Japanese National Railways



The JNR, the Japanese National Railways were formed in 1949 as a reorganization mandated by the Allied Forces’ Command (wich was tasked with managing and reconstructing post-war Japan) with General McArthur himself personally participating in the reorganization process.


The new pubblicly-owned National Railways began operating in 1949, initially with many troubles and accidents, but soon, and gradually, thanks to the introduction of five-year plans, the situation improved, and in 1964, JNR opened world’s first high-speed railway, the Tokaido Shinkansen, wich was desiged to relieve congestion on the overloaded Tokaido Main Line, wich connected Tokyo to Osaka via Nagoya and Kyoto, the four biggest cities in Japan.


At it’s heyday, in the early 1980s, JNR had a combined trackage lenght of around 21 000 kilometers, but such a large network was too costly to maintain.

In fact, JNR, for all of it’s history had been in the red, and was considered a burden on the government’s finances. Accidents, delays and clashes with the workers’ unions (JNR employees, as pubblic workers, were actually forbidden to strike, like firemen, policemen and SDF servicemen) and a general percieved inefficiency and mismanagment tarnished the company’s reputation.


By the late 1980s, JNR had accumulated a staggering 27 trillion yen in debt, and to save it’s finances, in 1987 the Japanese Government decided to privatize JNR and split it into six regional passenger companies and one nationwide freight carrier.

With much dismay, on April 1st 1987, JNR was disbanded and split into the JR group.



Of the 10 chairmans of JNR from 1949 to 1987, only one (Ishida Resuke) retired as chairman. Out of the other nine, Sandadori Shimoyama (the first chairman of JNR) died in the misterious “Shimoyama Incident” and Sugiura Takaya saw his position abolished by privatization in 1987.

Each of the remaining seven JNR chairmans abandoned the position by voluntarily resigning to “take responsibility” for various incidents or other problems (such as costs overruns or clashes with workers’ unions) occurred during his period as the head of JNR. As such, the position of JNR chairman became famous for it’s instability.





Tokaido Shinkansen, San’yo Shinkansen




Tohoku Shinkansen, Joetsu Shinkansen

Non-Revenue rolling stock





Tokyo area

Yamanote Line



Chuo Line, Ome Line, Itsukaichi Line



Chuo-Sobu Line


Inter-running services with the TRTA Tozai Subway Line




Tokaido Main Line, Ito Line








Takasaki, Utsunomiya and Ryomo Lines








Yokosuka Line, Sobu Line Rapid Service




Joban Line

Inter-running services with the Chiyoda Subway Line (1500v DC only)



Suburban multisystem EMUs (1500v DC – 20Kv 50Hz AC)









Tohoku Area









Nagano and Niigata areas





Chubu aea

Tokaido Main Line, Chuo Main Line








Minobu Line






Gotemba Line





Kansai area

Tokaido Main Line

Local services (“Keihanshin Line”)



Rapid and local services (Maibara to Kobe)




San’yo Main Line




Hanwa Line




Wakayama Line


Yamatoji and Nara Lines




Fukuchiyama Line




Uno Line








Ube Line and Onoda Lines



Fukuen Line




Kyushu area







Diesel locomotives




















Train icons made by Curoka