Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Modern Funicular on Mt. Sarakura

Funicular "Haruka" travels on the Sarakurayama Cable Line

Mt. Sarakura is a reputable sightseeing spot in Kita-Kyushu City, Fukuoka Prefecture, about 1,100 km west of Tokyo. The summit is 622 meters above sea level. This mountain is specifically famous for being a night viewing spot among the local people of Kyushu Island. I recently visited this wonderful place taking the funicular route, Sarakurayama Cable Line. Even though it was daytime, not evening, I could fully enjoy a magnificent sight.

Sarakurayama Cable Line was opened by Hobashira Cable Company (present Sarakurayama Tozan Railway) in 1957. Connecting Sanroku (at the foot of the mountain) to Sanjo Station (at the top of the mountain), its route length is 1.1 km. The track gauge size is 1,067 mm. The height difference between the two stations is 440 m and the maximum inclination of the route is 27.8 degrees. The operation interval is 20 to 30 minutes. It takes 5 minutes to get from Sanroku to Sanjo Station.

The vehicles are second generation ones called Haruka and Kanata. Haruka is yellow, while Kanata is blue. Both of them were built by CWA in Switzerland in 2001. Each car can accommodate 112 passengers. With the introduction of the current model, the overhead wire on the track was removed to provide passengers with the better visibility. Instead, the electric power is provided by the accumulator on board.

I like these rounded shaped modern funiculars. The only disadvantage is that the vehicles don't have air-conditioning, which is probably because the electric power supply from the accumulator is insufficient.

To be continued...

Funicular "Kanata" stands at Sanroku Station

Official information about Sarakurayama Funicular (in Japanese):