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The history of rail freight in Nagoya is an interesting topic. The never-completed Nanpo Freight Line, the West Nagoya Port freight line which became the passenger Aonami Line, and the active, but not as big as it was, Nagoya Rinkai Railway which interchanges with JR at Kasadera. I have wanted to write this post for a long time. Only in the last several months have some very interesting videos been made by the cmesgx YouTube channel which illustrate what otherwise requires a lot of google mapping. Additionally, and unfortunately, JR Freight has announced that the Nagoya Port Line will be shutdown in 2024. Nagoya Port Line The Nagoya Port Line is I believe the earliest dedicated freight line, opening on May 1, 1911. Starting as a Japanese Government Railways line, it passed on to JNR and is now a JR Freight property from Sanno junction, just northwest of JR Central's Otobashi Station, down to what's left of the port infrastructure. Most available YouTube videos of activity on this line, made in the last 10 to 15 years, appear to be movement of new rails on flatcars or JR Central KIYA 97 rail carriers, which while basically DMUs, are usually behind a DE10 or DD200. Perhaps JR Central crews are not qualified on this line. https://plus.chunichi.co.jp/blog/ito/article/264/3870/ However, in an age before the ubiquitousness of 4k smartphones, this line had a lot going on. The Shirotori Line was a short spur that diverged southeast to a log pond (not sure the correct term here as it was man made, not natural) along the Hori River which had freight barges and floating timber. This was Shirotori Station, although there were no passenger operations. Whether these trees were for lumber or paper industries I don't know, but aerial photos of Nagoya up to the mid 1980s seem to show a lot of trees stored in the rivers and canals. This spur began operation in 1916. Immediately north of Shirotori Station, the Nagoya Wholesale Market opened in the mid 1940s and sidings were added to service it. These operations continued until 1978, and the spur itself was formally closed in 1982. The Nagoya Congress Center, a convention center not a government building, and Shirotori Gardens are now in place of the former station/yard. Further south, there would have been a connection to the Nanpo Freight Line, sidings to service the Toho Gas Works, and ultimately a sprawling port with numerous sidings, spurs, and a drawbridge. The excellent YouTube channel cmesgx has been animating old aerial map from the 1970s and 1980s to highlight rail infrastructure. These show Japan's rail network at its peak. First example: Aerial photography from October 1977. 0:46 Sanno Junction. Otobashi station would be built just southeast of this point in 1995. 1:08 Yawata Junction, beginning of Shirotori Line. Light blue lines are the Tokaido Shinkansen. 1:25 Although now filled with buildings, this right of way is still obvious on maps. 1:31 Hibino Station of Nagoya Municpal Subway Meiko Line opened in 1971 under this intersection. 1:40 Shirotori Station log ponds. 1:55 Nagoya Wholesale Market, which still exists but has no rail connection. 2:25 Crossing national route 1, the old Tokai-do (original path?) connecting Edo and Nagoya/Kyoto/Osaka, for which the mainline and shinkansen were named. 2:33 Crossing under the Nanpo Freight Line, with connector line following. I believe construction on this freight bypass would have been suspended by the time these aerial photos were taken. Unbelievable how much they built only to cancel it. 2:45 Toho Gas Works. This is gone now, with a large mall on the east side of the line, and the plot on the west side under development. 3:05 Nagoya Municipal Subway Meiko Yard. This and the immediately following JR Freight Nagoya-minato Station (nothing much to see) are now the end of the line. 3:51 Horikawa Drawbridge. All this track is gone but the bridge is still there and is a registered tangible cultural property of Japan. Continuing on from this point is Horikawa-guchi Freight Station. Additionally, there is a blog Tsushima Keibendo with photos of the port rail operations. 1969 and 1971: http://tsushima-keibendo.a.la9.jp/rinkou/rinkou1.html mostly 1982/3, including the drawbridge: http://tsushima-keibendo.a.la9.jp/rinkou/rinkou2.html. At the bottom of the page, older photos of the Shirotori Line level street/tram crossing in the vicinity of Hibino subway station. I actually lived along this street, north of this point, about 20 years ago. There are still signs designating it the Egawa-sen, which I believe was a nickname of the municipal 08 tram line. On September 19, 2023, JR Freight announced that the line's last day of operation will be March 31, 2024. West Nagoya Port Line and Nanpo Freight Line Planning for the West Nagoya Port Line began in 1947, and construction started a year later. In 1950, 12.6 kilometers of track opened between Sasajima and West Nagoya Port. There were steam operations on the line until 1971. Nagoya Freight Terminal opened October 1, 1980. From October 10th to the 12th 