Saturday, 26 September 2015

Sanyo Main Line: Backbone of Japanese Railways

DMU Chizu Express Railway HOT7000 series travels on the JR West Sanyo Main Line
Along with the Tokaido Main Line, the Sanyo Main Line is a backbone of the Japanese Railways. Connecting Kobe and Moji, its line length is 534 km. Most of the route is operated by JR West. The track is electrified double-double or double and its gauge size is 1,067 mm. The electric system is 1,500V DC overhead.

The Sanyo Main Line was partially opened by Sanyo Railway in 1888. The whole route was fully opened in 1942, when the Kanmon Submarine Tunnel was completed between Honshu and Kyushu Island. Although the number of long distance passengers has decreased due to the opening of Sanyo Shinkansen in 1975, the Sanyo Main Line still keeps its position of the main arterial railway in the western part of Japan.

If you go to the eastern part of the Sanyo Main Line such as the section between Kobe and Nishi-Akashi stations, various trains are continuously seen on the track. They are express, rapid, local and freight trains, EMUs, DMUs and ELs. For instance, the HOT 7000 series, Super-Hakuto, is an express DMU directly operated from Chizu Express Railway. The blue colored streamlined body is very vivid. The EMU 223-2000 series is a typical rapid commuter train in this section. It is faster than the rivals such as the express trains of Hankyu, Hanshin and Sanyo Railway. You can also see the local train, EMU 207 series, on the other double track.

The Sanyo Main Line is a moving railway museum for rail-fans.

EMU JR West 207 (left) and 223-2000 series (right)