Nippon Railway


Nippon Railway
Nippon Railway
Logo
Locale Japan
Dates of operation 1883–1906
Successor Japanese Government Railways
Track gauge 3 ft 6 in (1,067 mm)
Length 860.8 miles (1906)
Headquarters Tokyo

Nippon Railway (日本鉄道 Nippon Tetsudō?) was the first private railway company in the history of Japan. The company built trunk lines connecting Tokyo with the Tōhoku region to the northeast. Most of its lines came under the control of Japanese Government Railways following nationalization in 1906, and many are now operated by East Japan Railway Company.

Contents

Outline

The company was incorporated in 1881 as the first privately-funded railway company in Japan where the railways had been built only by the imperial government since early 1870s. If, however, the definition of "railway" includes horsecars, Nippon Railway is behind Tokyo Bashatetsudō established in 1880 as the first private railway in Japan.

Major investors to the company were kazoku, led by the highest-class court noble Iwakura Tomomi. The company, incorporated to help expansion of national railway network in line with the national policy, received strong support from the government in both technically and financially.

The first 38 miles (61 km) of the railway, between Ueno Station in Tokyo and Kumagaya Station in Kumagaya, Saitama, opened on July 28, 1883.[1] The mainline to Aomori was completed in 1891. [2]

The company expanded the railway by means of both construction and acquisition of other companies. As of 1906, it operated 860.8 miles (1,385.3 km) of railways including the present-day Tōhoku Main Line, Jōban Line, Takasaki Line and Yamanote Line.

On November 1, 1906, the entire operation of the company was purchased by the government of Japan under the Railway Nationalization Act. Consequently the company was dissolved.

List of lines

Operation of Nippon Railway as of October 31, 1906[3]
Endpoints Length
(miles)
Line names
(designated after nationalization)
Notes
UenoAomori 456.9 Tōhoku Main Line
NipporiMikawashima 0.8 Jōban Line
ŌmiyaMaebashi 52.5 Takasaki Line, Ryōmō Line
OyamaMaebashi 50.9 Ryōmō Line
Oyama – Tomobe 31.4 Mito Line
TabataIwanuma 213.6 Jōban Line
TabataIkebukuro 3.3 Yamanote Line
ShinagawaAkabane 13.0 Yamanote Line, Akabane Line
UtsunomiyaNikkō 25.0 Nikkō Line
Iwakiri – Shiogama 4.3 Shiogama Line
Shiriuchi (present-day Hachinohe) – Minato 5.1 Hachinohe Line
UenoAkihabara 1.2 Tōhoku Main Line Freight
Mikawashima – Sumidagawa 2.0 Jōban Line Freight
Mito – Nakagawa 0.8 Jōban Line Freight
Total 860.8

Rolling stock

Fleet of Nippon Railway[4]
Year Steam
locomotives
Passenger
cars
Freight cars etc.
Wagons Trucks
1890 54 158 763
1900 286 824 1,646 1,957
1905 356 857 2,345 3,386

Notes

  1. ^ Ishino, p. 323, vol. I
  2. ^ Free, Early Japanese Railways 1853–1914: Engineering Triumphs That Transformed Meiji-era Japan, Tuttle Publishing, 2008 (ISBN 4805310065)
  3. ^ Ishino, p. 324, vol. I
  4. ^ Wakuda, p. 64

References

  • Ishino, Tetsu et al. (eds.) (1998) (in Japanese). Teishajō Hensen Daijiten - Kokutetsu JR Hen. Tokyo: JTB Corporation. ISBN 4533029809. 
  • Wakuda, Yasuo (1993) (in Japanese). Shitetsushi Handobukku. Tokyo: Denkisha Kenkyūkai. ISBN 4-88548-065-5. 

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