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The Chūō Main Line (中央本線, Chūō-honsen), commonly called the Chūō Line, is one of the major trunk railway lines in Japan. It connects Tokyo and Nagoya, although it is the slowest direct railway connection between the two cities; the coastal Tōkaidō Main Line is slightly faster, and the Tōkaidō Shinkansen which is currently the fastest rail link between the cities.

Chūō Main Line
JB JC JR Central Chuo Line.svg
JRE 211 N611.JPG
211 Series Train approaching Otsuki Station on the Chuo Main Line.
Overview
Native name中央本線
TypeHeavy rail, Passenger/Freight Rail
Intercity rail, Regional rail, Commuter rail
LocaleTokyo, Kanagawa, Yamanashi, Nagano, Gifu, Aichi prefectures
TerminiTokyo
Nagoya
Stations112
Operation
Opened1889
Operator(s)JR East, JR Central
Technical
Line length424.6 km (263.8 mi)
Track gauge1,067 mm (3 ft 6 in)
Electrification1,500 V DC Overhead lines
Operating speed130 km/h (80 mph)
Route map
Map railroad japan chuo rough.png

The eastern portion, the Chūō East Line (中央東線, Chūō-tōsen), is operated by the East Japan Railway Company (JR East), while the western portion, the Chūō West Line (中央西線, Chūō-saisen), is operated by the Central Japan Railway Company (JR Central). The dividing point between the two companies is Shiojiri, where express trains from both operators continue to the Shinonoi Line towards the cities of Matsumoto and Nagano. Compared to the huge urban areas at either end of the Chūō Line, its central portion is very lightly traveled; the Shiojiri-Nakatsugawa corridor is only served by twice-hourly local and hourly limited express trains.

The Chūō Main Line passes through the mountainous center of Honshu. Its highest point (near Fujimi) is about 900 meters above sea level and much of the line has a gradient of 25 per mil (2.5% or 1 in 40). Along the Chūō East Line section, peaks of the Akaishi and Kiso as well as Mount Yatsugatake can be seen from trains. The Chūō West Line parallels the old Nakasendō highway (famous for the preserved post towns of Tsumago-juku and Magome-juku) and the steep Kiso Valley.

Contents

RoutesEdit

  • Entire Route (Tokyo - Nagoya including branch): 424.6 km
  • East Line (Tokyo - Shiojiri): 222.1 km
    • Tokyo - Kanda: 1.3 km (officially part of the Tōhoku Main Line)
    • Kanda - Yoyogi: 8.3 km
    • Yoyogi - Shinjuku: 0.7 km (officially part of the Yamanote Line)
    • Shinjuku - Shiojiri: 211.8 km
  • East Line - Tatsuno branch line (Okaya - Tatsuno - Shiojiri): 27.7 km
  • West Line (Shiojiri - Nagoya): 174.8 km

Stations and servicesEdit

This section lists all stations on the Chūō Main Line and generally explains regional services on the line. In addition, there are limited express services connecting major cities along the line, namely Azusa, Super Azusa, Kaiji, Hamakaiji, Narita Express and Shinano. For details of the limited express trains, see the relevant articles.

Tokyo - MitakaEdit

 
Chūō Line E233 series train in Tokyo, June 2007
 
0 kilometer post at Tokyo Station

The section between Tokyo and Mitaka is grade-separated, with no level crossings. Between Ochanomizu and Mitaka, the Chūō Main Line has four tracks; two of them are local tracks (緩行線, kankō-sen) with platforms at every station; the other two are rapid tracks (快速線, kaisoku-sen)[citation needed] with some stations without platforms. The local tracks are used by the main line local trains (operated only in early morning and late night) and the Chūō-Sōbu Line local trains, while the rapid tracks carry rapid service and limited express trains. The Tokyo-Mitaka portion is a vital cross-city rail link.

The commuter services on the rapid tracks are collectively called the Chūō Line (Rapid) in comparison with the Chūō Line (Local) (中央線各駅停車, Chūō-sen-kakuekiteisha) or the Chūō-Sōbu Line on the local tracks. The former is usually referred to simply as the Chūō Line and the latter the Sōbu Line. Separate groups of trainsets are used for these two groups of services: cars with an orange belt for the rapid service trains and cars with a yellow belt for the local service trains, with the exception of early morning and late night local service trains which use cars with an orange belt. Signs at stations also use these colors to indicate the services.

This section is located entirely within Tokyo.


Mitaka - TakaoEdit

The four-track section ends at Mitaka. Most of the section between Mitaka and Tachikawa had been elevated between 2008-2011 to eliminate level crossings. Plans have been proposed to add another two tracks as far as Tachikawa, but were not included in the track elevation.

Takao - ShiojiriEdit

Most of the rapid service trains from Tokyo terminate at Takao where the line exits the large urban area of Tokyo. The section between Takao and Ōtsuki still carries some commuter trains as well as long distance local trains and Limited Express trains. The Kaiji limited express terminates at Kōfu, the capital of Yamanashi Prefecture, while the Azusa continue beyond Shiojiri to Matsumoto via the Shinonoi Line.

All stations from Tachikawa to Shiojiri are served by the Chūō Main Line Local.

Legends:

  • ● : All trains stop
  • ○ : Some trains stop
  • ▲: Stop, eastbound services only
  • ▼: Stop, westbound services only
Station No. Name Japanese Distance (km) Chūō Main Line Local Local Rapid Comm.
Rapid
Chūō Special
Rapid
Comm.
Special
Rapid
Transfers Location
Between stations Total
Through service to Chūō Line (Rapid) for: Tachikawa Tachikawa, Shinjuku and Tokyo
JC24 Takao 高尾 3.3 53.1 JC Chūō Line (Rapid)
Keiō Takao Line
Hachiōji Tokyo
JC25 Sagamiko 相模湖 9.5 62.6 Sagamihara Kanagawa
JC26 Fujino 藤野 3.7 66.3
JC27 Uenohara 上野原 3.5 69.8 Uenohara Yamanashi
JC28 Shiotsu 四方津 4.2 74.0
JC29 Yanagawa 梁川 3.6 77.6 Ōtsuki
JC30 Torisawa 鳥沢 3.6 81.2
JC31 Saruhashi 猿橋 4.1 85.3
JC32 Ōtsuki 大月 2.5 87.8 Fujikyuko Line (some through trains to/from Kawaguchiko)
Through service to: Chūō Main Line for Kōfu (see below) / Some to Fujikyuko Line for Kawaguchiko /
Station Japanese Distance Transfers Location
Ōtsuki 大月 87.8 Fujikyuko Line Ōtsuki Yamanashi
Hatsukari 初狩 93.9  
Sasago 笹子 100.4  
Kai-Yamato 甲斐大和 106.5   Kōshū
Katsunuma-budōkyō 勝沼ぶどう郷 112.5  
Enzan 塩山 116.9  
Higashi-Yamanashi 東山梨 120.1   Yamanashi
Yamanashishi 山梨市 122.2  
Kasugaichō 春日居町 125.0   Fuefuki
Isawa-onsen 石和温泉 127.8  
Sakaori 酒折 131.2   Kōfu
Kōfu 甲府 134.1 Minobu Line
Ryūō 竜王 138.6   Kai
Shiozaki 塩崎 142.7  
Nirasaki 韮崎 147.0   Nirasaki
Shimpu 新府 151.2  
Anayama 穴山 154.7  
Hinoharu 日野春 160.1   Hokuto
Nagasaka 長坂 166.3  
Kobuchizawa 小淵沢 173.7 Koumi Line
Shinano-Sakai 信濃境 178.2   Fujimi Nagano
Fujimi 富士見 182.9  
Suzurannosato すずらんの里 186.1  
Aoyagi 青柳 188.0   Chino
Chino 茅野 195.2  
Fumonji Junction 普門寺信號場 (198.9)   Suwa
Kami-Suwa 上諏訪 201.9  
Shimo-Suwa 下諏訪 206.3   Shimosuwa
Okaya 岡谷 210.4 Chūō Line (For Tatsuno) Okaya
Midoriko みどり湖 218.2   Shiojiri
Shiojiri 塩尻 222.1

Okaya – ShiojiriEdit

The Okaya-Shiojiri branch is an old route of the Chūō Main Line. It carries a small number of shuttle trains and trains from/to the Iida Line, which branches off at Tatsuno.

