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Ban'etsu West Line

Banetsu West Line
719 series EMU at Kōriyama Station, March 2008
Native name 磐越西線
Type Regional rail
Locale Fukushima, Niigata prefectures
Termini Kōriyama
Stations 44
Opened 1898
Operator(s) JR East
Line length 175.6 km (109.1 mi)
Track gauge 1,067 mm (3 ft 6 in)
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 connects 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 1
  • Rolling stock 2
    • Past 2.1
  • History 3
  • Future developments 4
  • References 5
  • External links 6

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/Other Notes   Location
Total * Aizu Liner Agano
Kōriyama 郡山 - 0.0   Kōriyama Fukushima
Kōriyama-Tomita[* 2] 郡山富田 3.4 3.4    
Kikuta 喜久田 4.5 7.9    
Akogashima 安子ケ島 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[* 3]
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   Terminus of electrification
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    
  1. ^ Although the official start of the Suigun Line is Asakanagamori, all trains run through to/from Kōriyama.
  2. ^ Scheduled to open in spring 2017.
  3. ^ Although the official start of the Aizu Line is Nishi-Wakamatsu, all trains run through to/from Aizu-Wakamatsu.
  4. ^ Most Banetsu West Line trains travel through to/from Niigata.

Rolling stock

485 series Aizu Liner rapid service at Koriyama Station, March 2012

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

From 25 April 2015, a two-car 719 series set entered service on FruiTea (フルーティア) services on the line between Koriyama and Aizu-Wakamatsu. The train accommodates 36 passengers.[2]

On May 15, 2015, JR East announced that it was placing an order for new diesel multiple unit (DMU) trains to be introduced from fiscal 2017.[3]



The Banetsu West Line was planned under the Railway Construction Act in 1892, and the private Ganetsu Railway opened the initial section from Kōriyama to Nakayamajuku on July 26, 1898, and extended the line to Aizu-Wakamatsu the following year. In 1906, when the line was extended to Kitakata, the Japanese Government Railways (JGR) nationalized the Ganetsu Railway and renamed the line the Ganetsu Line.

In 1910 the JGR opened the Niitsu - Maoroshi section and extended the eastern section to Yamato. The remaining sections were opened in 1913 and 1914, providing the first rail link from Niigata to the east coast of Japan (and Tokyo). The line was renamed the Banetsu West Line in 1917, the year that the Matsuno tunnel (situated west of Kitakata) collapsed, blocking the line for 15 months, during which time a cableway operated to transfer freight and passengers walked around the blocked section. The reopened section permanently bypassed the tunnel.

Japanese 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.

In 1967, JNR electrified the section between Kōriyama and Kitakata at 20 kV AC.

In 2011 the line was closed for 15 days in March following the Tohoku earthquake, two days in April as a result of aftershocks, and for 10 weeks following torrential rain at the end of July.

Future developments

A new station, called Kōriyama-Tomita, is scheduled to be built between and Kōriyama and Kikuta stations. The new station will be unstaffed, and is scheduled to open in spring 2017.[4]


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

  1. ^ JR East Niigata Area press release, (16 October 2008). Retrieved on 19 February 2009. (Japanese)
  2. ^
  3. ^ 《草町義和》. "JR東日本、新潟・秋田地区に電気式の新型気動車を導入へ | レスポンス". Retrieved 2015-05-19. 
  4. ^ 磐越西線に新駅を設置いたします [New station to be built on Banetsu West Line] (pdf). News release (in Japanese). Japan: East Japan Railway Company. 15 September 2015. Retrieved 15 September 2015. 

External links

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