Shinkeihan Railway (新京阪鉄道)

The Shinkeihan Railway was a company that owned lines in Kyoto and Osaka prefectures. It built the railway lines which are today known as the Hankyu Kyoto Line.

History

The Shinkeihan Railway was established as a subsidiary of the Keihan Electric Railway in order to build a new line on the western shore of the Yodo-gawa River.

Since the mid-Taisho period, the Hanshin Main Line operated by the Hanshin Electric Railway and the Hankyu Kobe Line operated by the Hanshin Electric Express Railway (or Hankyu) had been fiercely competing for customers between Osaka and Kobe. Having observed this competition since the Mino-Arima Electric Tramline (Mino-Arima Denki Kido Company), the forerunner of the Hanshin Electric Express Railway, applied for a license to build a new railway line between Osaka and Kobe, the Keihan Electric Railway was seriously concerned about the possibility that a competitor might appear and jeopardize its interests in the Keihan Main Line, which it owned.

Around this time, various companies were developing plans to build new high-standard railway lines along the right bank of the Yodo-gawa River, and the Keihan Electric Railway also applied for a license to build a new line based on the Local Railways Act in order to defend its interests. The license was granted by the Ministry of Railways, which was also concerned about the possibility of serious competition like that which arose between Osaka and Kobe; moreover, the Shinkeihan Railway was established as a subsidiary of the Keihan Electric Railway in order to build the new line thus proposed.

The original plan was to build a general terminal station in Umeda to be shared with the Keihan Main Line; however, since the plan was unlikely to go into effect immediately due to various circumstances, the Keihan Electric Railway acquired the Kita-Osaka Electric Railway, which owned the railway line that ran from Juso Station to Awaji Station and Senriyama Station, in order to build a temporary terminal in Tenjinbashi (Tenroku), Osaka City, using the license held by the company.

Although Tenjinbashi Station was built as a temporary terminal, it was the first station built in a high-rise building--an extraordinary feat at the time--with platforms on its second floor, and was modeled after the inter-urban railway terminals built by American companies like the Pacific Electric Railway. Along with the design of the reinforced concrete viaduct that ran from the station to immediately before the Shin-Yodogawa Bridge, the concept and basic design of this station had a considerable influence on the railroad-line plans of the second-generation inter-urban express railways that were subsequently operated in Japan.

Meanwhile, a subway line was originally planned to be constructed to extend the line into Kyoto City; however, due to the large investment of time and money involved in the construction work--and particularly due to the enthronement ceremony of Emperor Showa, which was scheduled to be held at the Kyoto Imperial Palace--a plan was made to build a temporary terminal station in a suburb (Sai-mura, Kadono-gun) of Kyoto City and to provide access from there to the downtown area using the Kyoto City Tram service or Kyoto City Bus service.

In 1928, the company started railway service between Tenjinbashi Station and Saiin Station, but in 1930 it was merged into the Keihan Electric Railway. The parent company, Keihan Electric Railway, had a huge amount of liability as a result of its active investment in various areas during the Showa Depression, so the merger was aimed at consolidating the two companies for business reorganization. The underground extension of the line into Kyoto City was achieved in 1931, soon after the merger, when the line was extended to Omiya Station (Kyoto Prefecture). While the Keihan Group had a plan to extend the railway line to Nagoya, the plan was canceled as a result of the depression.

The Shinkeihan Railway built railroads and trains in accordance with the highest standards of the time. Hankyu Train Model 100, whose manufacture was started in 1927, was the largest, most powerful high-speed train manufactured in Japan at the time, with a total length of nineteen meters, a weight of fifty-two tons and a capacity of 800 horsepower. There is an anecdote about this train model, according to which it outstripped the special express train Tsubame on a section of a line running parallel to the Japan National Railway Company's Tokaido Main Line. This high-performance train model was created due to the fact that areas along the Shinkeihan railway line were sparsely populated, so the company could attract new customers only by specializing in inter-urban transportation.

In 1943, during the Second World War, the Keihan Electric Railway and Hanshin Electric Express Railway were merged into a single company called the Keihanshin Express Railway (which was renamed the Hankyu Corporation in 1973). After the end of the war, when the Keihan Railway split from the Keihanshin Express Railway in 1949, former Shinkeihan railway lines remained in the possession of the Hankyu Corporation and were operated as the Kyoto Line, the Senri Line and the Hankyu Arashiyama Line. In 1945, before the Keihan Railway became independent, the Shinkeihan Line was extended to Umeda, which is believed to have been one of the reasons the former Shinkeihan lines remained in the possession of the Hankyu Corporation.

Given such circumstances, the lines that were part of the Kyoto Line differed in many respects from the lines that the Hankyu Corporation developed on its own, based on the Tramways Ordinance or the Tramways Act. Even today, lines that are part of the Kobe and Hankyu Takarazuka lines, which were built by the Hankyu Railway, are sometimes subsumed under a single general category--the Jinpo Line--to distinguish them from the lines that are part of the former Kyoto Line.

History of the Shinkeihan Railway's Establishment

April 16, 1918: The Keihan Electric Railway applied for a license to build a branch line on the western edge of the Yodo-gawa River (Yodogawa Seigan Line) based on the Tramways Ordinance.

December 27, 1918, The company submitted an additional request for permission to extend its line through Yamazaki, Nagaoka, Katsura, Nishikyogoku and Saiin to Shijo Omiya.

