Chikuhô area close-up 筑豊地区

Chikuhô stands for a (geographical) basin in the north east of Fukuoka Prefecture, noted especially for its cement industry and coal fields, together with their slag-heaps (botayama). The area covers the eastern part of the old province of Chikuzen and the western part of the old province of Buzen. Important settlements in the old Chikuzen area include Kita Kyûshû City, Nakama, Nôgata, and Iizuka. Important settlements in the old Buzen area include Kokura, Moji, Soeda, Kawara, Tagawa and Yukuhashi. Chikuzen is written 筑前、Buzen is written 豊前, the two first characters together giving the name 筑豊, pronounced "Chikuhô".

1  Chikuhô Honsen 筑豊本線 (Chikuhô Main Line). Originally Wakamatsu 若松 -  Orio 折尾 - Nôgata 直方 -  Iizuka 飯塚 -  Keisen 桂川 -  Haruda 原田. Now (2023) the section Wakamatsu - Orio can be considered a separate operation, with battery-electric trains running Nôgata - Orio - Wakamatsu. The section Keisen - Haruda (line no.3) at the south-western end is worked as a rural line with only few services. The central section Nôgata - Iizuka - Keisen today forms part of the Fukuhoku Yutaka-sen 福北ゆたか線 from Fukuoka (Hakata 博多station)  via Chôjabaru 長者原 - Sasaguri 笹栗 - Keisen - Iizuka - Nôgata - Orio and the Kagoshima Honsen as far as Kurosaki 黒崎. The Fukuhoku Yutaka-sen was established October 6, 2001.

2  shows the Sasaguri-sen 篠栗線, which has been an element of the Fukuhoku Yutaka-sen since October 6, 2001.

Gotôji-sen 後藤寺線, Shin Iizuka 新飯塚 - Shimo Kamoo 下鴨生 - Funao 船尾 - Tagawa Gotôji 田川後藤寺. A freight branch from Kami Mio 上三緒 to Chikuzen Yamano 筑前山野 was closed in 1964.

Hita Hikosan-sen 日田彦山線: The northern section runs from Jôno 城野 (trains starting at Kokura 小倉) via Yobuno 呼野 - Kawara 香春 - Tagawa Ita 田川伊田 - Tagawa Gotôji 田川後藤寺 - Buzen Kawasaki 豊前川崎 - to Soeda 添田. This section is still in operation, but trains can no longer continue onto the southern section via Buzen Masuda 豊前桝田 to Hikosan 彦山 and through Shakagatake 釈迦岳トンネル tunnel to Chikuzen Iwaya 筑前岩屋 and Yoake 夜明 (continuing over the Kyûdai Honsen to Hita 日田). The section beyond Soeda was completely destroyed on July 5, 2017 by a violent storm and flooding. On August 8, 2023 the full reopening of the southern section in the form of a rapid bus route (BRT, Bus Rapid Transport) is planned. This includes Shakagatake tunnel, which has become a road tunnel.

6  The Nippô Honsen 日豊本線 down the east coast of Kyûshû.

The Heisei Chikuhô Railway 平成筑豊鉄道 with its main line from Nôgata via Kanada 金田 - Tagawa Ita - Aka - Yusubaru 柚須原- Sakiyama 崎山 - Saigawa 犀川 - to Yukuhashi 行橋. A branch line connects Tagawa Gotôji with Kanada.

The Heisei Chikuhô Railway's western section was the State Railway's (then JR Kyûshû's) Ita-sen 伊田線 until 1989, running from Nôgata to Tagawa Ita. Several freight lines branched off, the last three of which closed down in 1964, 1971, and 1978. The eastern section was the State Railway's (then JR Kyûshû's) Tagawa-sen 田川線 until 1989, running from Tagawa Ita to Yukuhashi. There was a freight branch in the Kawara area which closed in 1973. The Heisei Chikuhô's branch from Kanada to Tagawa Gotôji was the State Railway's (then JR Kyûshû's) Itoda-sen 糸田線 until 1989.

8  The Soeda-sen 添田線, running from Soeda northwards directly to Kawara, without serving Tagawa Gotôji and Tagawa Ita. The line closed in 1985.

9 The Kami Yamada-sen 上山田線, running from Iizuka via Ôkuma 大隈, Kami Yamada to Buzen Kawasaki. The line closed in 1988.

10  The Urushio-sen 漆生線, running from Shimo Kamoo 下鴨生 to Shimo Yamada 下山田. The line closed in 1986.

11  The Kôbukuro-sen 幸袋線, running from Kotake 小竹 on the Chikuhô Honsen to Futase 二瀬. The line closed in 1969. Two freight-only branches survived until 1965 and 1969.

12  The Miyada-sen 宮田線, running from Katsuno 勝野 on the Chikuhô Honsen to Chikuzen Miyada 筑前宮田. The line closed in 1989. The freight-only branch southward to Sugamuta 菅牟田 closed in 1977.

The Yusubaru-sen 柚須原線 is a line that was practically completed in mid-1960s as a continuation of the Kami Yamada-sen from Buzen Kawasaki 豊前川崎 via Ôtô 大任 on the Soeda-sen, the Nobarugoshi Tunnel 野原越トンネル and the village of Aka to Yusubaru on the then JNR Tagawa-sen. Its purpose was to take heavy coal trains from the Chikuhô coal fields to the east Kyûshû ports. However, the line was never opened to traffic. In 1995 an event was staged using rail bicycles. Then the tunnel was used for a fresh-water pipeline, which meant that restoration as a full railway would no longer be possible. Happily, then, a 610 mm gauge line for a small tourist train (torokko - "truck", open-sided tourist wagon) could be constructed, and this now runs on certain days for 3,6 km from Aka 赤 village into the Nobarugoshi tunnel. The tourist line is known as the Aka-mura Torokku Yusubaru-sen 赤村トロック柚須原線。