Keihanshin Local Line (京阪神緩行線)
Keihanshin Local Line is a common name that has been used since the era of Japan National Railway (JNR) for the local line running, as a part of Urban Network of West Japan Railway Company (JR West) in the metropolitan suburban area, between the Kyoto Station and Kobe Station (Hyogo Prefecture) of the Tokaido Main Line as well as between the Kobe Station and Nishi-akashi Station of the Sanyo Main Line
After the launch of JR, these sections were called the JR Kyoto and JR Kobe Lines respectively (also, refer to the naming of lines)
While the train operates on the 98.7 km Kyoto-Nisi-Akashi Section in a narrow sense, it is actually operated on the 144.7 km Yasu-Kakogawa section since the section of its operation was extended to the Kakogawa Station and Kusatsu Station (Shiga Prefecture) at the end of the JNR era.
While centering on the Kyoto- Nisi-Akashi section, this article also discusses the Yasu-Kyoto and Nishi-akashi-Kakogawa sections as well as other lines on which direct trains run, including The Kosei Line, the Fukuchiyama Line, and the JR Tozai Line etc. when needed.
Keihanshin Local Train is not a fixed name, and there are various other names used such as Tokaido- Sanyo Local Train, Osaka Local Train and Honsen Local Train. During the pre-war and for a while after the war, trains corresponding to current Special Rapid and Rapid services were called "Express" or Special Rapid as an abbreviated name.
Under such circumstances, it is thought that railway relevant people and railway maniacs at the time began to use this name, in contraposition to Express, as the one that means 'trains that stop at every station.'
This name, including the other names mentioned above, were widely used by JNR people and railway maniacs during the era of the JNR. After the division and privatization of JNR, however, this name has seldom been used because JR West designated the names 'Biwako Line,' 'JR Kyoto Line' and 'JR Kobe Line,' and definitions became vague due to the fact that the section of operations expanded near the end of the JNR era and direct trains started to run into the Fukuchiyama Line and the JR Tozai Line after the JR Tozai Line came into operation. Even at present, however, this name is being used as the product name of model trains manufactured by Sekisui Metal Co., Ltd. (for example: 'Color of 201 Series Keihanshin Local Train').
Trains are being operated at the following stations, their starting stations, and terminal stations.
The Biwako Line, the JR Kyoto Line (the Tokaido Main Line)
Yasu, Kusatsu, Kyoto, Takatsuki Station, Osaka Station
The JR Kobe Line (the Tokaido/Sanyo Line)
Amagasaki Station (JR West), Ashiya Station (JR West), Kobe, Suma Station, Nishi-Akashi, Okubo Station (Hyogo Prefecture), Kakogawa
After the morning rush hour ends, trains run every fifteen minutes on the Kyoto-Suma/Nishi-Akashi section, Nishi-Akashi-Amagasaki section (directly run into the JR Tozai Line) (directly run into the JR Takarazuka Line) and the Amagasaki-Takatsuki section respectively. As a result, eight trains per hour stop at each station located between Kyoto and Nishi-Akashi. Provided, however, that the interval of operation is not exactly seven and a half minutes because trains wait for the passing of Special Rapid/Rapid or make connections with them at Suma Station, Sannomiya Station Ashiya Station (JR West) and Osaka Station. Also, as some trains start from Kyoto and turn back at Suma during the daytime, the operation interval becomes longer than the above at Shioya and further westward. All trains used to run up to Nishi-Akashi thanks to the revision of the timetable made in 1998, but under the current timetable that was introduced in 2006, trains starting from Kyoto during the daytime turn back at Suma.
Only during mornings and evenings of holidays, do some trains run beyond Kyoto, up to Yasu/Katada, and beyond Nishi-Akashi, up to Kakogawa. One of the trains bound for Nishi-Akashi in the daytime ran up to Kakogawa during the last stage of the JNR, its terminal was changed to Nishi-Akashi when the frequency of Rapid running beyond Nishi-Akashi increased. On the other hand, trains with starting and terminal station being Okubo Station started to run after large-scale apartment buildings were constructed at the site of Kobe Steel Ltd. works located south of Okubo Station. As trains run mainly between Kyoto and Nishi-Akashi, their running distance sometimes exceed 100 km, which is relatively long among trains used for commuting.
Since the distance between the stations is long, trains are required to run at high speed while following the timetable under many restrictions necessary for connecting to Special Rapid and Rapid services. Therefore, the timetable is made up taking full advantage of the capability of JR West Commuters Trains Series 207 and JR West Commuters Trains Series 321.
As for train numbers, odd numbers are used for down-trains bound for Nishi-Akashi.
As a letter C (B on the weekends and bank holidays) is attached at the end of train number, the trains are sometimes called 'C train.'
Trains run on the inner track of quadruple tracks (electric train track from Hyogo westward). In the past, trains were in operation where their starting and terminal station was Suita Station or Koshienguchi Station. Also, trains with their starting and terminal station being Takatori Station and Sumiyoshi Station (JR West, Kobe New Transit Co., Ltd.) ran when shuttle service between two stations was implemented in Kobe City during the rush hour.
After the Hanshin/Awaji Great Earthquake, operation resumed from Nishi-Akashi, Suma, Kobe to Nada Station on the west side, and from Koshienguchi, Ashiya to Sumiyoshi Station on the east side.
Direct trains to the stations of other lines
As a part of the Urban Network, many direct trains run to the stations of other lines. As mentioned above, direct trains run to the Kizu Station of the Katamachi Line via the JR Tozai Line (only one train departs from the Kizu Station to Nishi-Akashi Station in the early morning, and others depart from and arrive at Matsuiyamate Station) as well as to the Sasayamaguchi Station of the JR Takarazuka Line (Fukuchiyama Line) (only one train bound for Takatsuki (for Kyoto on holidays) departs from Sasayamaguchi Station at night and most other trains depart from and arrive at Shin-Sanda Station, except those in the early morning, morning rush hour, and in the middle of the night). In addition, a direct train makes a round trip between Katada Station (it runs only within the Kosei Line on holidays) and Omimaiko Station of the Kosei Line.
Cars in use
Cars which are being used as of 2007
After the 321 series, cars were introduced, 201 series cars were shifted to the Morinomiya Train Yard of the Osaka Loop Line and the Nara Train Yard of the Kansai Main Line (Yamatoji Line), and 205 series cars were shifted to Hineno Train Yard of the Hanwa Line. As a result, 207 series cars and 321 series cars, whose maximum speed is 120 km/h, are being used.
The time of birth (1934 - 1938)
The history of Keihanshin Local Line dates back to the time when the Suita-Suma section was electrified on July 20, 1934 and the existing local trains pulled by C10 type JNR steam locomotives and C11 type JNR steam locomotives were replaced by electric trains. Electrification of the Suita-Suma section, though it looks like a halfway measure in hindsight, was implemented since this section was a part of the electrification plan of the Otsu Station-Akashi Station section approved by the fifty-second Imperial Diet in 1926. This section's electrification also aimed to attract passengers from outside of the section because trains could not turn back at Osaka and Kobe Stations after the track was elevated in Osaka and Kobe. Electrification work was also underway on the Suma-Akashi section at that time, but its completion couldn't keep up with that of the Suita-Suma section and gasoline powered trains were operated on this section. On September 20, two months later, the track was electrified up to Akashi, and local trains began to run on the Suita-Akashi section instead of gasoline powered trains.
Model 42 type electric trains were introduced at Miyahara Integrated Operation Center when electrification was completed, and local trains were basically made up of two types, Moha 43 (Moha 42) and Kuroha 59. Trains ran every 15 minute during the off-hour, and during the rush hour, trains ran every ten minutes while coupling, in the case of up-trains, additional two or three cars, Kuha 58, Moha 43e (Moha 42) and Moha 42. The reason why local trains coupled to a second-class car was that the line was, like the Keihin-Tohoku Line in Kanto region, an urban transport line and that demand for second-class cars were high even before electrification since the use of private cars were not common.
Another reason was, though it is unbelievable for people living in the beginning of the twenty-first century, that many female students used a second-class car since many higher education institutes for girls were located in this area,
Although 42 types of electric cars were distinguished ones from other cars of the JNR, they were still a little inferior to those of other competing private railway companies in some respects, they had wooden backs for third-class car seats. However, their orthodox design was agreeable and they have become long-lasting favorite cars for many railway maniacs.
The reason why JNR frequently operated trains with fewer cars was because it was concerned about competition with other railway companies like Hankyu Railway and Hanshin Railway, rather than improving service which started before the electrification. However, as JNR established Rokkomichi Station along with electrification and tenaciously continued frequent operation, their effort led to the urbanization of the area along the line and an increase in passengers. The number of passengers further increased thanks to the synergistic effects of the above, which led to the increase of running frequency and the number of cars of the train.
In order to cope with the increase in running frequency and number of cars, cars of Kuha number 58 were introduced since there were extra Moha 42 cars and 43 (third-class cars' backs of the seats were upholstered at the time)
Among others, number Kuha 58025 cars, which was introduced in 1936, the last number Kuha 58, were very stylish cars with the side of the body of the 42 type and the front was semi-streamline-shaped.
Thereafter, the Akashi Quality Control Center, Aboshi Rolling Stock Depo was established at the site of the Akashi Train Yard on August 10, 1937 before the Suita-Kyoto section was electrified on October 10 during the same year. Also, type 51 cars, Moha 51, Kuha 68 and Kuroha 69, that continued to run on the Keihanshin Local Line for nearly forty years since then, were newly introduced. When the track was electrified as far as Kyoto, local trains started to run between Kyoto and Akashi and the original form of current Keihanshin Local Line was completed, as with express trains running between Kyoto and Kobe, that mainly used 'Ryuden' cars (a streamline-shaped car) Moha 52 and Hanryu (a semi-streamline-shaped car) 43, became the origin of the current Special Rapid and Rapid service. Around that time, a track for turning back was set at the stations of Kanzaki (current Amagasaki), Sumiyoshi and Takatori, and short distance operations during the rush hour was launched.
Hardship during wartime (1938 - 1949)
The battle lines on the continent had already been expanded when the track was electrified as far as Kyoto. Around that time, the government introduced economic control centering on strategic items and advocated abstaining from luxuries. In response to the above, the Ministry of the Railway abolished second-class cars in the urban area as of November 1, 1938. While the Yokosuka Line and express trains of Keihanshin (Kyoto, Osaka and Kobe) area were excluded, the Keihin Line and the Keihanshin Local Line became the target. Kuroha 59 and 69 were being used as substitutes for third-class cars at the time, but it was decided to modify the Kuroha 59 cars to have three doors (classified as Kuha 68) from 1940 (except express trains). Around that time, there was an episode as shown below. Hanwa Electric Railway asked the Ministry of the Railway to lease out electric cars to make up for the shortage of cars and they rented two types, Moha 34 and Kuha 38, from the Tokyo Railway Bureau. However, their interior was so shabby compared with the cars of Hanwa Railway, and voices of dissatisfaction were raised not only by passengers but also by the company. Facing such situation, the ministry hastily rented out another two cars, Moha 43 and Kuha 58 or Kuroha 59, to Hanwa while using the above cars for the short distance operation between Suita and Kanzaki. The above leasing continued until Hanwa merged into Nankai Railway and was ultimately nationalized.
After Japan launched the Pacific War, express trains were abolished on November 14, 1942 and these cars were used for local trains. However, Moha 52 cars were shunned by crew because of their streamlined-shape (a door for crew members was not equipped) and were used in the middle of the connected cars. At that time, Moha 60 and Kuha 55 cars of the Osaka Loop Line and Moha 51 and Kuha 68 of the Main Line were being exchanged in order to enhance transport capacity. However, it became impossible to meet the increasing demand by such a superficial measure. Under such a situation, a person in charge proposed to remodel 42 type cars into cars with four doors, use them for the Joto/Nishinari Line by replacing Moha 40 cars, change Moha 40 to Moha 51 cars and use them for the Keihanshin Local Line with bench-seats as they were. The above remodeling was actively implemented while managing scarce materials, and Moha 43028 (later became Moha 64028 to Kumoha 31002 eventually) and Kuha 55106 (former Kuroha 59022, tentatively appeared as Kuha 55 it later became Kuha 85026 to Kuha 79056 eventually) appeared in 1943. Many Moha 43 and Kuha 58 cars were remodeled into cars with four doors and were also changed to Moha 64 and Kuha 85 (Moha 42 cars with four doors were changed to Moha 32 - the second). Moreover, Kuha 58025 cars were also remodeled into cars with four doors and became Kuha 85025 and eventually Kuha 79055. Along with the above remodeling, withdrawal of seats or the introduction of bench-seats for existing cars was implemented, and all Kuroha 69 and Kuha 68 cars became Kuha 55, except for Kuroha 69001 and 002 that were transferred to the Yokosuka Line in 1942 as second-class cars (they were later transferred to the Chuo/Sobu Local Line for the purpose of transporting the prince to the Chiba Army Tank School). Along with these extreme measures, Moha 60 cars were increased between 1943 and 1944 and transport capacity was enhanced by introducing six-car trains in January 1944. On April 1, 1944, the Nishi-Akashi Station was established inside the site of the Akashi Train Depot and started passenger service for season-ticket holders (it started passenger service for people other than season-ticket holders from February 1, 1946) in order to secure the transport of commuters going to Akashi Works of Kawasaki Airplane Manufacturing Company, Ltd. located on the south side of the Akashi Train Depot (current Akashi Works of Kawasaki Heavy Industries. while it is manufacturing motorcycles at present, it was manufacturing Army Type 3 Fighters at the time). When the line was extended to Nishi-Akashi, the basic section for the operation of the Keihanshin Local Line was fixed.
Around that time, however, the situation exceeded beyond the efforts of relevant parties. Japan's mainland became the target of air raids in 1945. The target of air raid was initially harbors and military works, but air raids were made on the area along the Keihanshin Local Line, including an air raid on Osaka on March 14 and on Kobe on March 17, by B29s and other carrier planes with the aim of destroying the ability to continue the war and depriving people of the will to fight. Needless to say, railways were no exception and were attacked many times. Among cars of Keihanshin Local Line, two cars deposited at the Kobe Station were burnt up for the first time when a Kobe air raid was made on March 17, 1945. Thereafter, many cars were damaged by air raids made on the area along the line. When air raids were made on the works of the Kawasaki Airplane Company on July 7, the adjacent Akashi Train Depot was damaged severely and Moha 52006, the last "Ryuden" Moha 52, was burnt up. Air raids persistent, and on August 6, the day on which the atomic bomb was dropped on Hiroshima, four cars including Moha 43038, the top number of Handen Moha 43, were damaged from an air raid at Sumiyoshi Station. Apart from the damage caused by the air raids, repair of disabled cars couldn't be done properly due to the shortage of materials and the operation rates of trains dropped sharply. The war ended on August 15 under such circumstances.
Situations were even more confused during the initial stage of post-war period than during wartime. Although commuters going to military works disappeared, a lot of people rushed to trains including those who were going to buy food, demobilized soldiers, and repatriates. On the other hand, the operational rate of trains was quite low due to the damage caused by air raids and the increase of disabled cars, and even active cars often became disabled cars because of the shortage of repair parts.
