Gotôji-sen (JR Kyûshû) 後藤寺線

a Yahata
b Nakama
c Shin Iizuka
d Shimo Kamoo
e Funao
f Shimo Yamada
g Buzen Kawasaki
h Tagawa Gotôji
i Tagawa Ita
j Kanada
k Kawara

Lines today operated by JR Kyûshû

1 Chikuhô Honsen
2 Kagoshima Honsen
3 Nippô Honsen
4 Chikuhô Honsen, Orio-Wakamatsu section
5 Hita Hikosan-sen
6 Gotôji-sen

Lines operated by the Heisei Chikuhô Tetsudou since 1989

Ita-sen (Nôgata – Kanada (j) – Tagawa Ita (i) )
Itoda-sen (Kanada (j) – Tagawa Gotôji (h) )
Tagawa-sen (Tagawa Ita (i) – Yukuhashi)

Lines listed in the passenger timetable of 1971 and now closed

101 Muroki-sen (closed 1985)
102 Katsuki-sen (closed 1985)
103 Soeda-sen (closed 1985)
104 Urushio-sen (Shimo Kamoo (d) – Shimo Yamada (f) ) (closed 1986)
105 Kami Yamada-sen (Iizuka – Shimo Yamada (f) – Buzen Kawasaki (g) (closed 1988)
106 Miyada-sen (closed 1989)

The Gotôji-sen is one of the few remaining secondary lines in northeast Kyûshû still operated by JR Kyûshû. Northeast Kyûshû once had a very large number of secondary and branch lines, serving the communities operating the important limestone quarries and the many coalmines in the area. Some lines were freight-only, but many also had passenger traffic up into the 1980s; those now closed are numbered 101 to 106 in the small map. Today, three secondary lines in the region are worked by the third sector Heisei Chikuhô Tetsudô, which took over operations from JR Kyûshû in 1989.

The diesel operated Gotôji-sen links the town of Iizuka (Shin Iizuka station) with the Tagawa region (Tagawa Gotôji station), where there used to be large coal and limestone supplies. In the west the line runs through a now agricultural area, with a good view of the huge slag heaps of Iizuka. In and around Shimo Kamoo coal and passenger carrying lines used to branch off to the south. The Gotôji-sen then passes through the mountains and the limestone quarries of Funao before reaching Tagawa Gotôji, from where the Hita Hikosan-sen provides a connection both to the north (Jôno and Kokura) and the south (Soeda and the Hikosan mountains). One can also change here to the Itoda-sen of the Heisei Chikuhô Tetsudô in the direction of Kanada and the town of Nôgata. Today, the railways in this part of Kyûshû no longer carry freight.

The lines that were to become the Gotôji-sen opened between 1897 and 1922 in several steps, originally serving the mines and quarries in the region.

Stopping services between Shin Iizuka and Tagawa Gotôji are provided on an hourly basis, with additional trains in the morning and evening; in the morning one non-stop train is run in both directions.

Diesel car KIHA 31 19 entering Shin Iizuka from Tagawa Gotôji. (2013)

After leaving Shin Iizuka the view opens up of the huge slag heaps at Iizuka. (2013)

The first stop after Shin Iizuka is Kami Mio. (2013)

At Shimo Kamoo, now a lonely area. (2013)

Climbing up to the summit tunnel between Chikuzen Shônai and Funao. (2013)

Facing the huge cement works at Funao. (2013)

Entering Tagawa Gotôji. (2013)

Diesel car KIHA 31 no.19 at Tagawa Gotôji, ready to return to Shin Iizuka. (2013)