Kansai Railway Company (関西鉄道)

Kansai Railway Company (It's pronounced in kanji characters as either Kansai Railway Company or Kansei Railway Company) is a railway industry that runs railroads across Central Japan Railway Company (JR Central) and West Japan Railway Company (JR West)'s current railroad, which existed during the Meiji period; it is the predecessor of the Kansai Main Line, Kusatsu Line, Katamachi Line, Kisei Main Line, Sakurai Line, Wakayama Line, Nara Line and Osaka Loop Line. The head office was once located in Yokkaichi City, Mie Prefecture, but eventually the office moved to Osaka.

This railroad was opened in order to connect the area in Mie and Shiga prefectures along the old Tokaido, which was not included in the route of the Tokaido Main Line of the Government Railway (Kantetsu); meanwhile, the Kansai Railway Company merged other surrounding railway companies to expand the route in order to set up a direct route between Nagoya and Osaka. The famous story, which has been handed through the years, states that the Kansai Railway Company had a fierce battles against the Government Railway Company to get more passengers.

The company is well known for its progressive approach to customer service and vehicle technology; Yasujiro SHIMA, an engineer, worked in the early years and became known as a pioneering Japanese railway technologist, eventually making a big contribution to the company (he was the son of Hideo SHIMA, who was a contributor to the production of Shinkansen (bullet trains)).

From the establishment to the opening of Meihan (Nagoya to Osaka)

Originally it was set up to connect the cities in Shiga and Mie prefectures along the Tokaido to the Tokaido Line, which was not included in the route of the Government Railway Company.

The route was subsequently expanded to Nara in the west, merging with Naniwa Railway, which used to run trains between Katamachi Station and Shijo-Nawate Station, and the Joga Railway (which was not yet in operation), which had a railway license from Shijo-Nawate to Kizu; the Kansai Railway Company opened the new route of Meihan via the current Katamachi Line and established a terminal in Katamachi, Osaka in 1898. Because it was hard to expand off the site, the origination was moved to Amijima Station (currently closed); Osaka Railway, which had railroad between JR Nanba Station and Nara, was merged and the current Kansai Main Line was opened, re-establishing a terminal at Minatomachi.

Competition Against the Government Railway Company

Once the Meihan route opened, competition for freight and passengers in this sector emerged against the Government Railway Company. It was mentioned in 'Japan Railway History,' an authentic history book of the Government Railway, which absorbed the Kansai Railway Company.

The Kansai Railway Company introduced an express-fare free train, which makes one round trip in the daytime and one during the night. The new style of express train using a steam engine, called 'Hayakaze' (later called the JNR Steam Locomotive Type 6500) ran in the same sector for 5 hours 34 minutes outbound and 5 hours 16 minutes inbound in the daytime; it ran 6 hours 41 minutes outbound and 6 hours 3 minutes inbound during the night. It cost one yen and 21 sen to take the Government Railway Express outbound train from Nagoya Station to Osaka Station; the trip took 6 hours 4 minutes in the daytime and 5 hours 20 minutes in the nighttime, roughly the same as the Kansai Railway Company.

In 1900 the current Kansai Main Line route (from Minatomachi Station (current JR Nanba Station) to Nagoya Station) via Nara Station and Tennoji Station was completed; this route was used for the daytime express train. However, the running time of this route was lengthened. Subsequently, the running time was shortened to about five hours in 1902. In 1904 the dining car was connected to the express train.

While the single train fare was one yen and 77 sen, the return fare was two yen and 30 sen on this section of the Government Railway from August 1, 1902, subsequently the Kansai Railway Company decreased the return fare to two yen (the single fare was one yen and 47 sen) and the Government Railway decreased the return fare of the same section to one yen and 47 sen on August 6, 1902, which caused the return fare to be less than the single fare. Soon the Kansai Railway Company decreased the return fare to one yen and 50 sen, giving away free fans as part of its service; consequently the competition became a hopeless mess.

Although both parties were reconciled after the adjustment by the Governor of Osaka Prefecture and the members of the Diet, which was suggested by the Nagoya Chamber of Commerce at the end of the same year, in October of the followng year, the competition started again after the Kansai Railway Company breached the arrangement, given that the same railway had set the single fare for one yen and 10 sen, return fare for one yen and 20 sen and started giving out free lunch boxes. It was excessive competition, and particularly the Kansai Railway Company was desperate to win (it is said that the president of Kansai Railway Company was prepared to close the company and once mentioned, 'We have to make sure that the company won't go bankrupt until after the Government Railway has'). This competition ceased in May 1904, after the start of the Russo-Japanese War in February of that year, and the transportation of war supplies had the top priority.

