Monday, 18 December 2017

Preserved Funicular Route in Kyoto City

Preserved truck and boat of Keage Incline

Kyoto had been Japan's capital city since 794. When the Emperor moved from Kyoto to Tokyo in 1868, Japan's capital was also moved. Kyoto, then, started declining. How have local people tried to overcome that? They promoted industries. They constructed a canal between Lake Biwa and Kyoto City for material transportation, water supply and hydroelectric power.

One of the problems of this canal was the large height difference on the section between the east entrance of the downtown area and the center of the city. The height difference was suitable for hydroelectric power; however, it was an interruption for water-carriage. People in Kyoto again solved this difficult problem. They constructed a funicular line, called the "Keage Incline" on this section. The system was as follows:

A heavily laden boat traveled on the canal from Lake Biwa to Keage Station, the east entrance of the downtown area. The boat was, then, loaded on a truck of Keage Incline. The truck was, then, transported to Nanazenji Station, the center of the city, as a funicular line. The power of the funicular was supplied from the hydroelectric power station beside the canal. What an efficient system it was!

For your information, the total operating length of the Keage Incline was 640 meters. The height difference between the two stations was 36 meters. It took 10 to 15 minutes to get from Keage to Nanzenji Station. Unfortunately, the Keage Incline was abolished in 1948, but this unique funicular line was designated as a National Historic Site in 1996.

Preserved track of Keage Incline

More photos of Keage Incline: