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The Kesennuma Line (気仙沼線, Kesennuma-sen) is a local railway line in Japan, operated by the East Japan Railway Company (JR East). It connected Maeyachi Station in the city of Ishinomaki, Miyagi to Kesennuma Station in the city of Kesennuma, Miyagi. The route links the north-eastern coast of Miyagi Prefecture, with the Ishinomaki Line (and the Tohoku Main Line a few stops farther) available for transfer in the south, and the Ōfunato Line in the north.
North and southbound trains at Motoyoshi Station, April 2005
|Status||In operation |
(Maeyachi - Yanaizu as a railway)
(Yanaizu - Kesennuma as a BRT route)
|Stations||23 (Only 6 are railway stations following the 2011 disaster)|
|Rolling stock||KiHa 110 series DMU, Hino Blue Ribbon City Bus|
|Opened||11 February 1957|
|Closed||1 April 2020 (Section between Yanaizu - Kesennuma was replaced by bus rapid transit in December 2012 but was only formally closed in 2020)|
|Line length||72.8 km (45.2 mi) (Until 2011) |
17.5 km (10.9 mi) (After 2011)
|Number of tracks||Entire line single tracked|
|Track gauge||1,067 mm (3 ft 6 in)|
|Operating speed||85 km/h (53 mph)|
A large section of the railway infrastructure between Minami-Kesennuma Station and Rikuzen-Togura Station, including tracks, stations, and railway bridges, were badly damaged or completely destroyed by the 2011 Tōhoku earthquake and tsunami. Destroyed stations include Minami-Kesennuma (except for the platform) and Shizugawa Station, as well as various others. As a result of the catastrophic damage to the line and prohibitive costs of restoration as a railway, JR East officially proposed the line's conversion into a dedicated bus rapid transit (BRT) route on 27 December 2011. At present only the Maeyachi to Yanaizu section is operated as a railway, with services on the balance of the route provided by buses.
Although the Kesennuma Line's south end is Maeyachi, its operational south end should be considered Kogota Station in Misato, as the majority of Kesennuma Line trains either have Kogota as their south terminus or go through it on the way to Sendai. Trains going this far also stop at Kami-Wakuya (local only) and Wakuya Stations in Wakuya, Miyagi on the Ishinomaki Line.
from previous station
|Distance from Maeyachi||Local train||BRT||Transfers||Location|
|Maeyachi||前谷地||-||0.0||●||●||Ishinomaki Line||Ishinomaki, Miyagi|
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- April 11, 1956: Ōfunato Line begins operation as a freight line between Kesennuma and Kesennuma-Minato stations
- February 11, 1957: Kesennuma Line operates as a passenger line between Minami-Kesennuma and Motoyoshi stations. Ōfunato Freight Line is merged into the Kesennuma Line. Kesennuma to Minami-Kesennuma is open to the public. Minami-Kesennuma, Matsuiwa, Rikuzen-Hashikami, Ōya, Oganezawa, Motoyoshi stations begin operation
- November 10, 1960: Fudōnosawa station begins operation
- July 20, 1967: Saichi station begins operation
- October 24, 1968: Yanaizu Line begins operation between Maeyachi and Yanaizu stations. Wabuchi, Nonodake, Rikuzen-Toyosato, Mitakedō, and Yanaizu stations begin operation
- December 11, 1977: Kesennuma Line connects Motoyoshi and Yanaizu stations. Rikuzen-Yokoyama, Rikuzen-Togura, Shizugawa, Shizuhama, Utatsu, Rikuzen-Minato, Kurauchi and Rikuzen-Koizumi stations begin operation. The freight line between Motoyoshi and Minami-Kesennuma is abolished. Kesennuma Line merges with the Yanaizu Line and runs from Maeyachi to Kesennuma. The freight line runs from Minami-Kesennuma to Kesennuma-Minato.
- November 1, 1979: The remaining freight line is abolished and Kesennuma-Minato station ceases operation.
- April 1, 1987: Kesennuma Line becomes part of JR East.
- March 22, 1997: Ōya station is renamed Ōya-Kaigan station
- March 11, 2011: Line closed following major damage in 2011 Tōhoku earthquake and tsunami.
- April 29, 2011: Rail service restored on Maeyachi - Yanaizu segment.
- May 7, 2012: Local authorities agree to BRT service to Kesennuma.
- August 20, 2012: BRT roadway completed between Rikuzen-Hashikami and Saichi.
- December 22, 2012: BRT service commences between Yanaizu and Kesennuma.
- Akiyama, Hironari; Ishibashi, Takeharu (13 March 2011). "Kesennuma described as 'hellish sight'". Yomiuri Shimbun. Archived from the original on 16 March 2011. Retrieved 16 March 2011.
- A set of 11 videos showing a train trip along the entire Kesennuma Line, in 2009. Much of the track and scenery seen here were destroyed by the 2011 tsunami.
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