Maizuru Line (舞鶴線)

The Maizuru Line is a regional branch line railway, owned by West Japan Railway Company (JR West), that runs from Ayabe Station in Ayabe City, Kyoto Prefecture, to Higashi-Maizuru Station in Maizuru City, Kyoto Prefecture.

It was constructed to serve Maizuru, which had grown as a naval port following the installation of an Imperial Naval base. Once crowded with departing and repatriated soldiers, the railway is now used by people traveling to the Maizuru area on business or for sightseeing trips to Tango province in northern Kyoto Prefecture and Reinan in southern Fukui Prefecture.

Railway data

Operator (business classification): West Japan Railway Company (railway business operator)

Track length (operating distance): 26.4 km

Track gauge: 1067 mm

Number of stations: 6 (including the starting and destination stations)

Double-tracked section: none (the entire line is single-tracked)

Electrified section: the entire line (DC 1500 V)

Track Block system: single track with automatic block system

The entire line is now under the direct control of West Japan Railway Company's Fukuchiyama Branch; from April of 1991 to June of 2006, control had been delegated to the Fukuchiyama Branch's Maizuru Railway Division.

Services

Between Kyoto Station and Higashi-Maizuru Station, the 'Maizuru' and 'Tango Discovery' Limited Expresses provide 7 inbound services and 8 outbound ones per day. Furthermore, to meet tourist demand on weekends, holidays and during the summer vacation season, the 'Maizuru' provides one round-trip service from Higashi-Maizuru Station to Obama Station on the Obama Line.

Unlike other limited expresses to the Kitakinki region, trains on the Maizuru Line do not go to Osaka; though the 'Edel-kitakinki' used to run on the Maizuru Line from Osaka to Higashi-Maizuru Station. Incidentally, the distance between Higashi-Maizuru Station and Osaka Station is slightly shorter via Kyoto Station (145.4 km) than via Fukuchiyama Station (152.9 km).

There are also many local trains between Fukuchiyama Station and Higashi-Maizuru Station via Ayabe Station and some of them, called 'Relay Trains,' connect at Ayabe Station with the Sanin Main Line limited express, meaning the Maizuru Line operates at least one train for Kyoto Station every hour. In addition to the trains that connect directly with the Obama Line, there is one round-trip service on the section between Nishi-Maizuru Station and Higashi-Maizuru Station. All trains run with only a driver, although some occasionally have a conductor as well.

Formerly, there was a single rapid train service in the morning from Higashi-Maizuru Station to Ayabe Station, stopping only at Nishi-Maizuru Station, but since the train schedule was changed on October 21, 2006, there has been none.

Before electrification, a 'Circulation Train around 4 Cities' once existed,' which circulated around Fukuchiyama City, Ayabe City, Maizuru City and Miyazu City by way of Sanin Main Line, Maizuru Line, and Kitakinki Tango Railway (KTR) Miyazu & Miyafuku Line. The route was as follows.

Fukuchiyama Station=>(via the Sanin Main Line)=>Ayabe Station=>(via the Maizuru Line)=>Nishi-Maizuru Station=>(via the KTR Miyazu Line)=>Miyazu Station=>(via the KTR Miyafuku Line)=>Fukuchiyama Station=>(via Sanin the Main Line)=>Ayabe Station=>(via the Maizuru Line)=>Nishi-Maizuru Station
(On the return journey) Nishi-Maizuru Station=>(via the Maizuru Line)=>Ayabe Station=>(via the Sanin Main Line)=>Fukuchiyama Station=>(via the KTR Miyafuku Line)=>Miyazu Station=>(via the KTR Miyazu Line)=>Nishi-Maizuru Station

In addition, before the electrification of the section between Kyoto Station and Sonobe Station on what is now the Sagano Line, there were direct local trains between Kyoto Station and Higashi-Maizuru Station which switched back at Ayabe Station in addition to limited expresses and expresses.

Rolling stock

JNR/JR 183 Series Limited Express

KTR 8000 Type Diesel Limited Express (also used on the KTR Miyazu Line)

JNR/JR 113 Series Suburban Train

JNR/JR 115 Series Suburban Train

JR West 125 Series Suburban Train (also used, without a conductor, on the Obama Line from Higashi-Maizuru Station to Nishi-Maizuru Station)

Former rolling stock

JNR 9600 Type Steam Locomotive (this rolling stock belonged to Nishi-Maizuru Railway Yard, i.e. the present KTR Nishi-Maizuru Railway Yard)

These engines ran between Amino Station on the former JNR/JR Miyazu Line (present day KTR Miyazu Line) and Ayabe Station.

