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Banetsu West Line

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Banetsu West Line

     Banetsu West Line
719 series EMU at Kōriyama Station, March 2008
Type Regional rail
Locale Fukushima, Niigata prefectures
Termini Kōriyama
Stations 44
Opening 1898
Operator(s) JR East
Line length 175.6 km (109.1 mi)
Track gauge
Electrification 20 kV AC, 50 Hz overhead catenary (Kōriyama – Kitakata)
Operating speed 100 km/h (60 mph)
Route map

The Banetsu West Line (磐越西線 Ban'etsu-sai-sen?) is a railway line in Japan operated by East Japan Railway Company (JR East). It runs between Kōriyama Station in Kōriyama, Fukushima and Niitsu Station in Niigata, Niigata. The name "Banetsu" is taken from the first characters of the names of the ancient provinces of Iwaki (磐城?) and Echigo (越後?), which the Banetsu East and Banetsu West lines connect. "Sai" (西?) means "west" in Japanese.

The line's nickname is the Mori to Mizu to Roman no Tetsudō (森と水とロマンの鉄道 lit. "the water, forest, and nostalgia railway"?).

Station list

  • Local trains generally stop at all stations, but some trains skip stations marked "▽".
  • The column marked "* refers to the unnamed rapid service between Kōriyama and Aizu-Wakamatsu/Kitakata using 719 series EMUs.
  • Trains can pass one another at stations marked "◇", "∨", or "∧"; stations marked "◆" are switchback stations. Trains cannot pass at stations marked "|".
Station Japanese Distance (km) Rapid Transfers   Location
Total * Aizu Liner Agano
Kōriyama 郡山 - 0.0   Tōhoku Shinkansen, Yamagata Shinkansen, Tōhoku Main Line, Ban'etsu East Line, Suigun Line[* 1] Kōriyama Fukushima
Kikuta 喜久田 7.9 7.9    
Akogashima 安子ヶ島 3.9 11.8    
Bandai-Atami 磐梯熱海 3.6 15.4    
Nakayamajuku 中山宿 5.4 20.8    
Jōko 上戸 6.5 27.3     Inawashiro, Yama District
Inawashirokohan (closed) 猪苗代湖畔 2.0 29.3    
Sekito 関都 1.7 31.0    
Kawageta 川桁 2.4 33.4    
Inawashiro 猪苗代 3.3 36.7    
Okinashima 翁島 4.4 41.1    
Bandaimachi 磐梯町 10.1 51.2     Bandai, Yama District
Higashi-Nagahara 東長原 6.0 57.2     Aizuwakamatsu
Hirota 広田 2.8 60.0    
Aizu-Wakamatsu 会津若松 4.6 64.6 Tadami Line
Aizu Line[* 2]
Dōjima 堂島 5.5 70.1    
Oikawa 笈川 3.1 73.2     Yugawa, Kawanuma District
Shiokawa 塩川 1.9 75.1     Kitakata
Ubadō 姥堂 2.4 77.5    
Aizu-Toyokawa 会津豊川 2.0 79.5    
Kitakata 喜多方 1.7 81.2    
Electrified section ends
Yamato 山都 9.9 91.1       Kitakata Fukushima
Ogino 荻野 6.1 97.2      
Onobori 尾登 3.8 101.0       Nishiaizu, Yama District
Nozawa 野沢 5.2 106.2      
Kami-Nojiri 上野尻 5.1 111.3      
Tokusawa 徳沢 6.7 118.0      
Toyomi 豊実 3.3 121.3       Aga, Higashikanbara District Niigata
Hideya 日出谷 7.1 128.4      
Kanose 鹿瀬 5.2 133.6      
Tsugawa 津川 3.4 137.0      
Mikawa 三川 7.4 144.4      
Igashima 五十島 4.2 148.6      
Higashi-Gejō 東下条 3.9 152.5      
Sakihana 咲花 3.1 155.6       Gosen
Maoroshi 馬下 2.8 158.4      
Saruwada 猿和田 3.5 161.9      
Gosen 五泉 3.8 165.7      
Kita-Gosen 北五泉 1.8 167.5      
Shinseki 新関 2.5 170.0       Akiha-ku, Niigata
Higashi-Niitsu 東新津 2.8 172.8      
Niitsu 新津 2.8 175.6     Uetsu Main Line, Shin'etsu Main Line[* 3]

Rolling stock


As of February 2009, the following rolling stock is used on the Banetsu West Line.


  • 455 series EMUs (from 1967 until March 2008)


The Ban'etsu West Line was planned under the Railway Construction Act in 1892, and the private Gan'etsu Railway opened the initial section from Kōriyama to Nakayamajuku on July 26, 1898. In 1906, when the line was extended to Kitakata, the Japanese Government Railways under the nationalized the Gan'etsu Railway and renamed the line the Gan'etsu Line. The remaining sections were constructed in 1914, and the line was renamed the Ban'etsu West Line in 1917.

Japan National Railways (JNR) started to modernize the line in the 1960s, introducing the line's first limited express service (as a part of the Yamagata-bound Yamabata) in 1965 between Ueno Station in Tokyo and Aizu-Wakamatsu via the Tōhoku Main Line. In 1968 the train was renamed Aizu Yamabata, but from 1993 onward it was renamed Viva Aizu and ran only between Koriyama and Aizu-Wakamatsu. The train was finally discontinued as a limited express service in 2003, though it remains in use as a rapid service train.

In 1967, JNR electrified the section between Kōriyama and Kitakata. The non-electrified portion of the line between Kitakata and Niitsu is served by diesel multiple units and steam locomotives.


External links

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