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  Kurobe Gorge Railway website:http://www.kurotetu.co.jp/
About Kurobe Gorge Railway
   
(1)Topography
 

The Hida Mountains, or Norther Alps, in Japan is a Y-shape mountain range, with main ridgeline starts from "Mt. Norikura" in the south and is divided into "Tate Landscapes" and "Gotate Landscapes" at "Mt. Washibadake", where the "Kurobe River" runs across. After long-time erosion, the Kurobe Gorge of 86km long with an elevation gain of 3,000m was formed. As it is a very deep gorge, it is also called the No. 1 gorge in Japan.

 

(2) Construction
 

To fulfill the domestic electricity demand, the Japanese government began surveying the Kurobe River in 1909 for the Kurobe HEP Plant Project. In 1923, the Japanese government began building a 762mm narrow-gauged railway in Unazuki to transport equipment and personnel to the site. Later on in 1926, the 11.8km long "Kurobe Gorge Railway" linking Nekomata. To develop HEP plant at the upper course, the railway at upstream Kurobe River was extended. Finally in 1937, the railway with 20.1km in total toward Keyakidaira (欅平) was completed.

 

(3)Route Guide and Information
 

The Kurobe Gorge Railway runs between the Unazuki Station at 224m in elevation and Keyakidaira Station at 599m in elevation via eight stations: Yanagibashi, Moriishi, Kuronagi, Sasadaira, Dashidaira, Nekomata, Kanetsuri, and Koyadaira stations. Currently, passengers can only board and alight the train at Unazuki, Kuronagi, Kanetsuri, and Keyakidaira stations. The entire line from Unazuki to Keyakidaira is 20.1km in total, the maximum slope grade is 50‰, the travel time is about 80 minutes, the average speed is 15kmph and maximum 25kmph. In recent years, the annual ridership is about 800 thousand person-times.

 

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Route of the Kurobe Gorge Railway
 
 
(4) Development
  The Kurobe Gorge Railway was built to transport construction materials and personnel. As the scenery along the railway is gorgeous, it was opened to ordinary passengers for travel purpose as a lift. On the back of the ticket, therefore, warnings read "Lift Ticket" and "Life Safety Not Guaranteed". This shows the route is full of danger. However, as the scenery and view of the Kurobe Gorge are extremely attractive and splendid, the fame of the Kurobe Gorge Railway spread far and wide. Finally in 1971, the parent company Kansai Electric Power Co., Inc. established a subsidiary "Kurobe Gorge Railway Co., Ltd". to operate the railway.
The subsidiary gradually invested in relevant passenger transportation equipment to enhance train safety and increase passenger volume. Today, Kurobe Gorge Railway is a scenic railway tour beloved by Japanese tourists. Passengers can take the Toyama Regional Railway (track gauge 1,067mm, same gauge as the TRA of Taiwan) to the Unazuki Station to change to the 762mm narrow-gauged Kurobe Gorge Railway to enjoy the feeling of being surrounded by beautiful scenery. It is 20.1km from Unazuki to Keyakidaira, and the travel time is about one hour and twenty minutes.
(5)Special Condition
  In the snow season, Kurobe Gorge Railway is closed during December to April as snow is too think on the mountain, and service will begin in about mid-April. Take 2012 for example, train service was available from April 18 to November 30. In 2013, the service started on April 20 and closed on November 30. In addition, during April 20-May 20, 2014, service was available only between Unazuki and Nekomata. The entire line was opened after May 20 in 2014. Therefore, special environmental factors will affect railway operations.
(6) Fares and Train Types
  From Unazuki (departure station) to Keyakidaira (destination), fares for single journey, ordinary class are ¥1,660 (adult) and ¥830 (discount). The standard train has open compartment looking like the Bong Bong Train on Taipingshan in Taiwan. Passengers can make direct contact with nature. As it is in the mountain area and weather is clod, passengers feel cold even in midsummer during July and August. Therefore, passengers can choose the other two classes. Fares vary based on the train class: Second Class: additional charge—¥360 and First Class (Relax): additional charge—¥520. Take the First Class (3100) for example; the wagon is 7400mm (L) x 1675mm (W) x 2423mm (H). There are windows for protection against weather. Of course, passengers can open them to make direct contact with nature. Although it is also a 762mm narrow-gauged railway like that of the Alishan Forest Railway, the wagon size is more compact that that of the Alishan Forest Railway.
 
  New Yamabiko Bridge New Yanagigawara HEP Station  
 
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 更新日期:2018/1/3
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