1986, in the twilight of JNR, a passenger excursion called the Omoshiro Ressha Katatsumuri-go (fun train snail service?) was operated on the line. With top-and-tail DD51s (engines 819 and 820), it started at Nagoya Station, went up to Gifu, and then came back down to Nagoya West Port Station. The route was then retraced in reverse. Sasajima Freight Station was closed on November 1st. With the dissolution of JNR, JR Central became the class 1 operator of this line, and JR Freight the class 2 operator. This is what Japanese Wikipedia says, I don't understand the detail or business/operational implications. Seems like an obvious JR Freight property to me. The Nagoya Rinkai Rapid Transit company was established in December 1997 (this is not the same as the Nagoya Rinkai Railway [Meirin] which operates industrial lines running west from Kasadera Station). The West Nagoya Port Line was only electrified in 1998, and only down to the Terminal. The line south of the Terminal ceased operation in 2001, while the construction of the elevated line proceeded. The passenger Aonami Line opened October 6, 2004. Aerial photography from December 1982 0:34 Sasajima Freight Station. This is the northern terminus of the Nagagawa Canal. The Aonami Line, the passengerization of the West Nagoya Port freight line, has Sasajima Raibu (Live) Station here. 0:50 The dark blue lines at the right of the video are the Meitetsu Main Line. The light blue lines are the Tokaido Shinkansen, and the red lines in between are the Tokaido and Chuo Main Lines. The dark blue lines northwest of the yard are the Kintetsu Nagoya Line an associated sidings. 0:57 Most of this yard is gone, but some still exists as a depot and shops for DMUs. 1:12 The West Nagoya Port Line diverges. To the west you can see what was going to be another connector, part of the Nanpo Freight Line plan. This is still visible in aerial maps. 1:20 On the west side of the track, Takabata yard for Nagoya Municipal Subway Higashiyama Line. 1:35 Nagoya Freight Terminal. This still exists. 2:04. What a mess. The factory on the east side of the track is the Chubu Kohan, aka Chubu Steel Plate. They're still there. On the northwest side of their plant are viaducts that I guess were going to serve it when the rest of the elevated line was completed. There is YT video of these structures, they're still standing. The part running off to the right was the Nanpo Freight Line. More later. 2:25 At the right of the video, the Nagoya Horse Racetrack. Just recently closed in favor of a new track out in Yatomi. 3:25 West Nagoya Port 3:55 Back to Nagoya Freight Terminal for the tour of the Nanpo Freight Line. Something like 90% completed by 1975, it was canceled and never carried a single train. 4:29 Crossing over the Nakagawa Canal. 4:34 Passing the connector with and then crossing over the Nagoya Port Line 4:50 Running along side the Tokaido Shinkansen, which it mostly follows all the way to Kasadera Station. 5:08 Crossing the Meitetsu Tokoname Line 5:25 Converging with Tokaido Main Line north of Kasadera. 5:37 Kasadera Station with Nagoya Rinkai yard to its west. There is unused space on the west side of the Tokaido Main Line from Kasadera almost all the way down to Obu. This would have been part of the Nanpo Freight Line. Two more pages of photos on the Tsushima Keibendo blog, here showing the West Port Line. Again from 1969, 1971, and 1983. http://tsushima-keibendo.a.la9.jp/rinkou/rinkou3.html http://tsushima-keibendo.a.la9.jp/rinkou/rinkou4.html Katatsumuri passenger excursion photos: https://hekiden.web.fc2.com/arcives/3rd-spc/3rd-spc-22.htm At an 'open day' in November 2019 at Nagoya Freight Terminal, DE10 1597 wearing the headmark. Whoever has been in charge of the archives over the years, they did a great job. https://twitter.com/ecopower0157/status/1328701141027209217/photo/1 Five pictures at the bottom of the blog: http://b1hanabusa.cocolog-nifty.com/blog/2012/01/post-9b06.html Nagoya Rinkai Railway (Meirin) The Nagoya Rinkai Railway operates a freight network that interchanges with JR at Kasadera, and also has a physical connection with the Nagoya Railway (Meitetsu) via their Chikko Line. The current Meirin company only dates from January 1965, but parts of the system were prefectural lines dating back to the 1930s. Some parts of their network do not currently see active service, but the company designates these as suspended, not abandoned. The company provides service in the large industrial area of southern Nagoya City, which stretches down through the cities of Tokai and Chita. Additionally, they are involved with switching operations at Nagoya Port, West Nagoya Port, Tajimi, Kasugai, and Yokkaichi. They also own some automobile parking (some of the suspended lines are paved over), have scrapped retired railcars and locomotives for JNR, and grew kiwis at one point. Another cmesgx video tracing the Meirin network: Aerial photography from October 1977. 