Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Abukuma Express: Local Railway in the Tohoku District

EMU Abukuma Express 8100 series arrives at Fukushima Station

Abukuma Express (Abukyu) is a local railway company in the Tohoku District. The route extends to the northern part of Fukushima and the southern part of Miyagi prefecture. Connecting Fukushima and Tsukinoki, its operating length is 54.9 km. The track is electrified and single. The gauge size is 1,067 mm. The electric system is 20,000 V – 50Hz AC overhead.

Abukyu Line was originally opened under the name of the Marumori Line between Tsukinoki and Marumori station by Japanese National Railways in 1968. The route was then transferred to the newly established Abukuma Express Company in 1986. This company had constructed the remaining route between Marumori and Fukushima. The route was fully opened in 1988. The trains are operated every half an hour to one hour. In the morning, some trains are directly operated into the JR East Tohoku Main Line to Sendai, which is the largest city in the Tohoku District.

Abukyu's main fleet is the EMU 8100 series, which is a 2-car train consisting of one motor car and one trailer. A total of 9 sets, 18 units, were built by Nippon Sharyo in 1988. This model is similar to the JR Kyushu's EMU 713 series, but I prefer the 8100 series, as the front design of the 8100 series is more stylish.

Abukyu shares the station with Fukushima Kotsu at Fukushima Terminal, so you can see both Abukyu and Fukushima Kotsu trains at the same platform. It is a great pleasure for rail fans.

EMU Fukushima Kotsu 7000 series (left) and Abukuma Express 8100 series (right)