The allied forces designated 'rail cars with a white stripe' even under such situations, and among the cars of Keihanshin Local Line, seven Kuha 55 cars, mainly former Kuroha 69 and Kuroha 59 cars, were designated as 'rail car with white a stripe.'
Under the pressure of an increasing number of disabled cars, JNR managed to secure reserve cars by reducing the number of trains running on the Kyoto-Takatsuki and the Akashi-Nishi-Akashi sections and hastened to repair disabled cars. In order to make up for a shortage of passenger cars, JNR also operated trains made up of only disabled cars of type 42 pulled by JNR C51 Type Steam Locomotive on the Osaka-Himeji section. This state of confusion gradually calmed down from 1946 to 1947 thanks to the introduction of type 63 cars. The work of installing seats removed during wartime, replacing wooden windows with glass windows and installing interior lamps commenced. Among others, cross seats were installed in cars with two doors and long seats were installed in cars with three and four doors. At the time, long seats were installed in type 51 cars previously equipped with cross seats. Thus, the Keihanshin Local Line was gradually restored and short distance operation during the rush hour between Suita and Kanzaki as well as between Sumiyoshi and Takatori resumed. When express trains began to run from Kyoto to Osaka in April 1949 and to Kobe in June, the timetable for both express and local trains, returned to the prewar state.
Golden era after the war (1950 - 1959)
After the timetable returned to normal, restoration of cars commenced. The purpose was to provide cross-seats like those available during the prewar period. For this reason, many trains were exchanged between Eastern Japan and Western Japan. Firstly, Moha 52 and Hanryu Moha 43 cars were transferred to the Hanwa Line when type 80 cars were introduced to express trains, and other type 42 cars (including Ryuden and Saha of Hanryu Moha 43) were transferred to the Yokosuka line while type 63 cars, that had been used for the Yokosuka Line, were transferred to another line. At the same time, most type 63 cars used in the Kansai region were transferred to the Kanto region. In exchange, out of the twenty-six Moha 51001-51026 cars used for rapid trains of the Chuo Line during the prewar era converted to Moha type 41 during the wartime, twenty-three cars, except for three cars damaged by air raids, were transferred to the Keihanshin Local Line (Saha 78 cars, converted cars of Saroha 66 cars, and Kuha 85 cars, converted cars of Kuha 47 cars, were introduced to the Osaka Loop Line and Sakurajima Line from which type 63 cars were transferred). Then, the rest of four-door cars of Keihanshin Local Line were transferred to the Joto/Nishinari Line, and instead, three-door cars, mainly type 51 cars with cross-seats, were transferred to the Keihanshin Local Line.
In early 1951, type 70 cars were introduced to the Keihanshin Local Line at the same time as the Yokosuka Line. Only Moha 70 cars were introduced initially and they were categorized into the 100 series because of the difference in jumper plug. They were painted in wine color in accordance with other types of cars.
As most of the cars belonging to the Keihanshin Local Line became three-door cars, cross-seats that were same with those of type 70 cars were installed on cars belonging to Miyahara and Akashi from 1951 to 1952
At the same time, gear ration of Moha 51001 - 51026 was altered so that it coincided with other cars of the Osaka Railway Bureau. When the regulation of types and classification letters were revised in 1953, all cross-seat cars were classified as type 51. As a result, the number of converted cars such as Moha 54 and Kuha 68 was bigger than those of the original cars.
When the operation of rail cars with white stripes were abolished in November 1951, their driving platforms were temporarily converted into second-class seats. Further, Kuroha 69001 and 69002, transferred to Kanto region, were transferred to Akashi and were redecorated, along with Kuha 55, formerly Kuroha 69, so that they restored to their prewar state. In addition to merely redecorating, their interior was painted in rosy-grey color (usually they were varnished), which was the same as the then popular special second-class cars, in the process redecorating. Also, deep red moquette was used for seats (blue moquette was used for ordinary second-class cars at the time), though the seats themselves were same as those used during the prewar era; namely fixed cross-seats and long-seats. Moreover, the same interior lamp shades as those of special second-class cars and fluorescent lamps were installed soon after they were put into practical use. As seen from above, their interiors were quite exquisite as persons in charge boasted 'they are Tokuro (abbreviated name of special second-class car) of the electric car,' and they were comparable to JNR 80 and JNR 70 series electric cars that were then being manufactured. When this redecorating work was completed in 1953, the line exceeded the prewar level in various aspects including the cars.
Unlike during the prewar period, trains made up of only three-door cars equipped with cross-seats were seldom seen on other lines (though a limited number of trains used type 72 cars and Kuha type 55 cars) and they were hailed by many railway maniacs as 'the Keihanshin Local Line in the Western Japan, the Yokosuka Line in the Eastern Japan.'
Among them, trains using a Kuroha type 69 car, the finest car, was made up of four cars, Kuha type 68 (later Kuha type 76), Moha type 70, Moha type 70 and Kuroha type 69 from Nishi-Akashi side, and they were operated with another two cars added on at the Kyoto side during the rush hour. Trains without Kuroha were made up of three or four cars. As the number of type 70 cars constantly increased since then including Kuha type 76 cars introduced at the end of 1954, they were dubbed 'Chabozu' since all of them were painted wine color. As numbers of Kuha type 76 cars were limited, there were no regular trains that used type 76 cars on both ends. However, trains unexpectedly became beautiful when additional cars were attached to regular trains and Kuha type 76 cars were used on the both ends. By the end of 1957, sixty-five type 70 cars were introduced to the Keihanshin Local Line, though no type 300 type cars, metal-made cars, were introduced, and they played their expected role. The Takatsuki Tram Depot was established in March 1956, and cars for the local line belonging to Miyahara were transferred there.
Operating the line, including the express train, was substantially altered by the revision of the timetable made on September 25, 1957. After the Ibaragi-Osaka section became a quadruple-track section, two tracks on the side became exclusive for urban electric trains (administered by the Railway Bureau) while two tracks on the outer side became exclusive for long distance trains (administered by the head office) - when the section was double-track section, local trains ran on the outer track and express trains ran on the outer track. As a result, local and express trains began to run on the same track and both trains connected to each other at Ashiya and Takatsuki. At the same time, express trains were renamed Rapid. On this occasion, local trains running during the rush hour began to use a seven-car train and short distance operation was abolished. Other than the above, no substantial changes were made in the operation of local trains while the distance of the operation of express trains (Rapid) was extended whenever the electrified section was extended. Around 1955, the Keihanshin Local Line, where type 51 cars were listed in the catalogue as 'Osaka-type cars' and type 70 cars manufactured after the war were mainly used, was in its golden age.
Hardships in the shadow of enhancing transport capacity (1960 - 1967)
In the late 1950's, mitigating congestion and enhancing transport capacity were required not only for lines running in the city center but also for middle-distance lines such as the Keihanshin Local Line and the Yokosuka Line. Since enhancing transport capacity of the Yokosuka Line was urgently needed in particular, type 70 cars of the Keihanshin Local Line were transferred to the Yokosuka Line because the development of new suburban car operating on DC was delayed. Concretely speaking, JNR 101 series cars were introduced to Rapid service of the Chuo Line, the Yamanote Line and the west side of the Osaka Loop Line in exchange for JNR 40 series cars and type 72 cars, and the latter were transferred to the Keihanshin Local Line in exchange for type 70 cars. From 1960 to 1962, most type 70 cars belonging to Akashi and Takatsuki were transferred to Ofuna by this method. As enhancing transport capacity of Rapid service for the Hanwa Line was done by the same method, some type 70 cars belonging to Hineno Tram Depot were also transferred. This method was also used for new electrified sections that were opened to traffic. Some type 51 cars were transferred to Okayama Tram Depot when electrification in Okayama region (Kamigori-Kurashiki section, Okayama-Uno section) was completed in October 1960, and type 70 cars and Kuha type 68 cars were transferred when electrification of the Shinetsu Line in Niigata was completed in May 1962. Further, enhancement of transport capacity for the Keihanshin Local Line was done using cars transferred from other lines. As type 72 cars transferred from the Rapid service of the Chuo Line and the Osaka Loop Line at that time included many of the new cars, type 920 metal-made cars and a Kumoha type 73001 metal-made car later transferred to the Kabe Line, their quality level was relatively high compared with type 72 cars that were later transferred.