Station Japanese Distance Transfers Location
Okaya 岡谷 210.4 Chūō Line (for Kami-Suwa, Midoriko) Okaya Nagano
Kawagishi 川岸 213.9  
Tatsuno 辰野 219.9 Iida Line Tatsuno
Shinano-Kawashima 信濃川島 224.2  
Ono 小野 228.2  
Shiojiri 塩尻 238.1 Chūō Line (for Midoriko)

Shinonoi Line

  Chūō Line (for Kiso-Fukushima)

Shiojiri

Prior to the opening of the new route between Okaya and Shiojiri, there was a junction (Higashi-Shiojiri Junction (東塩尻信号場)) between Ono and Shiojiri stations. It had a reversing layout. The signal station was closed on October 12, 1983.

Shiojiri - NakatsugawaEdit

List of stationsEdit

Shiojiri is the dividing point of the East Line and the West Line; no train continues from one to the other. The Shinano limited express is the main service for the rural Shiojiri-Nakatsugawa section.

No. Station Japanese Distance Transfers Location
CF39 Shiojiri 塩尻 222.1 (see above) Shiojiri Nagano
CF38 Seba 洗馬 226.3  
CF37 Hideshio 日出塩 231.0  
CF36 Niekawa 贄川 236.2  
CF35 Kiso-Hirasawa 木曽平沢 241.4  
CF34 Narai 奈良井 243.2  
CF33 Yabuhara 藪原 249.8   Kiso (village)
CF32 Miyanokoshi 宮ノ越 255.5   Kiso (town)
CF31 Harano 原野 258.3  
CF30 Kiso-Fukushima 木曽福島 263.8  
CF29 Agematsu 上松 271.1   Agematsu
CF28 Kuramoto 倉本 277.7  
CF27 Suhara 須原 282.5   Ōkuwa
CF26 Ōkuwa 大桑 285.8  
CF25 Nojiri 野尻 288.8  
CF24 Jūnikane 十二兼 292.5   Nagiso
CF23 Nagiso 南木曽 298.0  
CF22 Tadachi 田立 304.3  
CF21 Sakashita 坂下 307.1   Nakatsugawa Gifu
CF20 Ochiaigawa 落合川 313.2  
CF19 Nakatsugawa 中津川 317.0   Chūō Line (for Tajimi, Nagoya)

Nakatsugawa - NagoyaEdit

Local and rapid service trains run on the line from Nakatsugawa to Nagoya. This section carries urban traffic for the Greater Nagoya Area.

Local trains stop at all stations (except Sannō Junction).

Legends:

  •  : All trains stop
  • | ↓ ↑ : All trains pass (Arrows indicate the passing direction)
  • ▼ : Only southbound trains stop
  • ▲ : Only northbound trains stop
No. Station Japanese Distance
(km)
Stops Transfers Location
Rapid Home Liner
Tajimi Mizunami Nakatsugawa City / Town Prefecture
CF19 Nakatsugawa 中津川 317.0   Chūō Line (for Kiso-Fukushima and Shiojiri) Nakatsugawa Gifu
CF18 Mino-Sakamoto 美乃坂本 323.4  
CF17 Ena 恵那 328.6 Akechi Railroad Akechi Line Ena
CF16 Takenami 武並 334.0  
CF15 Kamado 釜戸 339.4   Mizunami
CF14 Mizunami 瑞浪 346.8  
CF13 Tokishi 土岐市 353.7   Toki
CF12 Tajimi 多治見 360.7   Taita Line Tajimi
CF11 Kokokei 古虎渓 365.3 | |  
CF10 Jōkōji 定光寺 368.8 | |   Kasugai Aichi
CF09 Kōzōji 高蔵寺 372.9 Aichi Loop Line
CF08 Jinryō 神領 376.1 | |  
CF07 Kasugai 春日井 378.8 |  
CF06 Kachigawa 勝川 381.9 | Tōkai Transport Service Jōhoku Line
CF05 Shin-Moriyama 新守山 384.6 | |   Nagoya
CF04 Ōzone 大曽根 387.1   ST  Meitetsu Seto Line

  Meijō Line

Nagoya Guideway Bus Yutorito Line

CF03 Chikusa 千種 389.8   Higashiyama Line
CF02 Tsurumai 鶴舞 391.3   Tsurumai Line
CF01 Kanayama 金山 393.6   Tōkaidō Main Line

  NH  Meitetsu Nagoya Main Line

  Meijō Line

  Meikō Line

Sannō Junction 山王信号場 395.1 | | JR Freight Nagoyaminato Branch
CF00 Nagoya 名古屋 396.9   Tōkaidō Shinkansen

