Japan Railway & Transport Review No. 38 (Back cover)

Japanese Railway Scenery 31
JR Kyushu:Hisatsu Line
Series Kiha 47 diesel railcar running near Okoba Station on JR Kyushu’s Hisatsu Line. The 124.2-km line with steep gradients and 21 tunnels runs through scenic mountain areas between Kagoshima and Kumamoto prefectures. Here at Okoba, the line negotiates the most difficult slope helped by a combined switchback and loop alignments. First opened as a part of Kagoshima main line in 1909, the Yatsushiro–Hitoyoshi–Kagoshima section was renamed Hisatsu Line in 1927 when the coastal route via Sendai was completed. A parallel expressway opened in 1995 hit the line severely that had been already suffering from low traffic.
( Photo: M. Mashima Photo Office )