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Utsunomiya Line
JU
Overview
LocaleTokyo, Saitama, Tochigi, Ibaraki
TerminiTokyo
Kuroiso
Stations33
Service
TypeHeavy rail
Operator(s)
JR East
Depot(s)Oyama
History
Opened1883; 139 years ago (1883)
Technical
Line length163.5 km (101.6 mi)
Track gauge1,067 mm (3 ft 6 in)
Electrification1,500 V DC overhead catenary
Operating speed120 km/h (75 mph)

The Utsunomiya Line (Japanese: 宇都宮線, Japanese pronunciation: [Utsunomiya-sen]) is the name given to a 163.5 kilometer section of the Tōhoku Main Line between Tokyo Station in Tokyo and Kuroiso Station in Nasushiobara, Tochigi, Japan. It is part of the East Japan Railway Company (JR East) network.

Services

Services on the Utsunomiya Line are typically divided into three categories: services to or from Ueno, Shōnan–Shinjuku Line services, and Ueno–Tokyo Line services. Between Ueno and Ōmiya, trains share the track with the Takasaki Line, both of which serve as de facto express services compared to the parallel Keihin–Tōhoku Line. Northbound services mostly terminate at Utsunomiya or Koganei, with some at Koga. Southbound trains mostly travel through the Shōnan–Shinjuku Line to Zushi on the Yokosuka Line, or the Ueno–Tokyo Line to Atami on the Tōkaidō Line, with a few trains terminating at Ueno.

The fastest service on the line, the rapid Rabbit, makes the run between Ueno and Utsunomiya in 1 hour and 26 minutes.

Service on the line is generally divided at Utsunomiya, though the number of through trains had been increasing steadily over the years. South of Utsunomiya, 10- and 15-car E231-1000/E233-3000 series four-door suburban commuter EMUs with Green cars attached service the line, while to the north service was provided chiefly by 4-car 205-600 series four-door EMUs. Starting 12 March 2022, all services north of Utsunomiya until Kuroiso use E131-600/-680 series EMUs, and through services using suburban 10/15-car trains ceased to operate.

Limited express

Limited express services use the line, including:

Local/rapid services

Rapid Rabbit

Since March 2015, Rapid Rabbit services now run from Kōzu on the Tōkaidō Line, through the Ueno–Tokyo Line, to Utsunomiya. This service stops at every station on the Tōkaidō Line, and skips some stations on the Utsunomiya Line. Rabbit trains were first operated by the Japanese National Railways as an hourly/half-hourly rapid service. From October 2004, Rabbit services ran only twice during the morning; on weekends, they replaced the weekday commuter rapid service. From March 2021, the commuter rapid service was consolidated into the rapid Rabbit service, which now operate two trains one-way from the Tōkaidō Line (one from Odawara and one from Kōzu) to Utsunomiya in the morning, and between three and five trains each way between Ueno and Utsunomiya in the evening.[1]

Local

Local trains run four times hourly; one of those terminates at Koganei, while the rest terminate at Utsunomiya. During the morning peak, Tokyo-bound trains run at intervals of 4–6 minutes. Services are provided by E231/E233 series 10- or 15-car EMUs. Most trains continue south to the Tōkaidō Line through the Ueno–Tokyo Line, while some trains stop at Ueno.

Shōnan–Shinjuku Line services

See also: Shōnan–Shinjuku Line

Within the Utsunomiya Line, Shōnan–Shinjuku Line rapid and local trains are each operated once per hour. They do not stop at Saitama-Shintoshin Station since it has no platforms available. They operate between Zushi on the Yokosuka Line and Utsunomiya.

Rapid

Rapid trains operate once hourly, making limited stops. The travel time between Shinjuku and Utsunomiya is about 1 hour and 35 minutes.

Local

Local trains operate once hourly (twice hourly during the morning), stopping at all stations. The travel time between Shinjuku and Ōmiya is about 32 minutes.

Utsunomiya – Kuroiso services

Between Utsunomiya and Kuroiso, local trains stop at every station. Trains operate approximately two times per hour, traveling between Utsunomiya and Kuroiso in approximately 50 minutes. All trains use E131-600/-680 series EMUs.[2]

Past services

Commuter rapid

Commuter rapid services for Utsunomiya made fewer stops than the Rabbit rapid services. They were operated only on weekday evenings, between Ueno and Utsunomiya. Trains departed Ueno between 18:00 and 22:00, and Utsunomiya between 16:00 and 21:00, with approximately one round-trip per hour. All trains were E231/E233 series 10- or 15-car EMUs. This service ended on 12 March 2021.[1]

Rapid Acty

See also: Tōkaidō Main Line

From March 2015, with the Ueno–Tokyo Line opening, Tōkaidō Line Rapid Acty services ran up along the Utsunomiya Line. Services stopped at every station on the Utsunomiya Line, and skipped some stations on the Tōkaidō Line. Since 13 March 2021, Acty services stopped running through to the Utsunomiya Line.[3]

Limited Express

Home Liner Koga

Two trains bound for Koga depart Ueno every weekday evening. Passengers can board only at Ueno; all other stations are for disembarking only. Stops include: Ueno, Urawa, Ōmiya, Higashi-Ōmiya, Hasuda, Kuki, and Koga. Service is provided by 7-car 185 series and 9-car 489 series EMUs.

Station list

Legends:

Station Japanese Distance (km) Local Rapid Rabbit Shōnan–Shinjuku Line Transfers Location
Between
stations
From Tokyo
via Oku via Ōji Local Rapid
Through services from/to: JU Ueno–Tokyo Line
for JT Tōkaidō Line and JT Itō Line
JS Shōnan–Shinjuku Line
(for JO Yokosuka Line)
Tokyo
TYOJU01
東京 - 0.0 Chiyoda Tokyo
Ueno
UENJU02
上野 3.6 3.6 Taitō
Nippori 日暮里 2.2 5.8 Arakawa
Oku
JU03
尾久 2.6 8.4 -   Kita
Akabane
ABNJU04
赤羽 5.0 13.4 13.2
Urawa
URWJU05
浦和 11.0 24.4 24.2 JK Keihin–Tōhoku Line Urawa-ku, Saitama Saitama
Saitama-Shintoshin
JU06
さいたま新都心 4.5 28.9 28.7 JK Keihin–Tōhoku Line Ōmiya-ku, Saitama
Ōmiya
OMYJU07
大宮 1.6 30.5 30.3
End of suburban section
Toro 土呂 3.0 33.5 33.3   Kita-ku, Saitama
Higashi-Ōmiya 東大宮 2.1 35.6 35.4   Minuma-ku, Saitama
Hasuda 蓮田 3.8 39.4 39.2   Hasuda
Shiraoka 白岡 4.3 43.7 43.5   Shiraoka
Shin-Shiraoka 新白岡 2.4 46.1 45.9  
Kuki 久喜 3.0 49.1 48.9 TI Tōbu Isesaki Line Kuki
Higashi-Washinomiya 東鷲宮 2.7 51.8 51.6  
Kurihashi 栗橋 5.6 57.4 57.2 TN Tōbu Nikkō Line
Koga 古河 7.5 64.9 64.7   Koga Ibaraki
Nogi 野木 4.7 69.6 69.4   Nogi, Shimotsuga District Tochigi
Mamada 間々田 3.9 73.5 73.3   Oyama
Oyama 小山 7.3 80.8 80.6
Koganei 小金井 7.5 88.3 88.1   Shimotsuke
Jichi Medical University 自治医大 2.6 90.9 90.7  
Ishibashi 石橋 4.7 95.6 95.4  
Utsunomiya Freight Terminal 宇都宮貨物ターミナル 1.2 96.8 96.6   Kaminokawa, Kawachi District
Suzumenomiya 雀宮 5.2 102.0 101.8   Utsunomiya
Utsunomiya 宇都宮 7.7 109.7 109.5
Okamoto 岡本 6.2 115.9 115.7  
Hōshakuji 宝積寺 5.5 121.4 121.2 Karasuyama Line[* 1] Takanezawa, Shioya District
Ujiie 氏家 5.9 127.3 127.1   Sakura
Kamasusaka 蒲須坂 4.5 131.8 131.6  
Kataoka 片岡 3.9 135.7 135.5   Yaita
Yaita 矢板 6.3 142.0 141.8  
Nozaki 野崎 4.8 146.8 146.6   Ōtawara
Nishi-Nasuno 西那須野 5.2 152.0 151.8   Nasushiobara
Nasushiobara 那須塩原 6.0 158.0 157.8
Kuroiso 黒磯 5.5 163.5 163.3 Tōhoku Main Line (for Shirakawa and Kōriyama)
  1. ^ Some Karasuyama Line trains run through to Utsunomiya.

Rolling stock

Tokyo—Ueno—Utsunomiya

Oyama—Utsunomiya—Kuroiso

Utsunomiya—Hōshakuji (Karasuyama Line through service)

Former rolling stock

Koganei—Utsunomiya—Kuroiso

From March 2013, a fleet of eight refurbished 4-car 205-600 series EMUs was phased in on Utsunomiya Line services between Utsunomiya and Kuroiso, replacing 211 series sets.[4] These operated until 11 March 2022 when they were replaced by new build 3-car E131-600/-680 series EMUs.

History

Main article: Tōhoku Main Line

See also

References

  1. ^ a b "March 2021 Timetable Revision (Ofuna branch)" (PDF). 18 December 2020. Archived (PDF) from the original on 18 December 2020. Retrieved 17 March 2021.
  2. ^ a b "2022年3月ダイヤ改正について(大宮支社)" [March 2022 timetable revision, Omiya Branch] (PDF). 17 December 2021. Archived (PDF) from the original on 17 December 2021. Retrieved 5 January 2022.
  3. ^ "March 2021 Timetable Revision (Yokohama branch)" (PDF). 18 December 2020. Archived (PDF) from the original on 26 December 2020. Retrieved 17 March 2021.
  4. ^ 日光線、宇都宮線に205系リニューアル車投入 [Refurbished 205 series to be introduced on Nikko and Utunomiya Line]. Tetsudo Hobidas (in Japanese). Japan: Neko Publishing Co., Ltd. 27 September 2012. Archived from the original on 13 April 2014. Retrieved 28 September 2012.