  Tōkaidō Main Line

  Kansai Main Line

  Higashiyama Line

  Sakura-dōri Line

Aonami Line

  NH  Meitetsu Nagoya Main Line (at Meitetsu Nagoya)

 E  Kintetsu Nagoya Line (at Kintetsu Nagoya)

Signals and junctionsEdit

 
Fumonji Junction
  • Fumonji Junction (普門寺信号場, Fumonji Shingōjō) is a junction between Chino and Kami-Suwa stations in Suwa, Nagano. It entered into use on 2 September 1970.
  • Sannō Junction (山王信号場, Sannō Shingōjō) is a junction that diverts freight traffic from the Chūō Main Line to the Tōkaidō Line freight branch between Kanayama and Nagoya stations in Nagoya. It entered into use on 10 October 1962.

Rolling stockEdit

Chūō East Line (JR East)Edit

 
E233 series
 
115 series
 
E351 series on a Super Azusa service

New E233 series trains entered service on Tokyo-area commuter services from 26 December 2006. These trains are a development of the E231 series used on other commuter lines in the Tokyo area, and replaced the aging 201 series rolling stock introduced on the line in 1981.

From 2016, new E353 series EMUs were introduced on Azusa and Super Azusa limited express services, replacing the E351 and E257 series trains.[1]

Chūō West Line (JR Central)Edit

 
383 series trainset on a Shinano service

Freight trainEdit

HistoryEdit

The Kobu Railway (甲武鉄道) opened the initial section of the Chūō Line from Shinjuku Station to Tachikawa Station in 1889.[2] The company then extended the line both westward and eastward (towards Tokyo) until it was nationalised in 1906. The Japanese Government Railways (JGR) then continued to extend the line, reaching Shiojiri the same year, and Tokyo (at Shōheibashi Station (昌平橋駅)) in 1908.[citation needed] The JGR also built the line from Nagoya, the first section opening in 1900, with the lines connecting in 1911. The Table below gives the section opening dates.

In 1904, the section between Iidamachi Station (formerly located between Suidōbashi Station and Iidabashi Station) and Nakano Station was the first urban electric railway in Japan using 600 V DC. Electrification was extended in 1919 and 1922, was increased to 1,200 V DC when extended to Tokyo in 1927, boosted again to 1,500 V DC in 1929, and reached Kofu in 1931. Electrification from the Nagano end was commissioned in sections from 1966, and the entire line was electrified by 1973.[citation needed]

Chūō Main Line construction timeline
Section Opening date Builder
East Line Tokyo 1 March 1919[3] JGR
Manseibashi †
1 April 1912[3]
Shōheibashi †
19 April 1908
Ochanomizu
31 December 1904 Kōbu
Iidamachi †
3 April 1895
Ushigome †
9 October 1894
Shinjuku
11 April 1889
Tachikawa
11 August 1889
Hachiōji
1 August 1901 JGR
Uenohara
1 June 1902
Torisawa
1 October 1902
Ōtsuki
1 February 1903
Kai-Yamato
(Hajikano)
11 June 1903
Kōfu
15 December 1903
Nirasaki
21 December 1904
Fujimi
25 November 1905
Okaya
5 July 1983[3]
(See note below)
JNR
Shiojiri
West Line 1 December 1909 JGR
Yabuhara
5 October 1910
Miyanokoshi
1 May 1911
Kiso-Fukushima
25 November 1910
Agematsu
5 October 1910
Suhara
1 December 1909
Nojiri
1 September 1909
Nagiso (Midono)
15 July 1909
Sakashita
1 August 1908
Nakatsugawa
(Nakatsu)
21 December 1902
Tajimi
25 July 1900
Nagoya

Notes:

  • The section between Okaya Station and Shiojiri Station is the new route that replaced the old route opened on June 11, 1906 by JGR.
  • Station names in parentheses are original names.
  • Stations marked † are now closed.
  • Prior to the connection of the East Line and the West Line in 1911, the section between Shiojiri Station and Miyanokoshi Station belonged to the East Line.

