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Railfan Magazine News has an article about the third sector company that will take over JR Hokkaido's Esashi Line (the portion that JRH themselves didn't shut down, anyway).  The English name will be South Hokkaido Railway Company, and the line will be renamed the Isaribi Line.  The company's Japanese name will be Dōnan Isaribi Tetsudō.


According to the Wikipedia article, they'll run 9 KIHA40s.  I think all will be transferred from JRH, but only 2 will get the livery and interior treatment shown in the links below.  They'll be nicknamed Nagamare.


The livery is a very dark blue or violet color, like the night sky, and there's an outline of Mt. Hakodate's silhouette and the stars of the night sky.  Below the silhouette there are yellow and orange dots representing town lights of southern Hokkaido as well as gyoka, lights used to lure fish during nighttime fishing.


The interior will feature refurbished seats with headrests, and ekiben tables will be added made of south Hokkaido cedar.


These cars will run on both chartered and regularly scheduled services.


Tetsudo News: http://railf.jp/news/2016/02/05/140000.html

English Wikipedia: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/South_Hokkaido_Railway_Company

Company homepage in Japanese: http://www.shr-isaribi.jp/

Company page with same rendering of exterior as well as an interior rendering: http://www.shr-isaribi.jp/info/622/

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Looking good :)




From March 3rd, KIHA40 1799 with only a base coat of paint



KIHA40 1793 on March 17th.  It still has JRH style numbering, and on the side of the skirt, Hakodate as its depot assignment.  Is this temporary, or will JRH be in charge of this property operationally?  According to Wikipedia, JRH is not a shareholder.


Edited by miyakoji
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A lot of these arrangements have the new companies running the operations and the all other stuff is normally the same.  Over time maintenance and yard storage may change hands.  But until that time, these things have to be contracted out until said new company has the means of doing it themselves.  If it is a small railway, then they may never have t means warranting those aspects.


Sagano Railway for example is another good example of this.  Line maintenance, rolling stock and storage of rolling stock are all done by JRW.

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I wonder why this new third-sector railway chose the KiHa 40, when the entire line between Kikonai and Hakodate is fully electrified with 20 kV 50 Hz AC power?

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Possible reasons:

-this is what they got free of charge

-the full line is only electrified right now

-diesel might be cheaper than AC emu maintenance

-it's easier to sell the diesel trains when the company switches to bus operation

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Kiha 40's are what JR Hokkaido ran on the line's local service so it's logical they would be available to the new operator to continue the service.  Any electric units would probably have to be new and stranded, so to speak, on the Hakodate - Kikonai section.

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Possible reasons:

-this is what they got free of charge - high probable.

-the full line is only electrified right now  - EH500s and EH800s wont like it is they cannot get no juice.

-diesel might be cheaper than AC emu maintenance - JRK or JRF will have to maintain the overheads if SHR doesn't require them.

-it's easier to sell the diesel trains when the company switches to bus operation - oh dear


Unloading diesels is quite normal for more railways now.  As the older DMU fleets begin to age.  They get taken out of service.  But since a lot of the rail line in Japan that DMUs run on have decreasing ridership due to shrinking population and more city living.  There isn't a huge demand to replace DMUs.  JRH like many of its JR cousins have a overstock of DMUs.

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Some video of their (I assume) regular livery.  For a moment it's side by side with a JR Hokkaido KIHA 40, fonts and some yellow/black warning stickers remain the same.


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The orange livery is really awful. I also feel like it will be very prone to stains caused by weather conditions.

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