Composition of the trains on the Keihanshin Local Line, were mainly made up of three-door cars with semi-cross-seats, was seriously affected by the transfer of type 51 and 70 cars as well as the introduction of many type 72 cars. The Osaka Railway Bureau endeavored to keep trains made up of semi-cross-seat cars running, especially those using Kuroha 69, by gathering Moha 70 and Kuha 68 cars, but it was forced to eventually use type 72 cars. Even under such circumstances, the Osaka Railway Bureau tried to minimize the decrease in the level by using 920 type metal-made cars and new type 72 cars. Later Saro 85 began to be used for Rapid service in 1961, however, the significance of using Kuroha for local trains decreased and the use of Kuroha was terminated in October 1962 on the grounds of mitigating congestion. During the next year, Kuroha type 69 cars were downgraded to Kuha 55150 and remodeled into cars with long-seats (this included cars that had been damaged in accidents and remodeled before abolition). The abolition of Kuroha was the turning point in the change of the Keihanshin Local Line from a middle-distance inter urban line to a commuter line.
Although congestion on trains during the rush hour became serious due to the increase in the population of the area along the line, trains running during the daytime were not so congested. Although the introduction of type 72 cars to such a line was obviously service degradation, the Keihanshin Local Line was forced into this since type 51 and 70 cars were easy to use and the number of lines to which type 72 cars could be transferred was limited. In addition, type 72 trains that were transferred from Kanto region to enforced the transport capacity included many of copper-made cars manufactured during the wartime, such as Kuha 79004 later transferred to the Kabe Line, and remodeled cars of former type 63 cars. Further, as the maintenance of these cars had not been done properly, quality of cars of the Keihanshin Local Line declined rapidly. By utilizing these cars, the Osaka Railway Bureau began to operate seven-car trains all day long like at present in 1963 (four-car trains were still operated during the daytime, and all trains became a seven-car train as of March 15, 1972). In addition, short distance operations on the Suita-Amagasaki section was revived and the section was changed to the Suita-Koshienguchi section when the track arrangement of Koshienguchi was improved in 1964 (by using the freight line site of the Hanshin Mukogawa Line). Nishi-Akashi Station was moved to the current place in June 1961 and the Takatori- Nishi-Akashi section became a quadruple-track section in March 1965. In 1966, the Kyoto-Mukomachi section became a quadruple-track section thanks to the separation of the freight track and passenger track, and the entire section of local trains became a quadruple-track section.
In the meantime, there was a perception gap between the JNR Head Office and the Osaka Railway Bureau concerning the introduction of type 72 cars. There was a big difference between the Keihanshin Local Line and the Keihin Tohoku Line, though they were seemingly similar from the viewpoint of JNR Head Office,. First, while the Keihin Tohoku Line ran through the center of Tokyo from Tabata to Oimachi, for the Keihanshin Local Line it was only the Rokkomichi-Takatori section in Kobe City, and the sizes of two cities were completely different. Second, the area along the Omiya-Sakuragicho section was already urbanized at the time. In the case of the Keihanshin Local Line, by contrast, trains ran, after parting with the Nishi-Oji Line of the Kyoto Municipal Tramway at Nishi-Oji Station, next stop from Kyoto, through the area where only a few factories and fields were located except around the station before arriving at Takatsuki, and after Takatsuki, they ran through the area where factories, fields, and residential districts were patchily located before passing over the Yodo-gawa River. The situation was same in the Hanshin area (the area between Osaka and Kobe), more urbanized than the Keihan area (the area between Kyoto and Osaka), and a lot of paddies/fields were located along the line. The area west of Suma was still a suburb though housing and land development was progressing. Because of the above-mentioned differences, the Keihin-Tohoku Line used long-seat cars since the prewar era while the Keihanshin Local Line used three-door cars with semi-cross-seat such as 51 and 70 type cars since it was an interurban line that connected three major cities, Kyoto, Osaka, and Kobe, with middle-sized cities like Takatsuki, Ibaragi, Suita, Amagasaki, Nishinomiya, Ashiya, and Akashi. While the nature of two lines were different as mentioned above, there was a more critical difference between the two lines. It was the existence of competitors.
No competitors existed for the Keihin-Tohoku Line other than the Keikyu Main Line, which ran side by side with the Keihin-Tohoku Line on the Shinagawa-Yokohama section. In addition, the Keihin-Tohoku Line needed to compete with only Keikyu's local trains since the Yokosuka Line played the role of a competitor for the superior trains of Keikyu. Furthermore, Keikyu's local trains could hardly compete with the Keihin-Tohoku Line because they used old-model cars and the distance between stations was short.
In the case of the Keihanshin Local Line, by contrast, the Hankyu Kyoto Main Line, Hankyu Kobe Main Line, Hanshin Main Line, and Sanyo Railway Main Line ran side by side with it throughout the entire section. In addition, the Keihanshin Local Line was required to compete with not only local trains but also superior trains, such as express trains, of these lines because of the long distance between stations. These lines were tough competitors in terms of car quality as well. Hankyu railway was using Hankyu 100 series cars and Hankyu 920 series cars manufactured in the prewar era, Hankyu 710 series cars and Hankyu 810 series cars were manufactured in the early postwar era, Hankyu 1010 series cars and Hankyu 1300 series cars were developed as high-performance cars as well as Hankyu 2000 series cars and Hankyu 2300 series cars were awarded the first Laurel Prize. Hanshin Railway, rapidly introducing large-size cars, introduced Hanshin 3561/3061 series cars, Hanshin 3301/3501 series cars, and red copper cars of Hanshin 7801/7901 series for superior trains and Jet Car (Hanshin 5001 series and Hanshin 5101/5102 series) for local trains and replaced old-model cars. Sanyo Railway was using, in addition to Sanyo 820/850 series cars that were previously used for super-express trains, Sanden 2000 series cars including two-door cars for super-express and three-door cars for commuting trains, Sanden 250 series cars that were converted from Sanden 100 series wooden cars, Sanden 250 series cars, Sanden 270 series cars, Sanden 300 series cars that were converted from streamline-shaped small-size cars of Sanden 200 series cars, Sanden 2700 series cars that were converted from Sanden 700 series cars famous for broad-gauge 63 type, 700 type metal-made cars and Sanden 3000 series cars that are being used even at present. As shown above, all companies operated not only famous cars manufactured in the prewar era, but also cars that were newly developed or remodeled after the war. The Keihanshin Local Line could have competed with them if type 51 and 70 cars equipped with semi-cross seats had been used, but type 72 cars converted from second-hand type 63 cars were inferior to even broad-gauge 63 cars and Sanden 700 series cars that were well maintained. Although metal-made cars of the 920 series of type 72 and cars fully converted into metal-made cars were on par with Hanshin 7801 series cars, the quality of cars became substantially inferior to those of other lines in general. Due to the introduction of many type 72 cars that ignoring the characteristics of the line, the Keihanshin Local Line lost not only its attraction, but also its competitiveness. To make matters worse, the construction work of Kobe Rapid Transit Railway, which connects the Hankyu Kobe Line/Hanshin Main Line with Sanyo Railway, began in 1962.
