Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Abandoned Track in Samukawa Town

Abandoned track of the Samukawa Branch Line

Walking on abandoned tracks is popular among rail-fans in Japan. So far, many guide books have been published, and those are selling well. It is probably difficult to understand for non-rail-fans, but to imagine an appearance of a past railway on an abandoned track is quite exciting. This feeling is probably similar with those of people who like history.

The ex-Samukawa Branch Line is no exception. It was opened as a branch line of the Sagami Line in 1923. The route was originally functioned to transport gravels from Sagami riverbed to large cities for constructions. Connecting Samukawa on the Sagami Line to Shinomiya, then shortened to Nishi-Samukawa, the route length was 1.5 km. The track was un-electrified and single. The gauge size was 1,067 mm. After 61 years of its history, the Samukawa Branch Line was abolished in 1984 by Japanese National Railways due to a decrease of passengers.

After the abolition, the site of the railway track was remodeled as a pavement, namely Ichinomiya Greenway, but a part of the section is still preserved as it was at that time. I saw that a cat was sitting on the ex-railway track to relax, as surely it is quite a safe place nowadays.

For your information, Samukawa was developed as a temple town of Samukawa Shrine. It is well known as the ichinomiya (a shrine occupying the highest rank in a prefecture) of Kanagawa Prefecture, some 60 km southwest of Tokyo.

Samukawa Shrine near Samukawa Station on the JR East Sagami Line