＞Hisatsu Line Inheritance
◆Southern Kyushu Rail line
The Rail line opened for business in Kyushu in Meiji 22 (1889), from Hakata to Chitosegawa temporary station on the way to the north shore of the Chikugo River. The rail line was constructed with German technology. SL ran. People were impressed by it.
The Meiji era government decided the Kyushu rail line and people supported the project.
There are many steep place between Yatsushiro and Kagoshima. The rail line was decided in spite of other route options. One option followed the shore line, along the East China Sea, another option followed along mountains, center route, the Kagoshima rail line follows Mt.Kakuto pass through Hitoyoshi.
The route was decided because the other options were easy targets in the event of an attack.
◆Large scale construction for national pride
The section to Yatsushiro where there is much level ground opened for a business in 1896(Meiji 29).
It was laid by the Kyushu railroad company from Uto to Yatsushiro.
The Yatsushiro ? Hitoyoshi -Kagoshima interval is a government controlled railroad by the Meiji government.
Large scale construction for national pride was planned at that time.
However, to overcome 60 tunnels, 90 bridges, a steep grade, first Japanese loop route was constructed including the switchback on Kagoshima line.
As for the construction that should have started in 1897(Meiji 30), postponement occurred successively because of lack of resources, and the construction from the Kagoshima side began in Meiji 32 and the Yatsushiro side began in Meiji 34.
German techniques for construction were not introduced in northern Kyushu. Instead railway technology of the United States was adopted.
We can see evidence on the photographs including bridge series of the Kuma River and the steam locomotive introduced in those days.
◆The opening of business from the south,the opening of business from the north
In 1901(Meiji 34), Kagoshima - Kokubu (Hayato) interval was inaugurated and extended over 36 years. Kareigawa Station and Osumi-Yokogawa Station which keep original appearence opened for a business at this time.
From the Yatsushiro side already in Meiji 39, and Yatsushiro - Sakamoto interval was inaugurated. As for this, the factory transportation of Kyushu paper manufacture Co., Ltd. was the purpose.
In the river line along the fast flowing Kuma River, Yatsushiro - Hitoyoshi interval is the whole line opening to traffic in 1908(Meiji 42).
The station of Sakamoto, Shiroishi, Issyochi and Watari which keep some original features opened for business at the time. The Moji - Hitoyoshi Line was called "Kyushu Line".
◆"Going over Mt. Yatake (Kakuto)" The most difficult place
The Hitoyoshi - Yoshimatsu interval is called by the nickname of "the mountain line".
There is the steep mountain pass that goes over the crater walls of the Kakuto caldera.
The construction was started in 1905(Meiji 38).
The road for the work was opened on the mountain, and material was carried by the power of men and horses.
There was the flood by the tunnel construction, and the construction ran into difficulties, but, in a modern method of construction using a brick and the cut stone, made progress steadily. In November, 1909(Meiji 42), the whole Kagoshima Line was inaugurated by the opening to traffic of the Yatake first tunnel.
The Kyushu railway running through the mainland linking Moji - Kagoshima was completed.
This opening of business was completed of the Japanese railway running through the mainland which linked Aomori - Kagoshima.
◆To Kagoshima Main Line and Hisatsu Line
The Kyushu Line Hitoyoshi Main Line was named Kagoshima Main Line with the whole line opening to traffic. The train combined freight and passengers becoming the artery of Kyushu.
That line encountered much war and natural disaster, but it is commonly said that the railroad line of the Meiji resists a disaster.
It became Kagoshima Main Line in 1927 (Showa 2), the opening to traffic of the shoreline of Yatsushiro - Sendai - Kagoshima in 1927.
The current route came to be called Hisatsu Line.
◆Hisatsu Line Now and in the future
Kyushu Shinkansen was opened in 2004(Heisei 16) in Kyushu Railway Co. which started in 1987. The tourist train was expanded as the railroad inheritance.
The whole line by SL Hitoyoshi service in 2009(Heisei 21) was finished and became a tourist route.