Toyama Chiho Railway
The Toyama Chiho Railway (lit. “Toyama Regional Railway”, also known as “Chitetsu”) operates south-east of Toyama City in Toyama Prefectures.
Chitetsu’s network is about 100 Km long and it’s composed by four “true” 1067mm gauge railway lines electrified at 1500V DC and the six lines of the Toyama City Tram (7.3 Km plus 7.6 Km of the former PorTram Line).
The Toyama Chiho Railway was formed in 1943 as all operators of railways, trams and buses (other than the JGR) in the prefecture were combined in one single company by the order of the Imperial Government (during wartime similar merges also happened in Tokyo and Kansai, with Tokyu and Hankyu acquiring all private railways in their areas, forming the “Dai-Tokyu” and “Keihanshin Kyuko” railways).
In 1950, Toyama Chiho Railway founded a subsidiary, the Kaetsuno Railway, wich was tasked with the construction of a line linking Toyama with Ishikawa, altough it was never constructed.
In the same year, Chitetsu also handed over it’s lines in western Toyama, wich at the time only comprised the Kaetsu Railway Line (that gave the company it’s name) and the Takaoka tram, to Kaetsuno Railway. Eventually, the Kaetsu Line was closed in 1971 and in 2002 the Takaoka tram was split into the separate Manyosen railway.
Depsite not operating any railway vehicle since 2002, Kaetsuno Railway maintained the “Railway” part of it’s name until 2012, when it was renamed “Kaetsuno Bus”. It’s still a Chitetsu subsidiary to this day.
Back to Chitetsu, unlike many other rural railways, the company lived trough the 1970s and the 1980s relatively carefree, without any particular trouble. In 2000, driver-only operation began on all it’s lines and in 2010 it introduced it’s very own IC-card: ecomyca.
The Toyama Chiho Railway classifies it’s railway rolling stock with a 5-digit scheme unique among Japanese railways, where the first two numbers refer to the motor’s power output in CV (metric horsepower).
Depsite being relatively unknown, Chitetsu has an extremely variegated fleet, wich includes the last operating examples of two of Japan’s most famous private railway’s limited express trains: the Seibu 5000 Series and the Keihan 3000 Series. Some of it’s railway lines can be particularily scenic too.
Electric Multiple Units