The merger of railway companies in the Kinki area

After the merger, the Kansai Railway Company developed a presence in the Kinki area, and other private railway companies started to follow the trend to merge with the Kansai Railway Company. After the merger of the Kiwa Railway in 1904, the Joint Board of Railway Companies in Kinki area was set up in the same year and the Nanwa and Nara railways merged into the Kansai Railway Company. Although the Nankai Railway participated in the joint board, it did not merge into the Kansai Railway Company.


The Kansai Railway Company was nationalized on October 1, 1907, following the issuance of the Railway Nationalization Act in 1906. Line 299 mile, 16 chain (unit value) (opened line 280M72C, unopened line 18M24C), 121 locomotives, 571 passenger cars and 1273 freight cars were passed on. Although a petition for exemption was submitted, because the Kansai Railway Company was a locally based railway, it was not accepted by the government.

Just before the nationalization, the company had an approval of its electrification plan for the section of Minatomachi, Nara and Kyoto as well as Nagoya - Kawarada Station, and the Joto Line (currently the Osaka Loop Line), but some people said this was a tactic to increase the amount paid for acquisition due to the company's nationalization. The electrification plan did not proceed after the nationalization, but instead the line network of the current Kintetsu Corporation took place, which had been in development since 1920.


The date based on Japan Railroad history
March 1, 1888: The Kansai Railway Company had an approval to establish a company with three million yen in capital in Yokkaichi City, Mie Prefecture. On December 15, 1889: The operation started between Kusatsu Station (Shiga Prefecture) and Mikumo Station. February 19, 1890: The sector between Mikumo Station and Tsuge Station (the current Kusatsu Line) opened. December 25, 1890: The operation started between Yokkaichi Station and Tsuge Station. August 21, 1891: The sector between Kameyama Station (Mie Prefecture) and Isshinden Station opened. November 1, 1891: The operation started between Isshinden Station and Tsu Station. July 5, 1894: The extension work between Yokkaichi and Kuwana temporary station commenced. May 24, 1895: The extension work from Kuwana temporary station to Kuwana Station started, and the sector between Nagoya Station and Yatomi Station opened. November 7, 1895: After the sector between Yatomi Station and Kuwana Station opened, the sector between Kusatsu Station and Nagoya Station opened. January 15, 1897: The operation started between Tsuge Station and Ueno Station. (currently Iga Ueno Station). February 9, 1897: The Naniwa Railway was merged (Kataoka Station and Shijo-Nawate Station). November 11, 1897: The operation started between Ueno Station and Kamo Station (Kyoto Prefecture). April 12, 1898: The operation started between Shijo-Nawate Station and Nagao Station (Osaka Prefecture). April 19, 1898: The operation started between Kamo Station and Daibutsu Station, and the line was also called Daibutsu Line or Daibutsu Railway. June 4, 1898: The operation started between Shin-Kizu Station and Shijo-Nawate Station. September 16: 1898: The operation started between Shin-Kizu Station and Kizu Station. November 18: 1898: The operation started between Kamo Station and Shin-Kizu Station, and between Neyagawa Station and Amijima Station; consequently, the section between Nagoya Station and Amijima Station fully opened and the express train stated running on the same section. May 21, 1899: The operation started between Daibutsu Station of Daibutsu Line and Nara Station, and trains started running into Nara Station. June 6, 1900: The Osaka Railway (original) was transferred (JR Nanba Station - Nara, Oji Station - Sakurai Station (Nara Prefecture), Tennoji Station-Osaka Station). December 21, 1901: Operation started on the section between Amijima Station and Sakuranomiya Station. January 5, 1903: In Tennoji, the fifth Naikoku kangyo hakurankai (National Expo) opened and started freight operation, and on March 1the passenger service also started, but the facility was removed in August and September. August 27, 1904: The Kiwa Railway was accepted (Gojo Station (Nara Prefecture) -Kiwa Station). December 9, 1904: The Nanwa Railway was accepted (Takada Station (Nara Prefecture) -Gojo). February 8, 1905: The Nara Railway was accepted (Kyoto Station - Sakurai). August 21, 1907: The route was changed around Kizu and current route was established. August on 1907: The Daibutsu Line was demolished (the train station was closed in 1907 and remained as a freight station). October 1, 1907: The Kansai Railway Company was nationalized after the issue of the Railway Nationalization Law.

The list of rail track and stations

These were the names of the rail tracks and stations as of September 30, 1907, just before the line was nationalized.

Nagoya - Minatomachi 106 mile 67 chain (unit value)
Nagoya Station, Aichi Station, Kanie Station, Yatomi Station, Nagashima Station, Kuwana Station, Tomida Station (Mie Prefecture), Yokkaichi Station, Kawarada Station, Kasado Station, Kameyama Station (Mie Prefecture), Seki Station (Mie Prefecture), Kabuto Station (Mie Prefecture), Tsuge Station, Sanagu Station, Iga Ueno Station, Shimagahara Station, Okawara Station (Kyoto Prefecture), Kasagi Station, Kamo Station (Kyoto Prefecture), Daibutsu Station, Nara Station, Koriyama Station (Nara Prefecture), Horyuji Station, Oji Station, Kashiwabara Station (Osaka Prefecture), Yao Station, Hirano Station (JR West), Tennoji Station, Imamiya Station, JR Nanba Station
Tsuge - Kusatsu 22M49C
Tsuge (Station), Koka Station, Konan Station, Kibukawa Station, Mikumo Station, Ishibe Station, Kusatsu Station (Shiga Prefecture)
Kameyama - Tsu 9M52C
Kameyama Station, Shimonosho Station, Isshinden Station, Tsu Station
Kamo - Sakuranomiya 32M41C
Kamo (Station), Kizu (Station), Shin-Kizu Station, Hosono Station, Kyotanabe Station, Nagao Station (Osaka Prefecture), Tsuda Station, Hoshida Station, Shijo-Nawate Station, Nozaki Station (Osaka Prefecture), Suminodo Station, Tokuan Station, Hanaten Station, Amijima Station, Sakuranomiya Station
Shichijo - Sakurai 38M15C
Kyoto Station, Toji (Station), Fushimi (Station), Momoyama Station, Kohata Station (JR West), Uji Station (JR West), Shinden Station (Kyoto Prefecture), Nagaike Station, Tamamizu Station, Tanakura Station, Kamikoma Station, Kizu (Station), Nara (Station), Kyobate Station, Obitoke Station, Tenri Station, Yanagimoto Station, Miwa Station, Sakurai Station (Nara Prefecture)
Osaka - Tennoji 6M57C
Osaka Station, Tenma Station, Sakuranomiya (Station), Kyobashi Station (Osaka Prefecture), Tamatsukuri Station, Momodani Station, Tennoji (Station)
Hanaten - Katamachi 2M17C
Hanaten - Katamachi Station
Oji - Sakurai 13M11C
Oji (Station), Kashiba Station, Takada Station (Nara Prefecture), Unebi (Station), Sakurai (Station)
Takada - Wakayama 47M8C
Takada (Station), Yamato-Shinjo Station, Gose Station, Wakigami Station, Yoshinoguchi Station, Kita-Uchi Station, Gojo Station (Nara Prefecture), Yamato-Futami Station, Suda Station, Hashimoto Station (Wakayama Prefecture), Koyaguchi Station, Myoji Station, Kaseda Station, Nate Station, Kokawa Station, Kii-Nagata Station, Uchita Station, Iwade Station, Funato Station, Hoshiya Station, Tainose Station, Kiwa Station
Junction point between Wakayama and Nankai 29C
Junction point between Wakayama and Nankai
Futami (Station)- Kawabata (Station) 72C freight line
Futami - Kawabata
Shin-Kizu - Kizu 29C
Shin-Kizu - Kizu

steam locomotive/steam train

The type of Kansai Railway locomotive train originally came from the first number of the same model number, and each type had a characteristic Japanese class name. The majority of the names came from fine horses of Japanese classic literature; for example, the names Surusumi and Ikezuki are in The Tale of the Taira Clan (The Tale of the Heike/Heike Monogatari) and came from MINAMOTO no Yoritomo's favorite horse in the competition to be the first rider in a charge at the Battle of the Uji-gawa River.


The Kansai Railway Company first introduced the way to identify the grades of passenger trains by painting them in various colored bands (depending on the grade) under the window (the first-class car with white, the second car with blue and an ordinary car (rail car) with red color). This method became widespread after the nationalization of the Kansai Railway Company, since it was easy for passengers to identify the grade of the train.

Additionally, the idea of providing an 'area map and information' together with the name of each station originally came from the Kansai Railway Company in 1893.

[Original Japanese]