Monju (train) (文殊 (列車))
"Monju" is the name of a limited express train operated by West Japan Railway Company (JR West), which runs in the section between Shin-Osaka Station and Amanohashidate Station by way of the JR West Fukuchiyama Line, Kitakinki Tango Railway Corporation (KTR) Miyafuku Line and KTR Miyazu Line.
The train service of Monju is part of "Kitakinki Big X Network," which is the name of the limited-express service network in the Kitakinki area that connects KTR with JR West, and "Big X" comes from its shape, which resembles the letter "X" on the map.
The train color is green. The color comes from 'Green Ogre' that, according to folklore, lived in the Oe-yama Mountain Range that rises above the KTR Miyafuku Line, on which Monju runs.
Summary of the operation
Number of train services in operation
Shin-Osaka Station - Amanohashidate Station: One round trip
The timetable of Monju within the section of the Fukuchiyama Line is basically the same as that of the 'Kitakinki' train. Currently, Monju has only one inbound/outbound train service, which runs in the afternoon.
Despite having only one round trip, the rolling stock of Monju have either "No. 1" or "No. 2" added to their train numbers, apparently because the inbound train formerly made two runs.
Rolling stock used
JNR/JR Limited Express Series 183
Shin-Osaka Station - Osaka Station - Amagasaki Station (JR West) - Takarazuka Station - Sanda Station (Hyogo Prefecture) - Sasayamaguchi Station - Kaibara Station (Hyogo Prefecture) - Fukuchiyama Station - Oe station (Kyoto Prefecture) - Miyazu Station - Amanohashidate Station
Other facts of interest
Non-reserved cars of the inbound "Monju No. 2" are very crowded with passengers from the area around Osaka and bound for Toyooka, Kinosaki, Miyazu or Maizuru. The train congestion, relieved to an extent by the total ban on smoking within the train, is still experienced in the high season.
The train service of Monju rarely increases its cars even on weekends because it has to connect with the Limited Express 'Kinosaki (train).'
The train number is "30M No. 1" or "30M No. 2."
1988: When the KTR Miyafuku Line opened, the train services below started running in the section between Shin-Osaka Station and Amanohashidate Station by way of the JR West Fukuchiyama Line, KTR Miyafuku Line and KTR Miyazu Line.
The special express train 'Miyazu,' in operation daily.
The Limited Express 'Edel-Tango': It is regarded as the special train to assist the L-tokkyu (limited express) 'Kitakinki.'
Both the above-mentioned trains were diesel cars at that time, because the KTR line wasn't electrified.
1996: When the KTR Miyafuku Line was electrified, 'Miyazu' became an electric car.
Concurrently, its name was changed to 'Monju.'
When its operation was launched, the daily service comprised of one outbound train and two inbound trains.
Additionally, the Limited Express 'Edel-Tango' was replaced with 'Tango Discovery,' operated by KTR.
1999: One of the inbound-train services was ended.
April 25, 2005: JR West Fukuchiyama Line suffered a train-derailment accident. Consequently, the operation of 'Monju' was halted in the section between Shin-Osaka Station and Fukuchiyama Station until June 18 of that year.
March 18, 2007: A total ban on smoking within the train was implemented.
Origin of the train name
The train name originates from 'Monju-do,' which is the main building of Tenkyozan Chion-ji Temple located in Amanohashidate, Miyazu City, Kyoto Prefecture. However, people undeniably have a negative image in its name because there is a fast-breeder reactor named 'Monju' for the nuclear power plant located in Tsuruga City, Fukui Prefecture, being similarly named after the Monju Bosatsu, which has been worshiped as the principal image of Monju-do. In fact, there was a rumor that JR West seriously considered changing the train name because the operation began immediately after the accident of sodium leakage from the Monju reactor.