JNR DE 10 Type Diesel Locomotive

These engines commonly operated as freight trains on the former JNR/JR Miyazu Line (the present day KTR Miyazu Line) and the Maizuruko Line, a line exclusively for freight transportation that connected Nishi-Maizuru Station with Maizuruko Station (formerly Umi-Maizuru Station) and ceased operating on March 14, 1985. One of the rolling stock (No. 1104) was sold to Sagano Scenic Railway, a group company of West Japan Railway Company (JR West), given the name 'Romantic Train Sagano' and pulls the sight-seeing train between Saga Torokko Station and Kameoka Torokko Station; and the other rolling stock is owned by JR West's Toyooka Railway Division and used as a special train for a group passengers and a rail exchange train.

JNR Kiha 17 Series Diesel Car

This rolling stock commonly operated on the former JNR/JR Miyazu Line (the present day KTR Miyazu Line), the Maizuru Line and the Naka-Maizuru Line, which ceased operating on November 1, 1972.

JNR/JR Kiha 20 Series Diesel Car

This rolling stock commonly operated on the Obama Line, the former JNR/JR Miyazu Line (the present day KTR Miyazu Line), the Sanin Main Line and the Maizuru Line.

JNR/JR Kiha 55 Series Diesel Car

This rolling stock, as the Semi-Expresses (and later, Express) 'Tanba' and 'Wakasa,' also ran on the Sanin Main Line, and later it ran on the JNR/JR Miyazu Line (the present day KTR Miyazu Line).

JNR/JR Kiha 58 Series Diesel Car

This rolling stock, mostly as the Express 'Tango,' commonly operated on the Sanin Main Line, the Obama Line, the former JNR/JR (later KTR) Miyazu Line and the Maizuru Line, and even after its regular operation was ended on March 16, 1996, the train without a conductor continued running for more than 30 years until the line became electrified on October 2, 1999.

JNR/JR second generation Kiha 40 Series Diesel Car

This rolling stock commonly operated on the Sanin Main Line, the former JNR/JR Miyazu Line (the present KTR Miyazu Line), the Obama Line and the Maizuru Line. JNR/JR Kiha 47 Type Diesel Cars, which had two pairs of double doors and belonged to Fukuchiyama Railway Yard (the present day JR West Fukuchiyama Railway Yard), commonly operated from Higashi-Maizuru Station and southward (in the direction of Ayabe & Fukuchiyama Stations), and JNR/JR Kiha 48 Type Diesel Cars, which had two single doors, belonged to Tsuruga Railway Yard (the present JR West Tsuruga Railway Yard's Branch in Fukui Region's Railway Division), and was shared among the Maizuru Line, the Hokuriku Main Line (from Omi-Shiozu Station to the Tokaido Main Line Hikone Station via Maibara Station), and the Kosei Line (to Omi-Imazu Station) commonly operated from Higashi-Maizuru Station and northward (in the direction of Obama & Tsuruga Station).

JNR/JR Kiha 82 Series Diesel Limited Express

This rolling stock ran on the Sanin Main Line and JNR's Miyazu Line as the Limited Express 'Asashio' until 1982.

JNR/JR Limited Express Diesel Cars Series Kiha 181

This rolling stock, mostly as the Limited Express 'Asashio,' was shared among the Sanin Main Line, the former JNR/JR (later KTR) Miyazu Line and the Maizuru Line, and even after its regular operation was ended on March 16, 1996, it continued running during high season as the Special Limited Express 'Tango.'
It still occasionally runs on the Maizuru Line as a train for a group of passengers.

(The Kiha Types 82 and 181 belonged to Hyuga Railway Yard, which is now JR West Kyoto General Railway Yard, and some of the Kiha 58 & 28 types and all of the Kiha 48 Type engines belonged to Tsuruga Railway Yard, which is now JR West Fukui Region Railway Division's Tsuruga Railway Branch Yard; the other rolling stock belonged to Fukuchiyama Railway Yard, which is now JR West Fukuchiyama Railway Yard.)

Passenger Use

Almost all trains run the entire line, but most passengers use Higashi-Maizuru Station and Nishi-Maizuru Station, both of which serve Maizuru, a major city in northern Kyoto Prefecture, with the other stations, except Nishi-Maizuru Station, being used by fewer people. In addition, because central and prefectural government agencies, as well as companies' branches and offices, are located in Maizuru City, the limited expresses, as well as the local 'Relay Trains' that connect with them, are mainly used by business commuters, while the other local trains are mainly used for commuting to school. Following its electrification and reopening in October 1999, the number of passengers using the Maizuru Line steadily increased, but figures have been declining slightly in recent years.

History

Originally, the Maizuru Line was a joint plan between the Hankaku Railway Company and the Kyoto Railway Company but with the Russo-Japanese War looming, the Japanese government needed to bring the schedule forward, so the government took over and opened the line, which ran from Fukuchiyama Station to Shin-Maizuru Station (present day Higashi-Maizuru Station) via Ayabe Station, and branch lines, in 1904 and then leased it to the Hankaku Railway Company. The branch lines, including the Maizuruko Line (between Nishi-Maizuru Station and Maizuruko Station) and the Naka-Maizuru Line (between Higashi-Maizuru Station and Naka-Maizuru Station), which transported departing and repatriated soldiers, had all ceased operating by 1985.

