I'm heading back to Japan for a wedding
in September on Monday and have decided to seek out and photograph the private freight railways that exist around the Kansai area. From a few Google searches (and a very large thanks to the data found on this site), I've come up with the following list:
So, after discovering all these railways, I scoured the internet for timetables... this was always going to be impossible. I then stumbled across the Railfreight Association of Japan who actually collate freight timetables and produce a single annual freight timetable of Japan. After getting a Japanese friend to talk to them, it was discovered that they did not like the idea of posting their products internationally! Fortunately my friend found a copy at Shosen Book Store in Akihabara. They sent it immediately and it arrived within 4 business days.
Note that there seems to be a monthly newsletter on their site... I haven't been able to check it out yet!
The title of the timetable is "2010 JR Kamotsu Jikokuhyou" ("2010 JR Freight Timetable", "貨物 時刻表", "かもつ じこくひょう") and it's valid from March 2010. It contains a thorough coverage of freight operations in Japan, starting with a Map of the country, a breakdown of services, a listing of locomotives (and the depots they belong to), a description of the types of freight, station diagrams and a lot more. The best part of this timetable is that they cover all of the private railways still operating and provide intricate timing details.
The sorting of the trains for each of the railways is a little confusing, and so I have reproduced the times of the railways above for my own benefit; but hopefully for that of others too. You'll find the timetables on my
Japan Freight Railway Timetables page.
Since I now had an idea of what to see, I created a plan to visit all of these railways in one day. The only exception was the Mizushima Rinkai Railway as it is in the opposite direction from Osaka to all the others.
After a little bit of creative planning on Hyperdia (clockwise vs. counter-clockwise was a big decision) I decided on the following plan:
|0833-0914 Limestone (#1022/#5780)|
|All below travel through Higashiko Freight Station.
This will involve loitering between Oe and Higashiko.
1034 Container (#307)
1050 No Idea (#6)
1130 Limestone (#7)
1134 Container (#308)
1140 Container (#8)
1143 Limestone (#321)
1210 No Idea (#9)
|1314 Tanker (#3088)
1317 Other (#0502)
1347 Cement (#5364)
1352 Tanker (#5284)
1402 Cement (#3715)
1413 Cement (#3716)
1422 Tanker (#5380)
1434 Cement (#5367)
|Kintetsu Tomida||1512||Hobo||1528||1554-1609 Cement (#3718)|
|Hobo||1604||Oyachi||1616||1621** Cement (#3718)
1630** Cement (#3717)
Walk to Tomida, watch cement shunt
|Find the Super Rail Cargo|
As per usual, I've left myself no time to scratch my balls; but as per usual I will also rely on the ever-trustworthy JR.
This plan is currently to be executed on Monday the 13th of September; we'll see what happens.