Kyoto Electric Railway (京都鉄道)

Kyoto Electric Railway is a private rail company established in 1893. The former rail line from current Sanin Main Line was partly built and started its operation. The company president is Gentaro TANAKA.


During the Meiji period it was an important issue to have railroad facilities to Maizuru City, the second-largest city (followed by Kyoto City in Kyoto Prefecture), which had a valuable commercial port on the Sea of Japan. Gentaro TANAKA and Kotetsu HAMAOKA established a company to lay a railroad from Kyoto to Maizuru City, and in 1895 the rail license was granted to lay a railroad from Kyoto Station to Maizuru via Ayabe City.

The granting of a rail license to Maizuru was the result of a great effort, since there were other companies competing against Kyoto Electric Railway to lay a railroad to Maizuru, such as Hankaku Railway/Hankaku Tetsudo (Osaka-Fukuchiyama-Maizuru) and Setsutan Railway/Setsutan Tetsudo (Osaka-Sonobe-Maizuru).

The railroad was put through a sheer cliff, and once the complicated construction work to build eight tunnels and more than 50 bridges at Hozukyo Valley was finished, the sector between Kyoto and Sonobe Station opened in 1900; however, the construction work north of Sonobe did not proceed due to a cash-flow problem, and when the Maizuru army base (or Maizuru naval base) opened, the government decided it was necessary to lay railroad from Kyoto to Maizuru in order to carry out national policy, took away the rail license and started the work to finish laying the railroad by itself. The rail work was completed between Sonobe and Ayabe in 1910.

Kyoto Electric Railway remained in operation between Kyoto and Sonobe, but the year after the announcement of the Japanese Railway Nationalization Act of 1906 the Kyoto Electric Railway was bought up by the government together with Hankaku Railway/Hankaku Tetsudo in 1907.

Nijo Station is one of the oldest wooden-constructed post houses in Japan (built in 1904); it was used as an office, but eventually it was moved to the Umekoji Steam Locomotive Museum as there was to be built an elevated railroad at the same station in 1996, which is currently used as a museum for materials.


1893: It was established. The aim was to lay tracks between Kyoto City and Maizuru City.

February 15, 1897: The line between Nijo Station and Saga-Arashiyama Station opened. Nijo Station and Saga Station were established.

April 27, 1897: The extension work between Omiya Station and Nijo Station commenced. Omiya Station and Tanbaguchi Station were established.

November 16, 1897: The extension work between Kyoto Station and Omiya Station commenced. The Ministry of Railways entered into Kyoto Station.

January 1, 1898: Hanazono Station was established.

August 1, 1899: Omiya Station closed.

August 15, 1899: The extension work was completed between Nijo Station and Sonobe Station and the entire line was opened for service. Kameoka Station, Yagi Station and Sonobe Station were established.

January 15, 1905: Omiya Station was re-established.

August 1, 1907: Kyoto Electric Railway was nationalized.

October 12, 1909: The name of the rail track was established as the 'Kyoto Line.'

The list of rail track and stations

These were the names of the rail tracks and stations as of July 31, 1907, just before the line was nationalized.

Kyoto - Sonobe (22.2M35.73km)
Kyoto Station - Omiya Station - Tanbaguchi Station - Nijo Station - Hanazono Station (Kyoto Prefecture) - Saga-Arashiyama Station - Kameoka Station - Yagi Station - Sonobe Station

Steam trains

Style 3 (nos. 1, 2) - Made by Nasmyth, Wilson & Co., Ltd. in England in 1894, the wheel arrangement 0-6-0 (C) tank locomotive - it is presumed that No. 2 was given to the Taiwan Governor-General Railway in 1895 (before operations began). After Kyoto Electric Railway was nationalized No. 1 became JNR steam locomotive type 1100 (1111).

Style 1 (No. 2 (second generation), 6, 7) - Made by Nasmyth, Wilson & Co., Ltd. in 1898, 1903 in England, the wheel arrangement 2-4-2 (1B1) tank locomotive→Railway Bureau JNR steam locomotive type 400 (643-645)
Style 2 (No. 3) - Made by Dubs & Co. in 1894 in England, the wheel arrangement 2-4-2 (1B1) tank locomotive→Railway Bureau JNR steam locomotive Type 400 (509), ※it was given from the government's own railway?)
Style 4 (nos. 4, 5) - Made by Pittsburgh Locomotive and Car Works in 1897 in the United States, the wheel arrangement 4-4-0 (2B) tender engine (tender locomotive)→it was given to Sanyo Railway Company in 1905. After Kyoto Electric Railway was nationalized it became JNR steam locomotive type 5200 (5200, 5201).

[Original Japanese]