Former connecting linesEdit

 
Kitaena train on the Kisogawa bridge, which still exists
  • Mitaka Station: A 3 km line to a Nakajima Aircraft factory opened in 1942, and was out of service in 1945.[citation needed] In 1950, the factory site was used to build a sports stadium. The line from Mitaka to Musashino Stadium (武蔵野競技場前) opened on 14 April 1951, but was closed from 1 November 1959.[3]
  • Kokubunji Station: A 7 km line was opened in 1910 to haul gravel from the Tamagawa. It closed in 1914 due to flood damage, but was reopened in 1916 after being rebuilt by the Japanese Army.[citation needed] On 26 May 1920, the line was absorbed into JNR, but operations were suspended from 1 December 1921.[3] A 6 km[citation needed] extension to the Tokyo Racecourse opened on 1934.[3] Services on the line were suspended from 1 October 1944, resuming from 24 April 1947.[3] On 1 April 1973, the line to Tokyo Racecourse closed, and the freight line was absorbed into the Musashino Line.[3]
  • Kofu Station: The Yamanashi horse-drawn tramway opened its first 660 mm (2 ft 2 in) gauge section in 1898, and by 1904 had opened two lines (to Katsunuma and Fujikawa) totaling 34 km. In 1930, the Katsunuma Line was closed, and the other line was closed beyond Kai-Aoyagi, 20 km from Kofu. The company renamed itself the Yamanashi Electric Railway, regauged (to 1,067 mm) and electrified the line at 600 V DC, and operated it until 1962.
  • Sakashita Station: The 11 km 762 mm (2 ft 6 in) gauge Sakagawa Line was opened to Maruno by the Hisaka River Railway in 1926. A passenger service was operated 8 km to Okuya. The Forest Service opened a 9 km line connecting at Maruno the same year, and a 2 km branch from Okuya that operated from 1933 until 1958. In 1944, the Forest Service took over the Sakagawa line, operating it until 1961, when the entire 20 km line closed.[citation needed]
  • Nakatsugawa Station: The Kitaena Railway operated the 23 km Enaden Line to Tsukechi, electrified at 600 V DC, from 1924 until 1978. At Tsukechi, it transshipped timber from a 762 mm (2 ft 6 in) gauge forest railway with an 18 km "main line" and a 14 km and two 5 km branch lines operated from 1932 until 1959.
  • Ena Station: The Iwamura Electric Railway operated a 13 km line electrified at 600 V DC to its namesake town between 1906 and 1935. A 4 km line to the site of Oi dam was opened in 1922 to transport construction materials. Upon the dam's completion, the line was sold to the Kita-Ena Railway. but it closed in 1934.
  • Tokishi Station: The Ogawa Railway opened a 10 km line to its namesake town between 1922 and 1924. The line was electrified at 1,500 V DC in 1950, and closed as a result of flood damage in 1972.
  • Yabuhara Station: The Ogiso Forest line operated for an unknown period.
  • Agematsu Station: The Otaki Forest Railway operated between 1911 and 1975.
  • Nojiri Station: The Nojiri Forest Railway operated for an unknown period.
  • Tajima Station: The Kasahara Railway opened a 5 km line to its namesake town in 1928. Passenger services ceased in 1971, and the line closed in 1978.

Proposed connecting linesEdit

  • Chino Station: The Saku Railway, which had built the line from Komoro on the Shinetsu Line to Koumi, proposed to build a line from Tanaka on the Shinetsu Line to this station. The company was nationalised before construction started, and JGR connected the Koumi line to the Chuo Main Line in 1935, making this proposal redundant.

AccidentsEdit

On September 12, 1997, a Super Azusa limited express bound for Matsumoto collided with a 201 series local train that failed to stop at a red signal while passing through Ōtsuki Station.

ReferencesEdit

This article incorporates material from the corresponding article in the Japanese Wikipedia.

  1. ^ "Archived copy" JR東日本 富士山観光見込み、中央線特急に新型車両 [JR East to introduce new trains on Chuo Line limited express services, eying Mt Fuji tourism]. Sponichi Annex (in Japanese). Japan: Sports Nippon Newspapers. 16 September 2013. Archived from the original on 18 September 2013. Retrieved 16 September 2013. Cite uses deprecated parameter |dead-url= (help)CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  2. ^ "JR-EAST:Press Releases - A New Look for Tachikawa Station First Stage Opening of ecute Tachikawa, Friday, October 5".
  3. ^ a b c d e f g h Ishino, Tetsu, ed. (1998). 停車場変遷大辞典 国鉄・JR編 [Station Transition Directory - JNR/JR]. I. Japan: JTB. pp. 93–94. ISBN 4-533-02980-9.

External linksEdit