Asian Transit > Japan
This Line is History: Niigata had a quaint little Interurban operation that closed in April of 1999. The line opened in the early 30's. Luckily I did some railfanning of it in 1998! I just wish I knew at the time that it was closing soon. I did not ride the cars, just did some chasing.
The Niigata Line was originally much longer than its final length. Before its demise, the line ended about a mile south of city center, which requires a bus transfer. Originally the line did go to city center, but the big cars were loud and caused traffic problems, so the line was cut back.
The line extended much further out into the countryside, but better roads caused the travel time on the interurban to be longer than driving a car. The line follows a dike along side a river for most of its length. All the towns along right-of-way are very small sleepy towns. The only real riders in the interurban were school kids.
Seeing this line reminds of images along mid-west US Interurbans during the 1920's. Much of the equipment running on the line dates to the opening of the line in the 1930's.
Niigata Kotsu has pledged to preserve a few pieces of rolling stock at the Tsuki-gata end of the line.
|Here is the end of the line at Tsuki-gata. You'll notice the long since unused platform to the right. The line is single tracked its entire length with passing sidings (4/98)||This station sign shows that this is Tsuki-gata, I was surprise to see romanji (roman lettering) at this remote location. (4/98)|
|Here is a car in operation. The stone wall to the right is a dike holding back a river. The line follows the river nearly its entire length. It goes through quaint little villages along it way with neat station buildings. (4/98)||Niigata lies on the Sea of Japan about 2.5 hours from Tokyo via Shinkansen. Here is a car at the Niigata City end of the line at Higashi-Sekiya. The downfall of this line is it ends about 1 mile short of city center. (4/98)|
|A wedge snow plow as seen at Higashi-Sekiya||Box motor/work car, nicely painted at Higashi-Sekiya|
|Train at the Higashi-Sekiya platform.|