Kaya Tetsudo (Kaya Railway) (加悦鉄道)
"Kaya Tetsudo" refers to the railway which connected Tango Yamada Station (the present Nodagawa Station of Kitakinki Tango Railway Miyazu Line) located at Nodagawa Town (the present Yosano Town), Yosa County, Kyoto Prefecture, with Kaya Station located at Kaya Town (the present Yosano Town) in the Yosa County. On May 1, 1985, the whole operation of the railway was ended.
The railway connected Tango Yamada Station with its southwestward town Kaya Town. At first, the line was opened mainly for transporting Tango "chirimen" (silk crepe, which was the specialty produced in the area along the line) to the "Keihanshin area" (the area including Kyoto, Osaka and Kobe), and the line also provided passenger traffic service. Afterward, mining of nickel was begun on Oe-yama mountain range, which was located to the southwest of Kaya Station, and so, in 1940, the railway to the mine, exclusively used for freight transportation, was opened. In 1942, an industry track was also opened, which connected Tango Yamada Station with the nickel refinery (Nippon Yakin Kogyo Co., Ltd's Oe Factory), located at Iwataki Town (the town to the northeast of Tango Yamada Station).
After World War Ⅱ, mining of nickel on Oe-yama mountain range was ended, and so, the industry track between Kaya Station and Oe-yama Mine Station was removed, although the legal procedure of the abolition was put off until the whole operation of Kaya Railway was ended. Nevertheless, the industry track to the factory at Iwataki Town continued its operation to transport the nickel ore that was imported from abroad and refined at the factory. The passenger traffic of Kaya Tetsudo decreased owing to the progress of motorization. Meanwhile, Kaya Tetsudo attracted many fans, because it was known as the storehouse of rare and novel trains, such as the classic steam locomotive produced in the Meiji and Taisho periods, the train made up of wooden two-axle coaches called 'matchbox,' and JNR/JR Diesel Cars Series Kiha 08 purchased from the Japan National Railways (JNR). Soon the company came to make efforts, such as sales of train-related goods, to make itself an attractive railway.
However, on March 14, 1985, the freight transportation on the Miyazu Line was ended with the change of the timetable of JNR, so nickel transportation via the railway was ended. Therefore, the industry track between Tango Yamada Station and Iwataki Factory Station was forced to be abolished. This meant that the commission of transportation, which occupied 60 % of all railway income, would be lost, and its deficits were expected to increase greatly, so the whole operation of the railway was ended on May 1 of that year.
Incidentally, even before the railway operations were ended, Kaya Railway Co., Ltd. (the company that ran the railway) entered not only the route bus business, but also - uniquely for a railway company - the business of automobile maintenance and repair and the business of construction. After the railway operation was ended, the company changed its name into Kaya Kosan Co., Ltd. and did business such as managing 'Kaya Steam Locomotive Square,' which are facilities for preserving and exhibiting cars of the train. In 1999, the company divided itself and transferred its route bus business to Kaya Fellow Line Co., Ltd. When the company was founded, it was involved in the transportation of nickel ore, so it is an affiliated company of Nippon Yakin Kogyo Co., Ltd, and therefore these two have the same company crest.
Railway distance (operation kilometers): between Tango Yamada Station and Kaya Station, 5.7km
Track gauge: 1067mm
Number of stations: 6 (including the starting station and the final station, and the stations on the industry track are excluded)
Double-tracked section: nonexistent (the entire line is single-tracked)
Electrified section: nonexistent (the entire line is non-electrified)
Block (railway) system: tablet and ticket system
May 5, 1925: Kaya Railway Co., Ltd. was founded. December 5, 1926: The railway operation between Tango Yamada Station and Kaya Station was initiated. December 5, 1930: Migochiguchi Station was opened. July 28, 1939: The management of the company was left to Oye-yama Nickel Mining Company, which was merged into its parent company Nippon Yakin Kogyo Co., Ltd. in 1943. August 10, 1939: The transportation of nickel ore began. October 14, 1942: The side track to the factory at Iwataki Town was completed, and the through transportation from the nickel mine to the factory began. April 8, 1970: Kayadani-koko-mae Station was opened. February 1, 1984: The transportation of freight was ended. May 1, 1985: The railway operation between Tango Yamada Station and Kaya Station was ended.
* Tango Yamada Station was renamed as Nodagawa Station on April 1, 1985, after Kaya Railway ended its operations.
List of stations
(Iwataki Factory Station) - Nodagawa Station - Mitoya Station - Tango Yotsutsuji Station - Kyoto Prefectural Kayadani-kotogakko-mae Station - Migochiguchi Station - Migochi Station - Kaya Station - (Oe-yama Mine Station)
* The railway sections between Iwataki Factory Station and Tango Yamada Station and between Kaya Station and Oe-yama Mine Station were the industry tracks operated by Nippon Yakin Kogyo Co., Ltd.
Tango Yamada Station: The Japan National Railways Miyazu Line (when it was in operation)
Situation after the abolition of the railway
After the abolition, the site of the railway track was remodeled as a cycling path (Kyoto Prefectural Road 803, Kaya-Iwataki Cycling Path). It was Kaya Kosan Co., Ltd. that undertook the work of remodeling.
Even before the railway abolition, Kaya Station was remodeled as 'Kaya Steam Locomotive Square,' and the cars of the train used by Kaya Railway, such as the diesel car and the Steam Locomotive No. 2 made in Britain, were on display. In 1996, Kaya Steam Locomotive Square was transferred from the site of Kaya Station to the site of Oe-yama Mine Station.
In June 2005, Steam Locomotive No. 2 (also called Steam Locomotive Type 123 in the age of "Tetsudoin" [Railway Bureau], or Steam Locomotive Type 120 in the age of JNR) was designated as an important cultural asset.