July 21, 1919: A license with government orders was issued to the Keihan Electric Railway.

February 21, 1920: The Keihan Electric Railway submitted a request that the Joto Line be sold to the company.

May 20, 1920: An unofficial approval was given to the Keihan Electric Railway to purchase the Joto Line from the government.

May 24, 1920: The Keihan Electric Railway submitted a request to change the starting point of the Yodogawa Seigan Line in Osaka to Hamura-cho, Kita Ward.

November 14, 1921: The Keihan Electric Railway changed its tramway license to a local railway license.

April 25, 1922: the Keihan Electric Railway obtained permission to operate railways based on the Local Railway Act.

Shinkeihan Railway

June 28, 1922: The Shinkeihan Railway was established.

April 1, 1923: The Shinkeihan Railway started its railway business as the successor to the Kita-Osaka Electric Railway.

June 18, 1923: The Shinkeihan Railway obtained a license to operate the railway line between Awaji and Kamishinjo.

September 5, 1923: The Shinkeihan Railway obtained a license to build a local railway line between Juso and Hiejima.

May 13, 1924: The Shinkeihan Railway obtained a license to operate the local railway line between Nagaokatenjin and Yanagidani Kannon.

June 15, 1925: The Shinkeihan Railway submitted a plan to build a second branch line that ran between Nishi-Suita and Takatsuki.

October 15, 1925: The railway service between Tenjinbashi and Awaji started. March 22, 1926: The Shinkeihan Railway submitted a plan for the second branch line, incorporating certain changes.

July 5, 1926: The construction of the railway line between Shimoshinjo and Shojaku commenced.

September 15, 1926: The construction of the railway line between Ibaraki-cho and Takatsuki-cho was started.

September 27, 1926: The Shinkeihan Railway concluded an agreement with Kyoto City to build a subway line between Saiin and Shijo Kawaramachi.

December 1, 1926: The construction of the line between Takatsuki-cho and Shimamoto-mura was started.

January 28, 1927: The construction of the line between Shojaku and Ibaraki-cho was started.

September 1927: The construction of the line between Oyamazaki and Mukomachi was initiated.

October 18, 1927: the Shinkeihan Railway obtained a license to operate the railway line between Omiya and Kawaramachi.

November 19, 1927: The construction of the Shojaku Train Depot was completed (the depot went into operation on February 1, 1928).

November 29, 1927: The Shinkeihan Railway obtained permission to build a railway line between Kyoto Saiin and Shijo Omiya.

January 16, 1928: The railway service between Awaji and Takatsuki-cho was started. The line voltage was increased to 1500 V.

February, 1928: The construction of the line between Katsura and Nishi-Kyogoku commenced.

October 20, 1928: The construction of the Katsura Train Depot was completed.

October 30, 1928: The construction of the Mukomachi Substation was completed.

November 1, 1928: The railway service between Takatsuki-cho and Saiin (temporary station) was started.

November 9, 1928: The railway service between Katsura and Arashiyama was initiated.

June 12, 1928: The Nagoya Express Railway applied for a license to build a railway line between Otsu City and Nagoya.

June 15, 1928: The construction of the Kyoto subway line between Saiin and Nishioji Shijo was started.

September 16, 1928: The construction of the Shojaku Train Factory was completed.

October 14, 1929: The Shinkeihan Railway's plan for its second branch line was rejected.

February 20, 1929: Preparations started for the construction of the section of the Kyoto subway line running beneath roads.

June 29, 1929: The Keihan Electric Railway obtained a license to operate the Nagoya Express Railway.

July 1, 1929: The process of driving iron-sheet piles for the construction of the Kyoto subway line running beneath roads was started.

August 11, 1929: The construction of the dedicated sections of the Kyoto subway line was completed.

January 20, 1930: Excavation for the construction of the Kyoto subway line section running beneath roads was started.

February 27, 1930: The license for the line between Nagaokatenjin and Yanagidani Kannon expired.

April 21, 1930: Super-express train service was launched between Tenjinbashi and Saiin.

June 17, 1930: The Keihan Electric Railway concluded an interim merger contract with the Shinkeihan Railway.

June 23, 1930: The construction of the Kyoto subway line section beneath roads was started.

Keihan Electric Railway

September 15, 1930: The Shinkeihan Railway was merged into the Keihan Electric Railway.

March 31, 1931: Subway service was started on the Shinkeihan Line between Saiin and Keihan Kyoto (Omiya).

September 1, 1934: Direct express train service between Juso and Kyoto commenced. This service was subsequently suspended for a brief period of time.

July 8, 1935: The Nagoya Express Railway's request to prolong the construction period was rejected.

November 1, 1941: The direct express train service between Juso and Kyoto was restarted.

October 1, 1943: The Keihan Electric Railway and the Hanshin Express Railway were merged into the Keihanshin Express Railway.

For the subsequent history, see the articles on the Hankyu Kyoto Line, the Hankyu Corporation and the Hankyu Hanshin Holdings.

List of stations:

The following stations were as of 1931, when the Keihan Electric Railway started operation of the section between Saiin and Keihan Kyoto.

Lines that were left uncompleted

Line between Nishimukomachi and Otsu
This line was supposed to include the following section:

Section between Nagaokatenjin and Yanagidani Kannon