Sunday, December 9, 2012

From Pilgrim to Commuter Railway, the Daiyuzan Line


5501F (steel) of the EMU Izu-Hakone 5000 series arrives at Fujifilm-mae Station

Odawara is a major city located some 80km southwest of Tokyo, and functions as a key junction of transportation in the western part of Kanagawa Prefecture. For example, JR Central has a station of the Tokaido Shinkansen; meanwhile JR East has a Tokaido Main Line station. Odakyu and Hakone Tozan railways also have a large shared terminal adjacent to the JR stations.

Never forget that Odawara has one more important railway, which is the Daiyuzan Line of Izu-Hakone Railway Company. Connecting Odawara and Daiyuzan, there are 12 stations over a total operating length of 9.6km. The route is single track, and 3-car trains are operated every 12 minutes.

The Daiyuzan Line has a unique history in early times. It was constructed as a pilgrim railway to the famous Saijo-ji temple in 1925, but currently, it is a commuter railway for the residents in Odawara and Minami-Ashigara Cities.

The main fleet of the line is EMU 5000 series, which was launched in 1984. A total of 7 sets, 21 units have been manufactured over 12 years. Only the 1st set is steel (see the top photo), while the other 6 sets are stainless-steel (see the following photo).

I took the Daiyuzan Line on a weekend of this October. I saw some sightseers, but most of the passengers are local people such as families, students and the aged. The Daiyuzan Line is no longer a pilgrim railway, but a local transport for the people in the Odawara area.

5507F (stainless-steel) of the EMU Izu-Hakone 5000 series arrives at Fujifilm-mae Station
 
More information about trains on the Daiyuzan Line (in Japanese): http://www.izuhakone.co.jp/railway/sharyo/daiyuuzan.html