited Express,' so this rolling stock is basically not in operation, but on the occasion of events and the like it's exceptionally in operation, displaying the limited express emblem of a pigeon and the signboard in its front car.
The details are as follows:

September 8, 2003: The 'K-Limited Express Orihime' was operated for the first time; the rolling stock was Keihan Electric Railway Type (KERT) 1919/1920, and the cars of the train were painted with the design of the limited express. March 12, 2004: The KERS 1900 (KERT 1919/1920) which was painted with the design of the limited express had a farewell event (due to the change of the regular trains). July 7, 2004/July 7, 2005/July 7, 2006: 'K-Limited Express Orihime' was used in the event commemorating 'Tanabata'; the rolling stock used in 2004 was KERT 1919/1920, in 2005 it was KERT 1917/1918, and in 2006 it was KERT 1929/1930. September 6, 2004: The operation of the train was changed due to the earthquake the day before, and the emblem of a pigeon wasn't displayed on the front car; at that time the cars of KERT 1919/1920 were painted with the design of PiTaPa Card (an IC card) for the sake of its promotion. July 8, 2005: The signboard design on the front car was changed; the new design was made public the day before at an event commemorating the folklore of "Tanabata."

January 4, 2006: The problem of rolling stock caused the disruption of the train schedule, so one train of KERS 10000 was exceptionally used as the K-Limited Express 'Orihime'; it was the first time that a K-Limited Express made up of four cars was used.

April 17, 2006 - The rolling stock of KERT 1917/1918 was operated to commemorate the timetable revision implemented on the previous day. May 18, 2006: KERT 1917/1918 was operated for the last time to commemorate the retirement of that rolling stock. July 26, 2006: The KERS 1900 was unexpectedly used as "K-Limited Express Orihime," but the limited express emblem of a pigeon wasn't displayed. The rolling stock used was KERT 1919/1920, and the cars of the train were painted with the general design, and the subordinate signboard commemorating the fiftieth anniversary of the operation was displayed in the front car. October 22, 2006: An extraordinary operation of the KERS 10000, whose cars were painted with the design of "Thomas the Tank Engine," was done to commemorate the "Day of Railroads." In the front car, the train displayed the signboards of "Through K-Limited Express Orihime" and 'Teppi' (a fictional mascot used to commemorate the Day of Railroads), but the rollsign indicated "Limited Express."
(It departed Kisaichi Station at 9:33 and arrived at Tenmabashi Station at 10:14; in operation for the first time on a holiday)

January 21, 2007: An extraordinary operation of the KERS 10000, the cars of which were painted with the design of "Thomas the Tank Engine," was done to commemorate its last operation. In the front car, the train displayed the signboards "Through K-Limited Express Orihime" and 'Thank you' (to commemorate the train's retirement, but the rollsign read "Limited Express."
(It departed Kisaichi Station at 11:07 and arrived at Tenmabashi Station at 11:44; in operation for the second time on a holiday)

July 9, 2007: The signboard design on the front car was changed for the second time; the new design was made public two days before the date, or July 7, at the event commemorating the folklore of "Tanabata."

April 16, 2006: With the timetable revised, the departure time of each train during the morning rush hour was made 20 minutes earlier.

For the details of the rolling stock, please refer to the description under the heading, 'Rolling stock used.'

Stops

The K-Limited Express running on the Keihan Main Line and Keihan Oto Line
Yodoyabashi Station - Kitahama Station (Osaka Prefecture) - Tenmabashi Station - Kyobashi Station (Osaka Prefecture) - Hirakatashi Station (for the train service in the morning bound for Yodoyabashi Station only) - Chushojima Station - Tanbabashi Station - Shichijo Station - Gion-shijo Station (Keihan) - Sanjo Station (Kyoto Prefecture) - Demachiyanagi Station
The 'K-Limited Express (K-tokkyu) Orihime' directly connecting with the Katano Line
Kisaichi Station - Kawachimori Station - Katanoshi Station - Kozu Station - Murano Station - Hoshigaoka Station (Osaka Prefecture) - Miyanosaka Station - Hirakatashi Station - Kyobashi Station (Osaka Prefecture) - Tenmabashi Station - Kitahama Station (Osaka Prefecture) - Yodoyabashi Station
Within the section of the Katano Line, the train stops at every station.

The K-Limited Express running on the Keihan Main Line and Keihan Oto Line

Keihan Electric Railway Series 8000
Keihan Electric Railway Series 3000: This is the first generation. It is due to be incorporated into KERS 8000.

Keihan Electric Railway Series 9000
Keihan Electric Railway Series 6000
Keihan Electric Railway Series 7200 (except for 7203F)
KERS 3000 (the second generation): This is due to be used as a temporary replacement train for the KERS 9000 and the special train.

The 'K-Limited Express (K-tokkyu) Orihime' directly connecting with the Katano Line

Keihan Electric Railway Series 2600 (only five cars for the prototype)
Keihan Electric Railway Series 1900: This is due to be used during events or as a temporary replacement train. Keihan Electric Railway Series 10000: This is the same as the above.

Departure melodies

On June 17, 2007, the new departure melodies composed by Minoru MUKAIYA were introduced at 17 stations on the Keihan Main Line, Keihan Oto Line, Katano Line and Uji Line; there are departure melodies for the K-Limited Express only, which are played at Demachiyanagi Station, Kyobashi Station (the platform of the inbound train only) and Kisaichi Station. You can't hear these melodies on weekends and holidays because there is no service of the K-Limited Express on those days. At Demachiyanagi Station, the departure melody of 'Keihan Tokkyu - Demachiyanagi-kara' (Keihan Tokkyu - from Demachiyanagi Station) is played, and at Kyobashi Station, the departure melody of 'Keihan Tokkyu - Asamoya no Kyobashi de Norikae' (Keihan Tokkyu - Transfer at Kyobashi Station veiled in the morning haze) is played.