Timeline

November 3, 1904: Line between Fukuchiyama Station and Shin-Maizuru Station, via Ayabe Station, opened by Japan National Railways (distance between Ayabe Station and Shin-Maizuru Station - 16.4 miles ≒ 26.39 km). Line was leased concurrently to Hankaku Railway Company. Ayabe Station, Umezako Station, Maizuru Station (present day Nishi-Maizuru Station) and Shin-Maizuru Station (present day Higashi-Maizuru Station) opened on the section constituting the present day Maizuru Line. Military railway opened between Maizuru Station and Maizuru Coast Freight Office Station.

August 1, 1907: Hankaku Railway Company nationalized.

November 1: Establishment of operating distance (1.0 M ≒ 1.61 km) between Maizuru Station and Maizuru Coast Freight Office Station. Maizuru Coast Freight Office Station officially opened.

October 12, 1909: Line named Hankaku Line for some sections, including from Kanzaki Station (present day JR West Amagasaki Station) to Shin-Maizuru Station, via Fukuchiyama Station and from Maizuru Station to Maizuru Coast Freight Office Station.

March 1, 1912: Line from Ayabe Station to Shin-Maizuru Station and from Maizuru Station to Maizuru Coast Freight Office Station separated and renamed Maizuru Line.

April 10, 1913: Maizuru Coast Freight Office Station renamed Umi-Maizuru Station. Start of passenger service between Maizuru Station and Umi-Maizuru Station.

July 21, 1919: Branch line (Naka-Maizuru Line) between Shin-Maizuru Station and Naka-Maizuru Station (2.1 M ≒ 3.38 km) opened. Tomon Station (later Kitasui Station) and Naka-Maizuru Station opened.

April 12, 1924: End of passenger service between Maizuru Station and Umi-Maizuru Station.

June 1, 1929: Nakasuji Signal Station opened between Umezako Station and Maizuru Station.

April 1, 1930: Operating distances changed from miles to meters (from Ayabe Station to Shin-Maizuru Station 16.4 M=>26.4 km; from Maizuru Station to Umi-Maizuru Station 1.0 M=>1.8 km; from Shin-Maizuru Station to Naka-Maizuru Station 2.1 M=>3.4 km). Branch line for freight transportation between Shin-Maizuru Station and Shin-Maizuruko Station (1.3 km) opened. Freight depot Shin-Maizuruko Station opened.

June 1, 1939: Shin-Maizuru Station renamed Higashi-Maizuru Station and Shin-Maizuruko Station renamed Higashi-Maizuruko Station.

September 1, 1941: Branch line between Higashi-Maizuru Station and Higashi-Maizuruko Station closed. Freight depot Higashi-Maizuruko Station closed.

April 1, 1944: Maizuru Station renamed Nishi-Maizuru Station.

September 1, 1946: Tomon Station renamed Kitasui Station.

September 1, 1951: Nakasuji Signal Station upgraded and reopened as Magura Station.

March 29, 1960: Fuchigaki Station opened.

October 1, 1966: Umi-Maizuru Station renamed Maizuruko Station.

November 1, 1972: Naka-Maizuru Line (3.4 km) closed. Kitasui Station and Naka-Maizuru Station closed.

March 14, 1985: Maizuruko Line (1.8 km) closed. Freight depot Maizuruko Station closed.

April 1, 1987: Division and privatization of JNR gave birth to West Japan Railway Company, which took over the Maizuru Line. And Japan Freight Railway Company became a railway company that operated between Umezako Station and Higashi-Maizuru Station. Freight service between Ayabe Station and Umezako Station discontinued.

April 1, 1991: Establishment of Maizuru Railway Division. Start of driver-only service.

March 31, 1999: Japan Freight Railway Company ended Type ⅡRailway Business (between Umezako Station and Higashi-Maizuru Station).

October 2: Line between Ayabe Station and Higashi-Maizuru Station electrified. Start of Limited Express 'Maizuru' service (between Kyoto Station and Higashi-Maizuru Station).

July 1, 2006: Maizuru Railway Division closed and Maizuru Line put back under the direct control of Fukuchiyama Branch.

Closed Sections

The name of each station is that at the time of closure. The figure in parentheses shows the operating distance from the starting point.

Branch line for freight transportation (Maizuruko Line)

Nishi-Maizuru Station (0.0 km) -- Maizuruko Station (freight depot) (1.8 km)

Branch line (Naka-Maizuru Line)

Higashi-Maizuru Station (0.0 km) -- Kitasui Station (1.6 km) -- Naka-Maizuru Station (3.4 km)

Branch line for freight transportation

Higashi-Maizuru Station (0.0 km) -- Higashi-Maizuruko Station (freight depot) (1.3 km)