Chichibu railway-Route data
Chichibu Railway is a route from Hanyu station to Mitsumineguchi station (Chichibu city), via Kumagaya city (Central city of northern part of Saitama prefecture) and central of Chichibu city.
I took a train from Ohanabatake station (connection station with Seibu Chichibu line) to Mitsumineguchi station. The vehicle that I got on is the 8090 series train that was moved from Tokyu railway which is located in urban erea of Tokyo and Kanagawa. At Chichibu Railway, the number of cars are shortened as its demand.
The local train bound for Mitsumineguchi Station departured Ohanabatake Station, then ran through the Chichibu city for a while, then ran through the rural areas and even the forest area and arrives at Kagemori station. After Departing Kagemori Station, train stopped at the some station located in near mountain and river erea; Urayamaguchi, Bushu Nakagawa, Bushu Hino and Shiroku, then arrived at Mitsumineguchi station; the terminal of this line. Mitsumineguchi station is a station surrounded by mountains, the station building is medium size. It seems that cargo transportation was done in the past, and the railway stations were also spacious. Moreover, buses to Mitsumine Shrine, a famous tourist destination in this area, stopped in front of the station, so the station was prosperous.
Mode of operation
Looking at the timetable, section between Hanyu and Kumagaya where many schools and commercial facilities are located, there are 4 trains per hour on morning and night, there are 2 trains per hour on day time. Therefore trains are useful on commuting and regional movement. As train approaches the Chichibu area, the number of train is decreasing, but the number of train is increasing in holiday because there are many sightseeing spot in Chichibu area. For example, there are Nagatoro, Mitsumine Shrine, Chichibu Night Festival and so on. Therefore, we can say this section is almost all for sightseeing.
There are many types of train; 7000 series (origin : Tokyu 8500 series), 7500 / 7800 series (origin : Tokyu 8090 series) and 5000 series(origin : Tokyo subway Mita line 8500 series) In addition, the company bought Seibu new 101 series as charged express train. In this way, Chichibu railway buy used cars and operates train by major railway companies.
Chichibu railway bought C57 steam car and 12 type car, then operates SL train “Pareo Express” for tourism. I was not able to take the train, but it seems popular.
Train which goes to Tokyo
Some trains run to Tokyo directly on holidays. I took the train which goes to Tokyo, it was popular. The trains are bound for Mitsumineguchi and Nagatoro and the trains are divided at Yokose. Many tourists take the train that is bound for Mitsumineguchi, and many passengers who go to mountain take the train that is bound for Nagatoro.
Cycle train service is operated at partial section. I thought it can promote usage of passengers who go to somewhere with bike.
Freight transport is operated. Chichibu railway carries limestone of Mt.Buko. I was able to see that they try to gain profit by freight transport.
I was impressed by their aggressive measures; shifting to a sightseeing line, freight transport and trains which go to Tokyo. Also, they make timetable which is fit for its demand. As a result, I felt that they have positive effors a regional transportation.