About Yokkaichi Asnarou Railway
Yokkaichi Asunaro railway is a railway located in Yokkaichi city, Mie Prefecture.
It has Utsube line and Hachioji line, characterized by the fact that both routes are narrow gauge line whose rail width is narrower (762mm) than common railroad (JR line is 1067 mm against this line).
These two routes were originally operated by Kintetsu, but they were decided to change the bus because of the deficit. However, many local residents asked for the continuation of the railway.
As a result, Yokkaichi Asunaro railroad was established as a subsidiary of Kintetsu. While this railway carries out train operations, this track is to be continued by the third sector which Yokkaichi city carries out.
Kintetsu Yokkaichi Station and Asunaro Yokkaichi station
I came to Kintetsu Yokkaichi station by transfering JR · Kintetsu Line from Nagoya Station.
To Kintetsu Yokkaichi station, if you go from the Kintetsu Nagoya station you will arrive in approximately 30 minutes by using limited express train or approximately 35 minutes by express use.
Asunaro Yokkaichi Station is located a little far from Kintetsu Yokkaichi station. When Kintetsu operated train, Asunaro Yokkaichi station was also called Kintetsu Yokkaichi station, then it was renamed when train operator changed.
Asnarou Yokkaichi station
Asunaro Yokkaichi station is like this photo. There were two platforms, and the train had already stopped.
Because IC card is not available, I purchase the ticket with ticket vending machine and get on by the station staff's ticket gate. There were sales of railway goods etc. at the station counter.
The train looks like the photo.
This vehicle is a new 260 type vehicle, which was remodeled after being transferred to the Asunaro railroad, has been adapted for barrier-free, improved comfort.
I felt it is rare that Asunaro railway which is introducing new vehicles.
I felt that a wide range of generations from the students to the elderly were equally riding by the ride as much as 80% of the seats were used. Utsube line and Hachioji line’s frequency of operation is two hours per hour each.
Car design (Inside)
The interior of the car is the photos below.
I felt this car is new. The equipment room is installed in the car because of the train of a narrow gauge (because the train is small, the equipment can not be fitted only under the floor).
In addition, there is a monitor for the fare box and fare table for one-man operation.
|Inside of car is beautiful||Fare table monitor and fare box|
To Utsube station
Train goes on the samll single track line in residential area.
I felt speed is about 40 km/h. Because it is a narrow gauge, it shook more than a normal train.
Train branched off Hachioji line at Hinaga station. Then, train arrived at the terminal; Utsube station after passed a total of 6 stations. The journey time was 17 minutes.
At the Utsube station
The Utsube station is a station which has station staffs and Utsube station is located with a garage.
The station building looks like photos. I left the station and found a bus stop. It has a bus to Kintetsu Yokkaichi Station / JR Yokkaichi station. The frequency is about 1 hour per hour, but the operation intervals are uneven.
As we went further the road in front of the station, I saw National road 1. It is a big road, with overpass. Therefore, the road infrastructure in this area is good.
|Utsube station exterior||National road No. 1|
Yokkaichi Asunaro railway is a small railroad that is responsible for local transportation of local cities.
As I said, there is a background that the railway survived due to efforts of local residents, so residents’ consciousness to rescue railway is relatively higher. Also, they could go the first step towards to be "easy-to-use railroads". For example, they have new cars.
However, as the Utsube station is near from National road No. 1, the area’s road infrastructure is relatively substantial. Therefore, the rival of Yokkaichi Asuro Railroad is own car. Also, by using own car, resident can also access other stations of the Kintetsu Nagoya line and the Kansai main line directly.
There are also problem whose fare is inferior. When Kintetsu operated the line, the fare was not expensive because the Kintetsu line and fare could be connected. However, after transferring to Yokkaichi Asunaro railway, the fare was raised and the connection of the fare with the Kintetsu line became impossible.
As you can see, the Yokkaichi Asunaro railway is far from bright, but I thought there was chance for sightseeing. Because Yokkaichi Asuro Railroad is the rare "Narrow Gauge Railroad" in Japan.
Yokkaichi City is a place with good access from Nagoya. Therefore, if company appeal that it is a narrow gauge, I think passengers may increase because of remote railway fans’ usage.
Nowadays, I felt that advertisements and appeal of being a narrow gauge is not done enough. Although I am a railroad fan, I felt a distinctive pretty charm by taking a narrow gauge railroad. I think that a narrow gauge can be a tourism resource.
In addition, if the company could, I thought that we could take in the use of railroad fans if the company also introduce sightseeing trains and events such as driving experiences.