Under such circumstances, the Osaka Railway Bureau strived to maintain 'Keihanshin Local Line using three-door cars equipped with cross-seats' by the transfer of Kumoha 54 cars to the Niigata region (eventually Moha 70 cars were transferred because of the cold resistance/snow resistance of motor) as well as the transfer of twenty cars (including cars that were once transferred from the Keihanshin Local Line and Kuha 76305, a sole all-metal car among cars of 300 series of type 70) of type 70, which was created along with the development of electric train of JR Suburban Trains Series 113 of Yokosuka Line during 1964 and 65, to Akashi (including Saha 58 that was converted from Saha 48 for Ryuden into a three-door car).
However, because the number of passengers reached nearly 300% of train's capacity and the glass of the doors was often damaged due to overcrowding of passengers, it became impossible to deal with the transport during rush hours with three-door cars equipped with cross-seats
Under such circumstances, the Osaka Railway Bureau transferred most of the type 70 cars to Ogaki Transportation Depot when the Chuo Main Line was electrified in Mizunami City (Saha 58 cars were transferred to Okayama) in the following year while receiving many second-hand type 72 cars from the Keihin-Tohoku Line, and enforced the transport capacity during rush hours at the expense of the number of seats to be provided to passengers during the daytime. Nearly 100 cars of type 51 remained even after that, and sixty cars of type 51 as well as three cars of Moha 70 remained at the time of the 'Yonsanto' timetable revision made on October 1, 1968. Therefore, the Bureau continued to operate trains connecting cars equipped with cross-seats by utilizing one or two cars of the above types for both regular and auxiliary trains. Meanwhile, type 113 suburban cars were introduced for Rapid service in 1964 because it became difficult for the existing type 80 cars to cope with the congestion during the rush hour and private railway companies introduced new cars for the super-express trains during the early 1960's.
The 70's, the age of type 103 (1968 - 1982)
Although the Joban Line and the Keihanshin Local Line were taken into account in designing type 103 cars, it was generally believed that some amendments might be required when they were actually put into service. This is because type 103 cars were designed focusing on the situation of commuting lines in the Tokyo Metropolitan Area (distance between stations, official speed, power condition). They were designed on the premise that notch-off occurs when trains are running at sixty-eighty kilometers per hour and trains running at higher speeds than that were not taking into account. Therefore, questions were raised whether they were suitable for the Keihanshin Local Line on which such high-speed is required, though they were usable.
When they were introduced in 1965 to the Keihin-Tohoku Line, where distances between stations is longer than two kilometers, their suitability as commuting cars was tested by adjusting the gear ratio for a little bit more high-speed or by using MT54. As a result, no big differences were found compared with original type 103 cars, and it was confirmed that they were usable, without any amendments, where distances between stations are longer than two kilometers.
They were then introduced in 1966 to the Joban Line on which distances between stations are long, and where no drastic amendments were made, other than installing disk brakes, thanks to the study results obtained when they were introduced to the Keihin-Tohoku Line.
In 1955, the Osaka Railway Bureau once requested high efficiency cars which could shake off Rapid service in order to increase the operation frequency of short-distance rapid trains on the Kyoto-Kobe section. Their requirements were - four-door cars with long-seat, gear ratio: about 14.82, normal speed : about 103km when the number of passengers is 250% of capacity, average acceleration: 1.3 m h/s. Although the Bureau intended to operate short-distance rapid trains made up of six to ten cars every fifteen minutes, JNR Head Office concluded that if the Bureau needed new-type cars in order to increase the operation frequency of rapid trains, it should increase the number of cars per train instead of increasing the operation frequency.
At that time, both of rapid trains and local trains ran on the inner line even on the quadruple-track section
Although the Bureau wanted to operate rapid trains on the outer track during rush hours, it was difficult due to the relationship with fright trains and superior trains as well as the structure of Ashiya and Takatsuki stations. Under such circumstances, the Bureau had no choice but to operate high efficiency local trains which could shake off rapid trains between the stations where they wait for the passing of rapid trains.
In 1964, the Osaka Railway Bureau acknowledged that, depending upon busy conditions of the track, conventional types of train like type 103 may be used instead of high efficiency local trains, though transport during rush hours using inner tracks only had become saturated and was requiring a new type medium speed train coupled with higher speed capabilities, other than highly-accelerating trains like type 103.
If the circumstance change to allow use of outer tracks in preparation for an increase of Rapid trains, it will be possible to achieve the purpose of augmenting transportation without increasing the frequency of Rapid service on the inner tracks.. Therefore, high efficiency local trains are not necessarily required for increasing the frequency of trains. In fact, since October of 1966, some Rapid trains running on the inner tracks have been transferred to the outer tracks after both Ashiya and Takatsuki stations changed their configurations enabling to lead trains from outer tracks onto the platform tracks. Accordingly, it became unnecessary, at this stage, to additionally operate high speed local trains required by the Osaka Railway Bureau.
On April 7, 1968, its competitor, Kobe Rapid Transit Railway Co., Ltd., launched operations. As a counterplan, it completed the remodeling of Rapid trains to type 113 cars in 1967, and revised its timetable from then-current twenty-minute intervals for Rapid and ten-minute intervals for local trains to the current fifteen-minute intervals for all trains, at 'Yonsanto' (literally, 'four-three-ten') timetable revision on October 1, 1968.
At this stage, the difference between Rapid and local trains in both performance and services became greater, necessitating sooner introduction of new cars for local trains. Both the Kansai branch office and the Osaka Railway Bureau have been requesting the head office to introduce new cars as soon as possible. But, the new cars were preferentially directed to the metropolitan area where explosive demands for commuter trains are seen. Consequently, the Keihanshin Local Train was continuously forced to wait for the introduction of new cars, until it would become too late for Expo'70 in 1970. The strong desire of the Osaka Railway Bureau to have new cars before Expo'70 could have led to the introduction of type 103 cars to Keihanshin Local Train. In fact, type 103 cars were already running at that time on the Joban Line (currently the Joban Rapid Line) and the Hanwa Line Rapid where distances between stations are long and high-speed performance is required. Accordingly, the same type 103 cars were judged to be able to sufficiently cope with the demand of the Keihanshin Local Line. Thus, the operation of type 103 cars started at Akashi on August 8, 1969.
And, by February of the following year, fifteen trains or 105 cars in total were set ready for operation during Expo'70
However, this series of type 103 cars introduced to Keihanshin Local Line was found incapable of increasing acceleration power at the speed over sixty kilometers per hour, causing the cooling fans of motor to make a tremendous sound at speeds higher than seventy kilometers per hour, though this series of type 103 cars was certainly improved with regard to acceleration and deceleration capabilities within the range of lower speed if compared with series 51, 70, and 72.
Although the theoretical maximum speed was set at 100 km/h for a new type car, its practical highest speed was limited to ninety-five km/h, which was certainly better than ninety km/h of conventional series. As electrical brakes can be used, braking distance was also improved from the conventional type car.
According to the new timetable revised in October of 1970, just after Expo'70, newly born Special Rapid trains were put into operation interspacing the then current timetable, so that some local trains were forced to shunt at Ashiya, Shin-Osaka, Takatsuki to let both the New Rapid and Rapid trains to pass. From the introduction of series 103 on the Keihanshin Local Line, type 51 cars were transferred to the Iida Line, Minobu Line, Ako Line, and other lines, as well as the type 72 cars to the lines on the metropolitan rings and the Hanwa Line. And, at the beginning of 1971, when the last remaining three cars of Series MoHa-70 were transferred to Senseki Line, the Series 70 has disappeared from Keihan Local Line in advance of the Series 70.
