Route data-Isumi Railway
It is the third sector route which took over the national railroad Kihara line abolished in 1988. The total length of 26.8 km and it connects from Kazusa-Nakano station (Isumi-country in Chiba Prefecture, Kominato-railway links up), to Ohara station (Isumi-city in Chiba Prefecture, JR Sotobou-line links up).
I got on the Ohara station of the terminal station from the Kazusanakano station of the first station. The vehicle I got on was Isumi 350 type, and it is distinctive that its design considers the old diesel car of the National Railways manufactured in 2014. The train arrived at Otaki station, passing through the mountains. There was a garage at Otaki Station and many of the vehicles rested and was a train connection waiting at Otaki station. Then, a train of the old two-car train came from the other side. The train which were purchased are Kiha 52 and 58, old national railway. Both are old-fashioned cars manufactured in the 1960s and they are used for sightseeing express trains and restaurant trains that customers have to charge a fee in a holiday.
As I left Otaki Station, the train ran in the countryside and arrived at Kuniyoshi Station after several stations. Kuniyoshi station was also a large scale station with a misunderstanding facility and there was a sale service of the station lunch. From Kuniyoshi the train ran for a while in the countryside and arrived at the Ohara station along the sea. Ohara station was a connection station with JR Sobou line. Train announcement informed connection guide to Tokyo selectively. It might sentient tourists from urban.
Mode of operation
There are operated about 40 lines both holiday and weekday, inbound and outbound line. About half of them are used for Kazusanakano-Ohara section and another half of them are used for Otaki-Kazusanakano or Otaki-Ohara sections. Also, in holiday, there are operated sightseeing rapid trains which use old-diesel-national railway trains eight lines a day. It connects with Kominato Railway Line at Kazusanakano Station and JR Sobou Line at Ohara Station, and operation schedule are set considering transfer.
It operates the Isuimi 300/350 type which was manufactured in the 2010s as the main vehicle and Isumi railway introduced the latest car to cut down on maintain or operation costs. On the other hand, it bought old-diesel-car which were produced as sightseeing in 1960s from JR West Japan and operates it. Also, there is Isumi-200’ type which was introduced in 1980s and Kiha-30 type bought from JR East Japan one by one. However, the former(Isumi-200 type) usually does not be used and the latter(Kiha-30 type) has not been done a test which needs for operation,so it cannot run on main line.
Operation of Nation Railway diesel car
As mentioned above, the old-diesel car manufactured by Nation Railway is operated as a sightseeing express train or restaurant train. Sightseeing operation of steam locomotives and trolley train can be seen nationwide. On the other hand, sightseeing trains operated by such old-diesel car is not exist without Nishikigawa-railway that operates Nation railway(Kiha-40 type) as retro train in Yamaguchi Prefecture and it can say that operating sightseeing trains with old-diesel car is an unique action.
Moomin train service
It operates a train featuring the design of the popular character "Moomin", and Moomin’s goods are also sold at the stations. The idyllic atmosphere of the route matched Moomin's view of the world and I thought that it was an excellent attempt.
Collaboration with local
They advertise local landmarks in the car, local people sell lunch boxes and folk crafts at the station, and services are tightly connected with the local. I thought that it was an attempt to deepen the relationship with local people and lead to regional revitalization and increase of users.
On a route with a peaceful atmosphere, there are many old-diesel cars symbolizing "retro", Moomin which can be said as a symbol of slow life, and the intermingling with local people. I thought that Isumi railway carries out a lot of such policies and those utilize the peaceful atmosphere very well.