Fukuhoku Yutaka-sen    福北豊線 (福北ゆたか線)

Class 813 (no. 116) leaving Keisen in the direction of Sasaguri. (2016)

Nôgata station. The former JR Ita-sen is today part of the third sector operated Heisei Chikuhô Tetsudô. On the right Fukuhoku Yutaka-sen JR class 817 (no. 1009), on the left Heisei Chikuhô Tetsudô no. 406. (2013)

This line is a new fast connection with suburban electric trains, since 2001 linking the industrial region of northern Kyûshû with Kyûshû's capital city Fukuoka via the former coalmining centres of Nôgata and Iizuka and then the pass route via Sasaguri. The Fukuhoku Yutaka-sen is electrified with AC 20 kV / 60 Hz and starts at Kurosaki on the Kagoshima Honsen, passing on to the Chikuhô Honsen after 5, 2 km. It then becomes the successor to the old Chikuhô Honsen, where the frequent modern services make it hard to imagine that once endless heavy coal trains and rather grubby diesel cars characterised the line. At Keisen, after 34, 5 km, the Fukuhoku Yutaka-sen branches away from the Chikuhô Honsen with its sparse services down to Haruda and tackles the steep descent over the Sasaguri-sen (25, 1 km) through the mountains. The tunnel on the way down to Sasaguri (4, 55 km long) was opened in 1968. The continuation from Sasaguri to Yoshizuka (just outside Fukuoka) had already been used for coal trains as from 1904. From Yoshizuka there follows a last short run into Hakata station (1, 8 km) on the Kagoshima Honsen.

The name of the line can only be understood through reference to the characters. Fuku (福) stands for Fukuoka (福岡), hoku (北) stands for Kita Kyûshû / North Kyûshû, which is written 北九州. Finally, yutaka (豊) refers to the old province of Buzen (written 豊前), which is present-day northeast Kyûshû. The character yutaka (豊) by itself carries the meaning "affluent, abundant, fertile, rich".

A Fukuhoku Yutaka-sen train made up of two class 817 sets (in front 817-1103, at the rear a new white class 817) entering Chôjabaru, east of Yoshizuka. (2016)

On the climb up from Sasaguri to the Sasaguri tunnel. (2013)

After emerging from the 5 km long tunnel the train arrives at Kido Nanzôin-mae, where a class 813 train (no.18) is waiting to climb up to Keisen. (2018)

Class 813 (no. 1002) at Kido Nanzôin-mae at the northern entrance to Sasaguri tunnel. (2016)

After branching off from the old Chikuhô Honsen at Keisen, the Fukuhoku Yutaka-sen train heads towards the high mountains which separate this region from the Fukuoka city area. Near Chikuzen Daibu, 2 km before the tunnel mouth and the long descent. (2018)

A class 817 leaving Orio lower level to join the line from Wakamatsu and continue towards Nôgata. (2018)

Coming from Kurosaki, the Fukuhoku Yutaka-sen train descends to the lower level stop at Orio, before continuing from there towards Nôgata. (2018)

A Fukuhoku Yutaka-sen train (class 817, no.2001) arriving at the terminus Kurosaki. (2018)