Umekoji Station (梅小路駅)

Umekoji Station, located at 10 Umekoji Kashira-cho, Shimogyo Ward, Kyoto City, Kyoto Prefecture, is a stop on the Tokaido Main Line, which is operated by the Japan Freight Railway Company (JR Freight). Because it's on the freight line running side by side with the passenger line (JR Kyoto Line), Umekoji Station constitutes the junction of the branch freight line headed for Tanbaguchi Station on the Sanin Main Line.

Later in this article an explanation will be given for Ryokka-fair-Umekoji Station, which temporarily existed beside Umekoji Station on the Sanin Main Line (Sagano Line).

Station layout

It is an aboveground station. The station premises spread over the delta formed by the Tokaido Main Line (on its south side), the branch freight line of the Tokaido Main Line (on its northwest side) and the Sanin Main Line (on its east side).

Employing the Effective & Speedy Container Handling System (E&S System), the station has one island platform and two tracks for a container train. The inbound train bound for Kyoto Station mainly uses the E&S System line running on the north of the platform, while the outbound train bound for Osaka Station mainly uses another E&S System line running on the south of the platform. Moreover, one track for the inbound train and three tracks for the outbound train are laid as the station's main lines. Besides, there exist one side platform with a track for the box cars of a freight train, as well as some station lateral lines, such as a body track and a storage track.

Additionally, the inbound train enters the E&S System line from the quadruple track of the Tokaido Main Line by way of the crossover near Nishioji Station, and the train joins the Tokaido Main Line again by way of the crossover located in front of Kyoto Station.
However, the outbound train takes a more complicated course:
It passes through the single freight line on the south side of the Tokaido Main Line from Kyoto Station and westward, goes under the Tokaido Main Line and then enters the E&S System line of Umekoji Station. When it departs Umekoji Station, it passes through the single freight line on the north side of the Tokaido Main Line, goes over the Tokaido Main Line and joins with Tokaido Main Line on the premises of Mukomachi Station. The route from the E&S System line of Umekoji Station to Mukomachi Station is also used by trains that stop at Kyoto Station's platforms numbered in the 30s, including 'Haruka (train),' the airport express (limited express).

On the station premises there is a station building at which JR Freight has its Kyoto branch office as the business window, and there is also 'F-Plaza Umekoji,' a distribution facility used by Nippon Access Inc. Moreover, there is the Umekoji Steam Locomotive Museum of the West Japan Railway Company (JR West), so occasionally a passenger train is in its custody.

Kinds of freight handled

Containerized freight

Twelve-foot containers, 20-foot or 30-foot large-size containers, and 20-foot shipped containers standardized by the ISO (International Organization for Standardization) are handled at the station.

Freight for which transportation contracts are made on a per-freight-car basis

Consequent upon the timetable revision of March 18, 2007, this station offers no regular transportation of freight whose contract is made by the freight car. Prior to that date, the station had handled the paper products transported from Hina Station in a box car (JNR Freight Car WAMU 80000).

The station is permitted to handle the industrial waste.

Freight train

Freight trains that stop at this station are not only those running on the Tokaido Main Line but also the through trains coming from the Hokuriku Main Line or the Kosei Line.

High-speed freight train

Each day, eight outbound trains for Suita Signal Station stop at Umekoji Station. For one of the eight trains, Umekoji Station is the first stop. Two of the eight are destined for Fukuoka Freight Terminal Station, which ranks the highest of all the outbound-train destinations.

Each day, ten inbound trains running on the Tokaido Main Line for the Maibara switchyard of Maibara Station or for Minami-Fukui Station stop at Umekoji Station. For one out of the ten trains, Umekoji Station is the terminal. Their destinations include Nagoya Freight Terminal Station, Tokyo Freight Terminal Station, Sapporo Freight Terminal Station and the highest ranked Miyagino Station, for which two trains are destined.

Special freight train

Umekoji Station functions as a transit base for special freight trains that are to switch operation systems. In the section between Umekoji Station and Ajikawaguchi Station to its west, there is a daily round-trip service of a special freight train, but in the section between Umekoji Station and Inazawa Station to its east there is only the temporary service of a special freight train. Moreover, the train service for Inazawa Station had been a regular one until the timetable revision of March 2007.

History

September 5, 1876: Omiya-dori Temporary Station was set up near the site of the present-day Umekoji Station; the facility functioned as a terminal for trains coming from Osaka Station until February 6, 1877, when Kyoto Station opened.

November 5, 1910: Umekoji Temporary Signal Station opened.

February 25, 1911: Umekoji Temporary Signal Station was upgraded to Umekoji Temporary Station. At that time, the station was available only to group passengers attending "Daihoe," the great Buddhist memorial service at either Nishi Hongan-ji Temple or Chion-in Temple.

May 5, 1911: Umekoji Temporary Station was downgraded to Umekoji Junction.

June 21, 1913: Umekoji Junction was upgraded to Umekoji Station because the business of freight handling was transferred to the facility from Kyoto Station.

September 10, 1918: The branch freight line to Tanbaguchi Station (the line connecting with the Sanin Main Line) opened.

October 1, 1974: The business of baggage handling was launched.

March 16, 1976: With Tanbaguchi Station converted into an elevated stop, its freight business was separated and the operation of Kyoto-shijo Station started. At the same time, the branch freight line from Umekoji Station to Kyoto-shijo Station started operating.

February 1, 1984: Package handling ceased at Umekoji Station. Also, the operation of the branch freight line from Umekoji Station to Kyoto-shijo Station was ended.

April 1, 1987: Umekoji Station became a stop of JR Freight due to the division and privatization of JNR.

August 30, 1989: The business of piggyback transportation was begun between Umekoji Station and Tokyo Freight Terminal Station.

March 12, 1990: The facilities for loading and unloading freight were transferred to Umekoji Station, and the station was remodeled and reopened as a stop that would implement the Effective & Speedy Container Handling System. Formerly, the facilities for loading and unloading freight existed on the east side of the embankment of the Sanin Main Line, where Umekoji-koen Park is located today.

July 6, 1995: F-Plaza Umekoji began operating.

Station surroundings

Umekoji Steam Locomotive Museum (Umekoji Rolling Stock Yard)

Umekoji-koen Park

Umekoji-dori Street

Onmae-dori Street

Hachijo-dori Street

Adjacent stations

West Japan Railway Company (JR West)

Tokaido Main Line

Kyoto Station - Umekoji Station - Nishioji Station

Branch line of the Tokaido Main Line (connecting with the Sanin Main Line)

Umekoji Station - Tanbaguchi Station

Ryokka-fair-Umekoji Station

Ryokka-fair-Umekoji Station functioned as the nearest stop to Umekoji-koen Park where the '11th Japan Urban Green Fair' was held in 1994, and the stop was set up on the Sanin Main Line between Kyoto Station and Tanbaguchi Station for the period of nearly two months from September 23 to November 20.

From around 2005 to 2006, it was discussed where the home stadium exclusively used for the soccer games of KYOTO SANGA F.C., the local soccer team of the Japan Professional Football League (J. League), should be built, and Umekoji-koen Park, one of the candidates, was said to be very convenient because Ryokka-fair-Umekoji Station provided easy mass-transit access to the park. The above-mentioned plan of the stadium construction settled on the repair of Kyoto Nishikyogoku Athletic Stadium, but if the plan had settled on the reconstruction of Umekoji-koen Park, Ryokka-fair-Umekoji Station would have been revived as a permanent stop at the location where it had stood, to be in temporary operation during game hours.

Station layout

The station had a side platform and a track. There was a temporary platform, one end of which was situated on the north side of the track, or the southeast edge of the promenade around the premises of Umekoji-koen Park; the other end was situated on the present exhibition line on the premises of the Umekoji Steam Locomotive Museum.

The station-name signboard here didn't have the design of the Sagano Line (purple in its lower part), but it had the standard design of JR West (blue in its lower part), and somehow it said 'Ryokka-fair-Umekoji Station,' although in principle the station-name signboard doesn't include the word "station." While Ryokka-fair-Umekoji Station was in operation, its neighbors, Kyoto Station and Tanbaguchi Station, gave passengers guidance regarding Ryokka-fair-Umekoji Station by attaching seals to the station-name signboards.

Adjacent stations

West Japan Railway Company (JR West)

Sagano Line (Sanin Main Line)

Kyoto Station - Ryokka-fair-Umekoji Station - Tanbaguchi Station