The Fuji Kyuko company which operates the Fujikyuko Railway in Yamanashi Prefecture has announced that it is splitting its railway division off into a separate company this month. To mark the railway’s newfound independence, the railway will also be renamed Fuji Electric Railway (富士山麓電気鉄道- Fuji Sanroku Denki Tetsudo) a historic name it last held 61 years ago.
The Fujikyuko Line connects Otsuki Station in Otsuki City and Kawaguchiko Station in the town of Fujikawaguchiko. It is the only railway service to access the northern Yamanashi side of Mount Fuji and the Fuji Five Lakes area, and it is renowned for the scenic views along its route. However, in recent years fast and convenient highway bus services from Tokyo have proven more popular with tourists and the global pandemic has also exacerbated a local economic decline. By splitting the railway off into a separate company, Fuji Kyuko believes it will be better able to respond to local conditions.
The Fujikyuko Line has a long history in the area and can trace its roots back to the Tsuru Horse-drawn Tramway which opened in 1900 and the Fuji Horse-drawn Tramway which opened in 1903. These two companies merged in 1921 when the lines were electrified, and the new company was named Fuji Electric Railway in 1929.
Fuji Kyuko which has operated the railway as Fujikyuko Railway since 1960 also operates a variety of transport and tourism related businesses in Yamanashi which notably includes Fuji-Q Highland: an amusement park located at the base of Mount Fuji. The new Fuji Electric Railway, established this month, will be a wholly owned-subsidiary company of Fuji Kyuko. Restoring the railway’s historic name is symbolic of the line’s hoped-for revival.
Article by Michael Lambe. Photos courtesy of Fuji Electric Railway. All rights reserved.