The 17.2 Km long Ohybari Coal Railway openend in 1911 to connect the Ohyubari Coal Mine to the National Railway Network at Shimizusawa (both in Hokkaido). In 1939 the mine was bought by the Mitsubishi conglomerate and the line was reorganized as the “Mitsubishi Ohybari Railway”. Service was operated with class 9200, 9600 and C11 steam locomotives.
In 1973, three DL55 diesel locomotives (manufactured by Mitsubishi itself) were introduced to replace the steam locomotives still in operation.
With the rationalization of the coal mines, the northern section between Oobari and Yubari closed in 1973, and the southern section between Yubari and Shimizusawa closed in 1987.
Services consisted of mainly coal hoppers to and from the mine and also a small passenger service operated with a couple of ex-JGR, pre-war-type coaches for the communities around the line.
Shortly before closure (in 1987), the passenger fares were between 40 and 60 yen for the whole line – the cheapest of all Japan.
With steam service ending in 1973, the Mitsubishi Ohyubari Railway was one of the last mainline regular users of steam locomotives (JNR had retired it’s last ones in 1972).
Icons made by Curoka