Jr Obama Line (小浜線)

Obama Line refers to the railway (local line) in West Japan Railway Company (JR West) from Suruga station in Suruga city, Fukui prefecture to Higashi-Maizuru station in Maizuru city, Kyoto prefecture.

Railway data

Jurisdiction (varying by operation) : West Japan Railway Company (railway operator). The distance of railway (operation kilometers) : 84.3 km. The gauge : 1067 mm. The number of stations : 24 stations (including both of the terminal stations).
The double track section : no (all single track)
The electrified section : all (direct current 1500 volts (unit)). The block (railway) : The special automatic block system (the track circuit detection method).
The maximum speed : 85 km/h

*All the stations, except for the stations at both ends, are under the jurisdiction of Obama Railways Department, Kanazawa Branch Office, West Japan Railway Company (Tsuruga station is under the jurisdiction of the Fukui Railways Department. Higashi-Maizuru station is under direct jurisdiction of West Japan Railway Company (JR West) Fukuchiyama Branch).


The railway links Tsuruga city, Obama city and Maizuru city along Wakasa Bay. As there are many bathing beaches and there are tourist sites like Mikatagoko Lake along the line, the line is regarded as one of resorts and tourism line, but it is also used as the line of commuters and some sections are very crowded in the morning and evening.

Obama Line was wholly opened on December 20, 1922, which enabled the Hokuriku Line and the Sanin Line to be connected, and commemoratively 'Exhibition of opening whole railroads for Japan Sea coastal areas and the Shin-Maizuru-ko Port' was held in Higashi-Maizuru for 40 days from April 1 to May 10 in 1923 (The total number of visitors was 179,982).

The line was electrified in 2003 and a new type of vehicle was also introduced by using the reserve fund of local governments as well as anonymous contributions and all expenses were paid by the locals. However, the number of transformer stations is reduced to less than usual to minimize the electrification cost (only four transformer stations in more than 80 km of line) and the turnout manual point-switch and so on remains in the station's turnout and in some sections the speed is limited to 25km/h and so on, and facilities are at the level of local private railways, and in reality, they have to drive by keeping down the acceleration and the highest speed (for example, usually in JR West Suburban Trains Series 125, the acceleration at start-up is 2.5 km/h/s, but in the Obama Line it is reduced to 1.2 km/h/s. On the Hokuriku Main Line, the original acceleration is exerted). And since the time when electrification was considered, alternate current electrification had not been mentioned.

Recently, it has been superseded in convenience by the express bus route of Kintetsu Bus Co., Ltd, whose departure and arrival is in Osaka city, and the Jakko Line (West Japan JR Bus Company) connecting with the Special Rapid train at Omi-Imazu station. When DC electrification was done up until Suruga station, the direct line trains from the Hokuriku Main Line or the Kosei Line are expected to be set up.

At each station, the boarding positions for wheel-chairs and for the train which runs without conductors on board are differently set because the number of seats on Suburban Trains Series 125 was increased in late 2003 and it became difficult for wheel-chairs to move around in the vehicle.

The form of driving

The official starting point is Tsuruga station, but when driving trains, the train from Higashi-Maizuru station to Tsuruga station is on the down line and the reverse is on the up line. This is because they met the direction for the Hokuriku Main Line connecting at Tsuruga station and the Maizuru Line connecting at Higashi-Maizuru station.

There is no special express train or express train in regular service, but until around 2007, the limited express train 'Maizuru (train)' running between Kyoto and Higashi-Maizuru temporarily ran to Obama station extensionally. Approximately one local train runs per one to two hours, but there are some time zones where no train runs for nearly three hours between Obama station and the Higashi-Maizuru region. And in some months, some trains during the day are cancelled on Wednesdays. A part of the train starts from Nishi-Maizuru station on the Maizuru Line, but until October 20, 2006, they were directly connected with the Maizuru Line and JR Sanin Main Line and some of them ran to Ayabe station and Fukuchiyama station. The last train starting from Tsuruga station at night ran as a rapid train, but according to the timetable revision on March 14, 2009, it was changed to a local train and the service in the ghost station was largely improved. Except for a part, the train runs without conductors on board. As for all the ghost stations on the line, which serially opened after the war (the early 1960s), even some of the local trains did not stop at them until the late 1990s because the users decreased (such stations included Nishi-Tsuruga station, Higashi-Mihama station, Kiyama station, Fujii station, Wakasa-Arita station, Seihama station and Mitsumatsu station).

Before the electrification, many trains coming from the Tsuruga region had two to four vehicles, and separated the vehicles at Obama station and the front vehicle went to Higashi-Maizuru (for four years since 1992, also on the train for Amanohashidate running without conductors on board, the notice 'Be careful to not be on the wrong train' was announced) and sometimes the back two vehicles returned to Tsuruga, but after the electrification, mostly one to two vehicles were used and were not cut off at Obama station. However, Suburban Trains Series 125, which were additionally in service when the DC electrification was done in the Kohoku region on the Hokuriku Main Line, came to be commonly used with the local trains in the DC electrification section and thus the organization was strengthened and travel with two vehicles has increased. Among them, travel with three vehicles during the day is revived.

Once, Obama Line was used also as the route linking the Hokuriku region, the Chukyo-area with the Sanin region, and the express train 'Hashidate (train),' going through the Obama Line and the Kitakinki Tango Railway Miyazu Line, ran between Kanazawa and Izumo city from 1964 to 1982 and between Nagoya and Izumo city from 1966 to 1982, and it ran between Fukui and Amanohashidate from 1982 to 1992. And until October 1999, the express train 'Hashidate (train)' ran between Kyoto, Higashi-Maizuru and Tsuruga (the direct line to Kyoto was until 1996), but after the electrification, the higher category trains disappeared.
For these reasons, it was called 'the bridge between Hokuriku and Sanin.'
After the electrification, however, just a part of them temporarily went to Obama station on holidays as mentioned before and they are not in a full-fledged regular service.

Originally the shortest route between Tsuruga and Kyoto was by way of the Kosei Line, but the direct line going through Tsuruga was not set up and instead the direct line going through the Maizuru Line and the Sanin Main Line was set up, because it met the coming and going from Kyoto, Osaka region to the west of Wakasa region and it also undertook the local transportation on the Obama Line (for example, we can raise the local trains directly linking Tsuruga with Fukuchiyama or the express train 'Tango' and so on, whose departure and arrival was in Kyoto and which ran as a local train eastward from Higashi-Maizuru, that is, on the Obama Line). The shortest route between Obama and Higashi-Maizuru is by way of the Sanin Main Line and the Maizuru Line and most of the passengers from the Kyoto and Osaka region, who visited Wakasa-Takahama and Wakasa-Hongo region, came and went from the Higashi-Maizuru side.

And in the season of sea bathing, special trains from the Osaka and Kyoto area used the line more than now. JR Tokai's express train 'Hashidate' (train) going on the line from the Nagoya area was scheduled.

The TV novel series 'Chiritotechin' (morning drama series) was broadcast from October 2007 to March 2008 and in the drama Obama Line appeared several times, and as the of number of tourists was expected to increase, special rapid trains ran between Tsuruga and Higashi-Maizuru, between Higashi-Maizuru and Obama (the regular train for Tsuruga from Obama) and special local trains ran between Obama and Wakasa-Takahama (the extension of the regular train from Tsuruga), between Wakasa-Takahama and Tsuruga only on Saturdays and holidays during the broadcast. After April 2008 when the broadcast was over, three of them, except for the trains running from Obama to Wakasa-Takahama, continuously ran only on Saturdays and holidays (however, the trains from Wakasa-Takahama to Tsuruga were changed to the ones from Obama to Tsuruga). Also in the year 2009, only on Saturdays and holidays from April 4 to May 31, these special trains ran.

The stops for special rapid trains. The up line, Tsuruga – Awano – Mihama – Mikata – Tomura – Kaminaka – Higashi-Obama – (between Obama and Higashi-Maizuru, trains stop at every station).
The down line, Higashi-Maizuru – Wakasa-Takahama – Wakasa-Hongo - Obama

In 1895

- In Tetsudo Fusetsu Ho (Railroad Construction Law), 'the railway running from Maizuru through Obama, Fukui prefecture to Tsuruga' was added.

In 1904

The construction site was investigated for the Tonkaku Line.

On December 15, 1917

- Obama Line between Tsuruga and Tomura (18.2 miles ≒29.29km) opened. Awano station, Kawaraichi station, Mikata station and Tomura station opened.

On November 10, 1918

- The line between Tomura and Obama (12.5 M≒20.12km) was extensionally opened. Otoba station, Miyake station, Shin-Hirano station and Obama station opened.

On April 3, 1921

- The line between Obama and Wakasa-Takahama (12.1M≒19.47km) was extensionally opened. Kato station, Wakasa-Hongo station, Wakasa-Takahama station opened.

On December 20, 1922

- The line between Wakasa-Takahama and Shin-Maizuru (9.6M≒15.45km) was extensionally opened and completed. Matsunoodera station opened.

On June 26, 1925

- Wakasa-Wada temporal station opened.

On April 1, 1930

- The indication in miles was changed to kilometers (52.4M=>84.3km).

On June 1, 1934

- Wakasa-Wada temporal station was upgraded to the station and Wakasa-Wada station opened.

On June 1, 1939

- Shin-Maizuru station changed to Higashi-Maizuru station.

On November 1, 1940

- Aonogo station opened.

On August 14, 1953

- Higashi-Obama station opened.

On April 10, 1956

- Kawaraichi station changed to Mihama station and Miyake station to Kaminaka station.

On July 15, 1961

- Seihama station and Mitsumatsu station opened.

On August 1, 1961

- Higashi-Mihama station, Kiyama station and Fujii station opened.

On September 1, 1962

- Nishi-Tsuruga station opened.

On June 20, 1964

Wakasa-Arita station opened.

On August 25, 1981

SL Wakasa' by Kokutetsu C56 Steam Locomotive 160 ran between Tsuruga and Obama. Until August 31.

On April 1, 1987

West Japan Railway Company succeeded it from the division and privatization of JNR. Japan Freight Railway Company became the railway enterprise for the whole Line.

On April 1, 1991

- Obama railway department was inaugurated.

On March 14, 1992

- The train which runs without conductors on board began to run.

On March 18, 1993

- All the trains were unified to arrive at and depart from Tsuruga station.

On March 22, 1997

- The freight trains between Tsuruga and Matsunoodera were done away with.

On April 1, 1999

- Type II Railway Business of Japan Freight Railway Company was done away with.

On October 2, 1999

- The direct line to Maizuru Line was cancelled.

On March 15, 2003

- The line between Tsuruga and Higashi-Maizuru was electrified. Suburban Trains Series 125 started to run. The direct line to Maizuru Line was reopened.

On October 21, 2006

- The trains were unified to be Suburban Trains Series 125. Three or four vehicles of the same series, which runs with conductors on board, started to run. At the same time, the six vehicles were additionally introduced. The direct line to Maizuru Line was done away with.

On March 14, 2009

- Suburban Trains Series 521 started to run.

The list of the stations.

Explanatory note.

The exchange of the trains … ◇・∨・∧ : interchangeable |: not interchangeable

[Original Japanese]