Soon to be closed, the Akita Rinkai Railway operates a 7,9Km-long network connecting the Akita-Kitako and Mukahiama freight terminals via Akita Port. The network, while operated seamlessly as a single line, is actually split into the 2,5Km-long “North Line” and the 5,4Km-long “South Line”, wich are divided by the “mid-point” Akako Station.
The Akita Rinkai Railway was founded in 1970 and the whole network began operations in 1971. Freight traffic on the railway consisted primarily of containers and paper products manufactured at the nearby Nippon Paper Akita Factory. Sulphuric Acid tankers coming from the Kosaka Railway were also common until the closure of the latter in 2008.
By the early 2010s, container traffic on the railway greatly decreased, in favour of trucks, to the brink of non-existance, leading to severe financial hardships for the company, with operations on the South Line being suspended in 2015.
In June 2020, Nippon Paper, now the company’s only customer, withdrew as well, and with no more traffic to handle, the Akita Rinkai Railway announced in February 2021 that it’s going to cease operations, indicatively by March 2021.
The Akita Rinkai Railway operated a small, but diverse fleet of seven diesel locomotives: two DD56s (identical to JNR’s DD13), one DD35, one DE65 (same as a JNR DE10, built new), three DE10s (two second-hand from JR East and one bought from the closed Tokachi Railway) and finally, one DB252 small shunter.
With the closure of the line looming, Akita Rinkai Railway is selling most of it’s fleet – DE10 1520 (the former Tokachi Railway unit) has been sold and is already in operation with the Sendai Rinkai Railway.
The Akita Rinkai Railway used to own a tourist travel agency until 1990, when it was sold to an another local tourist travel agency.