From February to March 1972, the first improved train with two sealed-beam head lamps each and with unitized side windows was made and put into production, out of which a total 109 new cars consisting of fifteen trains plus one spare set of four cars were put into operation at the Akashi Train Depot. Besides the Keihanshin local line, this series of improved cars was also delivered for service on the Joban Kaisoku Line (Joban Rapid Line) (Matsudo Train Center).
With the introduction of these improved cars, most commuter trains operating during the daytime were changed to series type 103 cars. In accordance with JNR's revision timetable of March 15, 1972, made in the wake of the extension of Sanyo Shinkansen line to Okayama Station, Special Rapid trains ran at intervals of fifteen minutes while the timetable for the Keihanshin Local Line was drastically altered.
Conventional type cars with a maximum speed of ninety km/h were unable to get clear of Special Rapid trains that were running faster than Limited Express trains at intervals of fifteen minutes. Operation of Special Rapid trains at intervals of fifteen minutes became possible only after the adoption of type 103 cars for daytime operations. Nevertheless, it has become impossible to run trains between Kyoto and Nishi-Akashi stations.
Accordingly, the operation of local trains between Kyoto and Nishi-Akashi stations was divided into two lines, one between Kyoto and Koshien-guchi stations and another between Suita and Nishi-Akashi stations. In addition, local trains had no choice but to shunt at Takatsuki and Ashiya stations to pass both Special Rapid and Rapid trains back-to-back, and at Suma station to pass a Special Rapid train. The frame of this timetable continued for thirteen years until March 13, 1985.
However, this series of type 103 car was consistently required to operate at higher speeds than the practical maximum speed of ninety-five km/h, which had caused a spate of troubles including shocks from the electric braking system, each problem of which was subsequently cleared and solved one by one. Although the operation of local trains was divided into two lines, the same blocking system was assigned to both inner and outer tracks, and the traffic lights, installed at a distance designed with the assumption of braking power of freight trains, gave immediate signals to restrict the speed of the following trains. The blocking system was, however, not suitable to assure smooth operation of one Special Rapid train, one Rapid train and two local trains every fifteen minutes in a cycle, which meant each train was running at intervals of an average of three minutes and forty-five seconds. Accordingly, a new interval for Special Rapid trains between Osaka and Sannomiya became twenty-three minutes and thirty seconds, ten-minutes more than previous twenty three minutes and twenty seconds before the timetable revision.
Around that time, both JNR and private railroads began the operation of air-conditioned cars for commuter trains.
After 1970, JNR started remodelling Rapid trains of the 113 series and equipped them with air-conditioning system, beside Special Rapid trains using JNR electric cars converted from the 153 series of the Express 'Marine Liner' and 'the history of superior trains on the Sanyo Main Line'
Under such circumstances, local trains were also equipped with air-conditioning, including the Yamanote Line, Chuo Line Rapid service and the Osaka Loop Line, followed by Keihanshin Local Line as the fourth with eleven trains consisting of seventy-seven newly built air-conditioned cars from January to March of 1974. These air-conditioned cars were assigned to Takatsuki Train Depot, for the first time deployment of the 103 series to Takatsuki. Since then, JNR adopted a new method to renew a trailer car on site instead of replacing the whole train, when they started manufacturing new trailer cars with high-positioned control cab, destined for the Tokyo area under preparatory works for ATC, as well as middle cars destined for Keihanshin Local Line. These cars "KuHa 103" introduced to the Keihanshin Local Line were virtually newly built cars, some of the air-conditioned cars mass-produced in the previous year for operation on Yamanote Line and Chuo Line Rapid Service. A sticker marking 'Air-conditioned Car' with an illustration of a penguin was pasted on the window panes on the newly deployed air-conditioned trains, indicating air-conditioned cars.
As above, a total of 291cars of series 103 (consisting of forty-one train sets plus one extra set of a four-car train) were introduced to the Keihanshin Local Line three times, but still 100 cars of series 51 and 72 remained at Akashi Depot and Takatsuki Depot in 1975. In order to replace train series 51 and 72 with the series 103 from April through September of the same year, 1975, thirty-five cars of type 103 (seven sets of five middle cars) and twenty-three cars of type 103 (four sets of five middle cars, one extra unit of two motor cars and one extra trailer car) were deployed at Akashi and Takatsuki depots respectively. In addition, twenty-four Tc cars of (trailer car with cab) were transferred from the Yamanote Line that was under preparatory works for the installation of the ATC system. Thus, Keihanshin Local Line was completely reorganized with the train series 103, by introducing a total of eighty cars consisting of eleven sets of seven-car trains, one extra unit of disjoined two motor cars, and one trailer car. Consequently, the Keihanshin Local Line's commuter train series 103 totaled 371 cars consisting of fifty-two sets of trains, one extra set of four-car train, one extra unit of disjoined two motor cars and one trailer car. But, among the type 103 cars converted at that time, a series of KuHa type 103 cars (type 103 commuter trains with a cab-equipped lead coach without driving motor) were not air-conditioned at all, so they could not be used during the summer season, but had to be renovated into air-conditioned cars at Suita and Takatori depots. At the same time, some cars that were not remodelled into air-conditioned cars were tentatively equipped only with control switches for air-conditioning, and also one Tc coach was replaced with another from the air-conditioned trains. This way, JNR managed to overcome difficult situations during the summer season until it completed the renovation in September, but JNR still operated the trains under tentative timetables until the end of February of the following year in order to reserve an extra Tc equipped with an air-conditioning system. Thus, the old type cars have all retired from operation, including those once planned as a series 105 that later became dead.. Among the retired cars, there had been four cars of the old series KuMoHa 51 (train series 51 with a cab-equipped motor coach) which remained in operation until the last moment before the renovation of the Keihanshin Local Line, among which KuMoHa 51010, equipped with Garland ventilator, was transferred to the Chuo Line, and the three other cars (51028, 51038 and 51056) were remodelled into new series MoHa 51 (train series 51 with motor coaches). Since then, these four coaches were used for the Keihanshin Local Line. Except for the above mentioned four cars and another KuHa 55150 type car (old KuRoHa 69 type) which was transferred to the Hanwa Line, all the other cars have retired from operation, crowning their glorious careers at the Keihanshin Local Line.
After completing the replacement with series 103 on the Keihanshin Local Line, JNR replaced in August 1976 an extra tailer car disjoined at Takatsuki Depot with a Tc transferred from Keihin Tohoku Line to Morinomiya Tram Depot which was converted to an air-conditioned car at the time of transfer. At the time of timetable revision in October 1978, JNR tried to increase the transportation capacity during commuting hours by organizing two sets of seven-car trains with an extra set of four-car train (total eighteen cars), composed of newly built cars plus existing cars like the extra trailer coach on the Osaka Loop Line, a used Tc transferred from the Yamanote Line and an extra car from Akashi Depot. Since then, JNR began reforming the first improved cars into air-conditioned coaches and implemented a total of six sets (forty-two cars) by 1981.
Before and after the break-up and privatization of JNR (1983 - 1994):
After a thirteen year period of little change since the introduction of commuter train series 103 on the Keihanshin Local Line, JNR deployed at Takatsuki Depot in December of 1982 a new JNR electric train series 201 colored sky-blue for the first time in the Kansai region, which began a training run in January of the next year and started operation on February 21, introducing ten trains by March of the year. This was the third introduction of electric train series 201 after the Chuo Line Rapid Services in 1981 (a trial car had already been made in 1979), and the Chuo/Sobu Local Line in 1982.
In sharp contrast with the introduction of commuter train series 103 on the Keihanshin Local Line, JNR took quick action to introduce new cars to the line to meet the requirements of the Katamachi Line and Kansai Line to replace, as soon as possible, their aging train series 101 and to improve their comparatively lower ratio of air-conditioned cars. These replacements were urgently required especially by the Kansai Line which was compelled to scrap many 101-type cars due to damage caused by water-covered storage tracks within the enclosure of Oji Station when typhoon No.10 attacked that area in August of the previous year, though the Kansai line managed to operate other scrap-determined 101-type cars collected from other lines in metropolitan area.
The introduction of commuter train series 201 on the Keihanshin Local Line was effectively linked not only to the replacement of the old series 101 at both Katamachi and Kansai Lines and improvement of the ratio of air-conditioned cars on the same lines, but also to transferring a series of 103-type cars without high-speed capability off the Keihanshin Local Line and also to try to speed up Katamachi and Kansai lines, killing three birds with one stone. Although a type 201 car was charged with rather difficult challenge to use regenerating brakes in a high-speed range, it had in fact a far higher capacity than type 103 cars, because it was equipped with a high-output (150 kW) motor type MT60 and an armature chopper control device that was designed for future suburban trains. Besides, its bogie was air cushioned schlieren type bogie series DT46, offering an incomparably comfortable ride to passengers especially in the high-speed range, being so different from a bogie series DT33 for type 103 cars as chalk from cheese. In this way, the series of type 201 cars happened to be an excellent fit to the desired features of the Keihanshin Local Line. They were also welcomed favorably by passengers who appreciated these cars characterized by an apparently recognizable blackface and bright interior finish both featuring a newly built car. In addition, JNR boasted that these train series 201, along with Special Rapid series 117, were no longer inferior to the trains of private railways running in parallel, and used them as a symbol of their counter attack on private railways to which JR/JNR had been mostly defensive. At that time, the train series 103 that had been replaced with series 201 were transferred to both the Katamachi and Kansai Lines., without changing their color of sky-blue. And the remaining trailer cars were transferred to the Hanwa Line and applied to their ongoing plan of eight-car Rapid train series. Also, some trains were transferred to Akashi Depot according to individual operations, leaving Takatsuki Depot with only train series 201.
For the second time, introduction of train series 201 was implemented from June through September of 1983, when six sets of train series 201were deployed at Akashi Depot, discharging type 103 cars then transferred to Katamachi and Kansai Lines to replace their old type 101 cars. The type 103 cars then discharged from the Keihanshin Local Line included not only air-conditioned cars, but also cars of primary improvements without air-conditioning, which were then transferred either after converting to air-conditioned cars or without such conversion. Extra trailer cars then reserved at the Keihanshin Local Line were transferred to such metropolitan train depots as Urawa and Matsudo.
As the introduction of train series 201 was carried out at a rapid pace, seven sets of the series were deployed at Akashi Depot for the third introduction from December of 1983 through March of 1984. From November 1984, JNR introduced nine sets of 'light-duty cars' designed to cut further costs by installing two-step upright sliding windows and by adopting transfer printing technology for numbering. Thus, a total of thirty-two sets of train series 201, consisting of 224 cars, were eventually assigned to both Takatsuki and Akashi Depots. Through this development, the local trains of Kansai Line were changed to the series 103, and 101-type cars without air-conditioning of Katamachi Line were replaced with the air-conditioned, as well as extra trailer cars of Keihanshin Local Line were transferred to Katamachi Line's to introduce their 7-car train series.
At the time, when the train series 201 became the majority on the Keihanshin Local Line, JNR decided to make a new timetable to make the best of train series 201 in March 1985. According to the newly revised timetable, the runs during the rush-hour were extended to Kakogawa at one end and to Kusatsu at the other end, as well as one local service every hour during daytime. Through (skewered) operations of a local train practiced during the daytime since 1972 were all abolished and split into two ways of operation, one being direct services between Takatsuki and Nishi-Akashi/Kakogawa and another being shorter distance services between Suita and Koshien-guchi, while local stopping services between Kyoto and Takatsuki were abolished by making Rapid trains stop at each station. As seen in the current timetable, train series 201 could operate directly between Kakogawa and Kyoto without any performance problems, but the actual quantity of available type 201cars at that time was not enough for the Keihanshin Local Line to accomplish this schedule, and since JNR was in a difficult position to increase the required type 201 cars, the Keihanshin Local Line was compelled to manage the existing cars by scrap and build methods. Efforts to streamline the end-stage JNR continued until the revision of the timetable in March of 1986 where all train series 201 at Takatsuki Depot were transferred to Akashi Depot to rationalize their operation in accordance with the policy of one line controlled by one depot.
In August of the same year, four sets of train series 205, marked with a sky-blue band on each car body, were deployed at Akashi Depot. Accordingly, train series 103 was transferred to the Hanwa and Musashino Lines. Further, on the occasion of the JNR's last timetable revision held in November 1986, the newly deployed train series 205, along with existing series 201, contributed to the increase of transportation capacity of Keihanshin Local Line. While Special Rapid trains were then running on the outer tracks, the inner tracks were used for increased traffic services, such as extensions of short distance operations between Suita and Koshien-guchi to longer distance operations between Takatsuki and Kobe, as well as higher speed operations of local trains by eliminating shunting time to pass Special Rapid trains at Ashiya and Suma stations, thus founding the basis for present timetable of all trains including Rapid and Special Rapid trains. On March 31, 1987, JNR was divided and privatized into several JR companies each of which started a new operation on April 1. Around that time, the Keihanshin Local Line underwent no significant change, except for the conversion of two sets of train series 103 that were air-conditioned from 1987 through 1988.
After 1989, the remaining train series 103 at Keihanshin Local Line became busy in their manipulation. Among the remaining sets of the oldest cars without air-conditioning, all of which had been deployed in 1969, three sets were converted to four-car trains and transferred to the Fukuchiyama Line to increase their transportation capacity, and another train set was divided into four-car trains and three-car trains after converting the cars into air-conditioned ones, and transferring them to the Yodogawa Line. At that time, there was only one train without air-conditioning on the Keihanshin Local Line, except for their reserved middle cars without air-condition.. Thus, trains of Keihanshin Local Line became virtually fully air-conditioned. In the following year, the last remaining set without air-conditioning was exchanged with a set of cars without air-conditioning at Hineno Depot, in the wake of installing ATS-P system at Hanwa Line. At that time, the Keihanshin Local Line received for the first time a train set of only used cars, consisting of two MM-units and one Trailer, of which the Tc directed to Nishi-Akashi had been used on the Yamanote Line and the Tc directed toward Kyoto was a Kuha type 103-2052 car converted from original Kuha type 101.
Following a timetable revision made in March 1991, where the interval of Rapid train services between Nishi-Akashi and Kakogawa during daytime hours was changed to fifteen minutes, the local train services to Kakogawa became limited to rush hours during the morning. In autumn of 1991, when mass-produced train series 207 were introduced to the Katamachi Line (Gakken-toshi Line), train series 103 was transferred from the Katamachi Line to the Keihanshin Local Line replacing the latter's last remaining trains without air-conditioning. Thus, the Keihanshin Local Line converted 100% of their cars to air-conditioning both in name and reality. The replaced cars without air-conditioning were used for a while as instruction cars, but later the two MM units were converted to air-conditioned car series WAU102 and underwent life-prolonging NB repairs, while T and Tc cars were abolished. The Keihanshin Local Line had continuously shuffled train series 103 until 1993 when a train set of Tc with high-positioned cab was transferred from the Fukuchiyama Line where train series 207 were deployed. The Tc train set transferred from Fukuchiyama Line was realigned by replacing the middle cars and removing a lead car and MM unit to Hiroshima. In that way, train series 103 completed the last stage on the Keihanshin Local Line. And finally, in March 1994, train series 103 was completely replaced with 112 cars of train series 207 (with their car numbers in the 1000 range) composed of fourteen sets of eight-car trains (six-car basic train with adjunctive two cars per train) deployed at Takatsuki Depot (Suita factory, a satellite of Takatsuki Depot). Thus, train series 103 closed their long history on the Keihanshin Local Line that had lasted for twenty-five years since 1969, including the period of subordinate roles they played after introducing train series 201 in 1983. The train series 103 then removed from the Keihanshin Local Line was transferred to Okayama, Hiroshima, and Nara lines to replace their old series 113 and 115 that had no air-conditioning. By introduction of train series 207, Keihanshin Local Line could launch operation of 8-car trains together with 6-car train services that were resumed after a long time interval. Six-car train services were marked with circled numbers on train schedule boards installed at each station. With a revised timetable made in September of the same year, JR started new services on Saturday and holidays on the Keihanshin Local Line, with the expansion of the five-day work week.
As the center of the urban network system (1995-):
The Keihanshin Local Line, running through the center of the urban site of Kobe City, suffered great damage from the Great Hanshin-Awaji Earthquake on January 17, 1995, since it ran through the seriously hit area, from epicenter (in the Akashi Strait off the coast of Asaka Station) to Muko-gawa River (between Koshien Station and Tachibana Station). Because the earthquake occurred in the early morning, most JNR's coaches escaped big damage, though news papers and TV repeatedly reported the scene of one set of train series 201 left standing on an elevated track, on the east side of Takatori Station that miraculously avoided a nearby disastrous fire south-east of the station. Together with Kobe Rapid Transit Railway and the Hanshin Main Line, which resumed operations between Kosokukobe and Hanshin-Sannomiya two days later, JNR made it possible, in two weeks after the earthquake, to reach Sannomiya by changing trains. Restoration work was carried out every day and night until February 8, when the section between Ashiya and Sumiyoshi was restored, and until February 20, when another section between Kobe and Nada was restored, leaving the section between Sumiyoshi and Nada yet to be reconstructed including an elevated bridge that had been destroyed in the area of Rokkomichi. After restoration between Nishi-Akashi and Nada, transportation capacity was increased by arranging a part of train series 201 into twelve-car trains made up of two sets of eight-car trains excluding the T-coaches. Twelve-car trains were running as a local up-trains making stops at Asaka, Maiko, Shioya, and Takatori stations whose platforms were extended for twelve-car trains, but the same down-trains were operated as Rapid service. Furthermore, additional train series 103 were mobilized from Hiroshima and Hineno depots in order to supplement the shortage of trains between Nishi-Akashi and Nada. Meanwhile, restoration of Shinnagata Station and its surrounding area was also implemented to resume operations on March 10. And, the whole line was eventually restored on April 1. Even after completion of the restoration work, further efforts continued for reintegration to original conditions including the infrastructure before the earthquake, such as remodeling of train series 201 from eight-car or twelve-car sets to original seven-car train sets as well as transferring of train series 103 to the Fukuchiyama Line. By the timetable revision made on September 1, the same year, train services of the Fukuchiyama Line were extended to Suita during the rush hour to improve the convenience of passengers on the Shinkansen bullet trains. On July 20, 1996, about one and half years after the earthquake, when Kobe City began to show signs of gradual restoration, another revision of the timetable was made, where train services to Kobe during the day time were extended to Suma, aiming at expanding demand, was highly welcomed by beach goers amid the sea-bathing season.
Toward the inauguration of JR Tozai Line on March 8, 1997, reshuffling train series 207 was widely conducted on the Keihanshin Local Line as well as Yodogawa and Miyahara train depots. Considering the fact that every train had to be combined or separated at Matsuiyamate, each train set was again unified to a seven-car train consisting of a basic four-car train plus an additional three-car down train. The Keihanshin Local Line took the opportunity of the inauguration of the Tozai Line to drastically change their current timetable. A conventional through operation between Takatsuki and Suma/Nishi-Akashi was divided into two; one being a direct operation from Nishi-Akashi to Matsuiyamate on the Tozai Line with its connecting service for the section from Amagasaki to Takatsuki, and another being a through operation between Suma Station and Takatsuki Station.
Further revisions of the timetable were repeatedly made several times:
According to the timetable revised on September 1, the same year, when rewiring works at Kyoto Station Building and Amagasaki Station were completed, the Keihanshin Local Line resumed its daytime services extended to Kyoto after a long interval of twelve years. Also by the same timetable revision, the starting station of direct train services into the Tozai Line was changed to Suma Station. In addition, local train services on the Takarazuka Line (Fukuchiyama Line) were integrated with sectional train operations between Amagasaki and Takatsuki, thus participating in the services of the Keihanshin Local Line. At that time, trains were operated in rotation from Kyoto to Nishi-Akashi, to Takatsuki, to Shin-Sanda, and back to Kyoto, until the timetable was revised in March 2003, whereby the rotation became divided into two lines, namely the Keihanshin Local Line (from Kyoto to Nishi-Akashi) and the Keihanshin/JR Takarazuka Line (between Takatsuki and Shin-Sanda). As direct operations to other lines were normalized, it became unnecessary to repaint type 103 cars of the Fukuchiyama Line, canary yellow. From 1999 through 2000, type 103 cars of Miyahara Depot were repainted sky blue. Although the Keihanshin Local Line resumed services of train series 103 to Kyoto, their operating time was limited to the rush hour only and their operational area did not cover the western side beyond Amagasaki.
Then in October 1998, when the Akashi-Kaikyo Bridge opened to traffic and the area around Tarumi and Akashi Station underwent redevelopment, twenty-one round trips of local train services to Suma during the daytime were extended to Nishi-Akashi, together with extension of their morning rush hour services to Okubo. Since then, no big change occurred in the operation of the Keihanshin Local Line, except for the expansion of its operational area toward the Kosai Line. After December 2005, JR West began introducing electric train series 321, where they replaced train series 201 and 205, including all train sets of twenty-eight cars of type 205 which had already been transferred to the Hanwa Line (Hineno Electric Train Depot). In addition, from the timetable revision of March 2006, the daytime operation of their trains between Kyoto and Nishi-Akashi was changed to between Kyoto and Suma, thus reviving train direction at Suma Station.
Along with the adoption of train series 321, the Keihanshin Local Line shifted existing sixteen sets of eight-car trains (128 cars in total) to Morinomiya Electric Train Depot for use on the Osaka Loop Line and Sakurajima Line, as well as their existing sixteen sets of six-car trains (ninety-six cars in total) to Nara Electric Train Depot for use on the Yamatoji Line. Subsequently, since the timetable revision was made in March 2007, Keihanshin Local Line has been operating only train series 207 and 321.
On the other hand, technical advancement in performance of electric trains has been encouraged by establishing new stations. Since JNR/JR had stations with longer intervals compared with private railways running in parallel, JR had established in March 2007, the new Sakura-Shukugawa Station between Nishinomiya Station (JR-West) (renamed from old Nishinomiya) and Ashiya, and in March 2008, the new Shimamoto Station between Yamazaki Station (Kyoto Prefecture) and Takatsuki, the new Suma-kaihinkoen Stations between Takatori Station and Suma Station, as well as a new station, Katsuragawa Station (Kyoto Prefecture) between Nishioji and Mukomachi in October 2008. The Keihanshin Local Line will further transform in line with time requirements to continue to play a role as a core line of the Urban Network system.