Tango Explorer (タンゴエクスプローラー)

Tango Explorer is the nickname for Kitakinki Tango Railway KTR Type 001 diesel multiple unit and also the nickname for the limited express trains that Kitakinki Tango Railway and West Japan Railway Company run using diesel railcars.
It's an English expression meaning 'persons exploring the province of Tango.'

As of 2008, Tango Explorer is a train constituting the so-called "North Kinki Big X Network," and is operated between Shin-Osaka Station and Miyazu Station/Toyooka Station (Hyogo Prefecture) via the Fukuchiyama Line, the Miyafuku Line of Kitakinki Tango Railway and the Miyazu Line of Kitakinki Tango Railway.
During the period from 1990, when the operation of the trains started, to 1999, the trains used Kyoto Station as their terminal, but the nickname for the trains was changed to the present one when the train cars were replaced with Kitakinki Tango Railway KTR Type 8000 diesel multiple unit, 'Tango Discovery.'

Summary of operations
Basically, the train is operated so as to be connected with a Limited Express 'Kinosaki (train)' at Fukuchiyama Station.

The trains are operated using the Kitakinki Tango Railway KTR Type 001 diesel multiple unit owned by Kitakinki Tango Railway.

Of the three train cars organized in the operation, one car is for non-reserved seats for Tango Explorer nos. 1 and 4, and two cars are for non-reserved seats for Tango Explorer nos. 2 and 3.

Six-car trains, combining two sets of three-car trains, are sometimes used on Saturdays, Sundays or in the seasons when many passengers are expected to use these trains, but one can't move between the third train car and the fourth train car because no passage between them is provided. In the six-car configuration, the three cars on the Shin-Osaka side are those of Amanohashidate nos. 1 or 4, which are sometimes added or detached. Additionally, the train sometimes handles passengers up to Fukuchiyama (on Tango Explorer nos. 2 and 3, with additional cars connected without passengers simply in order to move these cars to another location).

Kitakinki Tango Railway KTR Type 8000 diesel multiple unit is sometimes operated instead of the Kitakinki Tango Railway KTR Type 001 diesel multiple unit.

The trains are operated in the following ways:

Nishi-Maizuru Station - (a rapid train) - Miyazu Station (Tango Explorer No. 2) - Shin-Osaka Station - (deadheaded) - a side track of Suita Station (JR West) - (deadheaded) - Shin-Osaka Station - (Tango Explorer No. 1) - Toyooka Station (Hyogo Prefecture) - (Tango Explorer No. 4) - Shin-Osaka Station - (deadheaded) - Takatsuki Station - (deadheaded) - Shin-Osaka Station - (Tango Explorer No. 3) - Miyazu Station - (a local train) - Nishi-Maizuru Station
Number of trains
Train set

Remarks
In the seasons when many passengers are expected to use the trains, the train cars with the same configuration are added (of the train cars thus organized, the first to third train cars go up to Toyooka/Miyazu, and the fourth to sixth train cars go up to Amanohashidate/Fukuchiyama). In that configuration, the second, third and fifth train cars are for non-reserved seats.

Stops
Shin-Osaka Station - Osaka Station - Amagasaki Station (R West) - Takarazuka Station - Sanda Station (Hyogo Prefecture) - (Shin-Sanda Station) - (Aino Station) - Sasayamaguchi Station - (Tanikawa Station) - Kaibara Station (Hyogo Prefecture) - (Kuroi Station (Hyogo Prefecture)) - Fukuchiyama Station - Oe Station (Kyoto Prefecture) - Miyazu Station - Amanohashidate Station - Nodagawa Station - Tango-Omiya Station - Mineyama Station - Amino Station - Kitsu-onsen Station - Kumihama Station - Toyooka Station (Hyogo Prefecture)

History
1990: The Miyazu Line of JR West was transferred to Kitakinki Tango Railway, and the operation of this limited express train started between Kyoto Station and Kumihama Station via the Sanin Main Line, the Maizuru Line and the Miyazu Line.

Basically, the following routes were used:

Between Amino Station and Kyoto Station (via the Miyazu Line, the Miyafuku Line and the Sanin Main Line): Tango Explorer No. 2
Between Kyoto Station and Kumihama Station (via the Sanin Main Line, the Maizuru Line and the Miyazu Line): Tango Explorer nos. 1 and 4
Between Kyoto Station and Nishi-Maizuru Station (via the Sanin Main Line and the Maizuru Line): Tango Explorer No. 3
1992: Inbound Tango Explorer No. 4 began starting at Toyooka Station (Hyogo Prefecture).

1996: Inbound Tango Explorer No. 2 began operating via Miyazu Line and the Maizuru Line instead of the Miyafuku Line.

1999: The present operation starting at Shin-Osaka started, replacing that of 'Tango Discovery.'

April 25, 2005: A derailing accident occurred on the JR Fukuchiyama Line, and its operation between Shin-Osaka Station and Fukuchiyama was suspended.

June 19, 2005: The operation restarted. The KTR Type 001 diesel multiple unit does not support the ATS-P type automatic train stop system (for a digital pattern transmission type), and Kitakinki Tango Railway KTR Type 8000 diesel multiple unit for 'Tango Discovery' was used for the operation of Tango Explorer.

March 18, 2007: The train operation schedule was revised, and the KTR Type 001 diesel multiple unit started being used again for the operation of Tango Explorer, with smoking prohibited in all seats. Moreover, the operation of Tango Explorer nos. 1 and 4 was extended up to Toyooka Station.

February 20, 2008: Its ATS malfunctioned, so JNR Series 183 train cars of JR West were used for its operation instead.