Keihan Oto Line (京阪鴨東線)

The Oto Line (鴨東線: pronounced Oto-sen) is a railway of Keihan Electric Railway that connects Sanjo Station in the Higashiyama Ward of Kyoto City, Kyoto Prefecture with Demachiyanagi Station in the Sakyo ward of the same city.

The railway name derives from the fact that the line runs along the east bank (東岸: togan) of the Kamo-gawa River (鴨川: 鴨 is also pronounced as o (ou)), belonging to the Yodo-gawa River system. It was laid below ground along Kawabata-dori Street by the Kamo-gawa River, as an extension of the Keihan Main Line, and the entire line runs underground. Because this line has been repaying the construction cost (about 65 billion yen) since its inauguration, for the line an extra fare of 60 yen is added to the ordinary fare structure by section, and the basic fare between the stations on the line (including the section starting from Sanjo Station toward the direction of Demachiyanagi Station) is 210 yen, which is more expensive than that of the Keihan Main Line (as of 2007).

Railway data

Railway distance (operation kilometers): 2.3 km
Track gauge: 1435 mm
Number of stations: three (including the stations at both ends of the track section)
Double-tracked section: the entire line
Electrified section: the entire line (DC1500V)
Block (railway) system: automatic block system

Types of operations

It is operated in an integrated manner with the Keihan Main Line, and all trains go directly toward Yodoyabashi Station (Osaka). There is no train shuttling within the Oto Line except for two trains that start from Sanjo Station bound for Demachiyanagi Station in the morning. Limited express train service is provided during the daytime on weekdays and all day on holidays; moreover, with the timetable revision of April 16, 2006, local trains are operated all day, and the K-Ltd. Express, express trains and several sub-express trains are operated all hours except for the daytime (the K-Ltd. Express is operated only on weekdays). At Marutamachi Station, the only station that exists in between, express or lower-category trains make stops.

For stops by type of train, please refer to the Keihan Main Line.

History

The operating license of the line was acquired in 1924 by Kyoto Dento, the predecessor of Keifuku Electric Railroad Co., Ltd. Kyoto Dento opened the Eizan-heitan Line (currently the Eizan Main Line of Eizan Electric Railway Co., Ltd.) in 1925; however, it took a lot of time to start the construction because it was impossible to lay the Oto Line on the ground, owing to the fact that the line would inevitably intersect with the Kyoto City Trams at grade and might also detract from the surroundings, and because of the financial conditions of Keifuku Electric Railroad the company wasn't capable of constructing a subway line. Therefore, it had been called the 'Phantom Line' for a long time.

When the project of the Keihan Main Line to under-ground the section running in the Kyoto area started to take shape, finally Keihan Electric Railway and other entities established a company, Kamogawa Electric Railway (in 1972) and started the construction by the Japan National Railway Construction Public Corporation (JRCC) method (exactly the same method as the Kintetsu Higashi-Osaka Line (the current Kintetsu Keihanna Line, the section from Ikoma Station and to the west)). In 1989, Keihan Electric Railway swallowed Kamogawa Electric Railway, and in the same year the railway was inaugurated as the Keihan Oto Line.
Initially, it was planned to provide direct operation from Demachiyanagi Station to the Eizan Main Line of the Eizan Electric Railway (in 1986 it was separated and transferred from Keifuku Electric Railroad to Eizan Electric Railway); however, the plan didn't take shape due to the different gauges and transportation capacities of the two lines,

The inauguration of the Oto Line caused remarkable effects, contributing to the increase not only of commuters along the line but also regular passengers, thanks to the improved accessibility for students to Kyoto University and Doshisha University located near Demachiyanagi Station; additionally, it beneficiated Eizan Electric Railway, which had been suffering severe financial condition due to the decline of passengers, but it promptly recovered its user statistics. Since then, its business performance has been relatively satisfactory and the construction cost also seems to have been steadily reimbursed as scheduled.

Chronology

August 29, 1924: Kyoto Dento (the predecessor of Keifuku Electric Railroad) acquired a license for local railway construction between Demachiyanagi Station and Sanjo Station.

July 1, 1972: Kamogawa Electric Railway was established.

February 20, 1974: The Keifuku Electric Railroad's license for local railway construction between Demachiyanagi Station and Sanjo Station expired.

February 25, 1974: Kamogawa Electric Railway acquired a license for local railway construction between Demachiyanagi Station and Sanjo Station.

November 30, 1984: The groundbreaking ceremony for the construction of the Oto Line was held.

April 1, 1989: Keihan Electric Railway took over Kamogawa Electric Railway.

October 5, 1989: The railway opened as the Oto Line.

October 19, 2008: With the inauguration of the Keihan Nakanoshima Line, Marutamachi Station was scheduled to change its name to Jingu-marutamachi Station, because on the Kyoto Municipal Subway Karasuma Line there is a station with the same name.

List of stations

Sanjo Station (Kyoto Prefecture) - Marutamachi Station - Demachiyanagi Station

Connecting Railways

At Sanjo Station: Keihan Main Line, Kyoto Municipal Subway Tozai Line (Sanjo Keihan Station)
At Demachiyanagi Station: Eizan Main Line of the Eizan Electric Railway