0:00 - the Toko Line, starting at JR Kasadera 0:45 - cross the Meitetsu Tokoname Line 1:07 - Toko Freight Station 1:25 - Showa-machi Line 2:20 - Shiomi-cho Line 2:47 - Funami-cho Freight Station 3:20 - Shiomi-cho Freight Station 4:45 - Tochiku Line 5:13 - diamond crossing with Meitetsu 5:30 - Nanko Line 6:58 - sidings for what is now Nippon Steel Nagoya Works. Immediately after this, the video shows blue lines which are the plant's industrial lines 7:55 - Nagoya Minami Freight Station 9:00 - Chita Freight Station and sidings for Toa Chemical and Nisshin Flour Former Plans Lastly, I have read a few times about a sort of freight outer loop for Nagoya. In the 1960s, JNR's freight trains were made up of 2-axle cars which were limited to speeds lower than that of passenger trains. The Tokaido and Sanyo Lines in Kanto and Kansai had been quadruple tracked prior to the Second World War, but the Tokaido Line through greater Nagoya was still double track. It was concieved that there should be a way to bypass this busy, exclusively double track section of the line. The Seto Line, now the Aichi Loop Railway, diverges from the Tokaido Main Line at Okazaki Station. Imagining it from the direction of Tokyo, it runs roughly north to Kozoji on the Chuo Line, merging with it heading west. JR Kachigawa is only 3 stations ahead, and just northwest of the station is the physical end of the Tokai Transport Johoku Line and their Kachigawa Staton. Well, if you look at JR Kachigawa, it has two island platforms but only the outer tracks exist. The inner track paths are empty, and you can see how this aligns with the end of the Johoku Line. Had this connection been completed, a west bound train would come off the Johoku Line and merge with the Tokaido Main Line just north of Biwajima, heading south. A freight train from Tokyo would proceed south through Nagoya Station, follow the Kansai Main Line west for a short distance, then turn south on the West Nagoya Port Line to go down to Nagoya Freight Terminal. There would have been a delta where the West Nagoya Port Line diverges, so a train coming from the west (Osaka) could enter the West Nagoya Port Line without a reverse movement. There was also a consideration for a line paralell to the Tokaido to its west, but as this was all developed land, construction costs would have been too great. Links of interest and map references Nanpo Freight Line Wikipedia article (English): https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nanpō_Freight_Line Nagoya Rinkai Wikipedia article (English): https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nagoya_Rinkai_Railway Port of Nagoya Wikipedia article (English): https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Port_of_Nagoya Google map centered between JR Central Kachigawa and TKT Kachigawa: https://email@example.com,136.9541445,642m/data=!3m1!1e3?hl=en&entry=ttu Google map centered on planned delta junction of Kansai Main Line and West Nagoya Port LIne: https://firstname.lastname@example.org,136.8598929,17.68z?hl=en&entry=ttu Google map centered on Nagoya Port Line where Nanpo Freight Line crossed. Freight Line structure is visible to the east; no trace of connector in the southwest corner of the junction, it's now a Konan home DIY store: https://email@example.com,136.8828309,97m/data=!3m1!1e3?hl=en&entry=ttu Corrections and additions welcome!
Wasn't there a Hakone Tozan conductor who got some fame for his singing? Fine though he may have been, this Nagoya Rinkai employee is a true artist. Ignore the computer anime girl voice in the first few minutes (worse than nails on chalkboard), you are in for a treat. This is the Showa-machi Line, which unfortunately saw its last train around 2009. Somewhere else I read that Meirin classifies their out-of-service lines as suspended, not discontinued or abandoned. I inferred that this emphasizes possible reopening. Here's hoping. This is an interesting operation which at its peak had a lot of track. I'm not sure how many customers they're switching here, but one is Toagosei, apparently the owner of Krazy Glue. Highlights: 2:15 smoking cyclist 3:30 crew observes videographer observing them 7:45 his highest artistic expression 12:35 foot brake 18:30 uyoku sound truck, of course 22:00 then and now Google Map centered on the track: https://firstname.lastname@example.org,136.8940081,245m/data=!3m1!1e3?hl=en&entry=ttu
On July 21st, Meitetsu's four DEKI 600 electric locomotives were moved to Meiden-Chikkō Station for scrapping. Interesting facts from the English Wikipedia article: Built between 1943 and 1945 by Toshiba 603 and 604 were not originally for Meitetsu; they were intended to go to Hainan Island, but couldn't be shipped there. 601 and 602 were based at Inuyama, 603 and 604 at Shinkawa they weighed 40 tons and were rated at 440kW (about 590hp) These were basically surplus after the arrival of the new EL120s. Meitetsu's other old locos, the two DEKI 400s, will also be retired. http://railf.jp/news/2015/07/24/130000.html http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Meitetsu_DeKi_600 a year ago, still in service, by kanazawa10026: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Djm6NOyKMik end of the line, literally and figuratively, also by kanazawa10026: