Connect with us

Economy & Tech

JR Kyushu Ready to Restore the Hisatsu Line

After four years, JR Kyushu is set to reconstruct its Hisatsu Line. Working with local governments, the company hopes the line's restoration will boost tourism.



A diesel train crosses the Kuma River No 1 Bridge between Kamase and Setoishi in Yatsushiro City, Kumamoto Prefecture. On March 26, 2010. (© Sankei by Kan Emori)

On March 19, Kyushu Railway Company (JR Kyushu) announced its intention to restore the Hisatsu Line. Operation in certain sections had been suspended since the damage the line sustained from torrential rains in July 2020.

Company officials said the board of directors discussed the matter at its March 19 meeting. A trilateral meeting between the railway company, Kumamoto Prefectural Government, and the national government is scheduled for March 27. The parties are expected to reach a basic agreement on the project at the meeting. 

JR Kyushu had been cautious about restoring the line due to environmental concerns. However, the company has accepted local reconstruction plans. With the Hisatsu Line as its axis, the project aims to promote tourism in the region.

JR Hisatsu Line bridge was damaged by heavy rains in July 2020, with no progress on restoration. July 2023, Kuma Village, Kumamoto Prefecture (©Kyodo)

Local, National Governments Involved

From April, the three parties will examine the design and restoration costs in detail. According to current estimates, the restoration cost is expected to amount to approximately ¥23.5 billion JPY (around $155 million USD). The Kumamoto Prefectural Government and the national government will bear approximately 90% of the cost. Under the arrangement, both the prefecture and local governments along the line will own the tracks and stations. JR Kyushu will be in charge of operations.

The Hisatsu Line, which runs through Kumamoto, Miyazaki, and Kagoshima prefectures, suffered extensive damage in the heavy Kumamoto rains of 2020. Bridge girders washed away, and stations flooded. As a consequence, JR Kyushu suspended operations across 86.8 km of the line. That included the section between Yatsushiro (Kumamoto) and Yoshimatsu (Kagoshima). Before the disaster, the section was operating at a loss.

JR Hisatsu Line tracks were damaged by heavy rain in July 2020. Photo of August 3, 2020 (© Sankei by Takanobu Sawano)


(Read the photo essay in Japanese.)

Author: Kan Emori


Our Partners