Kibi-sen 吉備線

Kibitsu Shrine is an impressive historical landmark along the line. On KIHA 40 3004 it is depicted alongside the coach body. (2018)

This line runs through the rural Kibi Plain situated somewhat inland from Okayama. Farmhouses and numerous shrines and temples, as well as ancient burial mounds characterize this peaceful area, the most important landmark being the impressive Kibitsu Jinja (Kibitsu Shrine). The area is also known for the legend of Momotarô, a little boy born out of a peach who becomes a hero fighting with ogres and demons. Several Kibi-sen diesel cars illustrate scenes of the Momotarô legend.

The Kibi-sen is 20, 4 km long and diesel operated. It was originally constructed (in 1904) to link Okayama with the Takahashi River, which flows down from the Niimi area into the Inland Sea west of Kurashiki. The state took over the line in 1944. Freight services ended in 1970. Today, around 30 trains per day and direction operate the Kibi-sen, with a few more during rush hours going only part of the way.

For several years discussions have been going on as to the future of the line. In contrast to the Toyama area in Hokuriku with its LRT (electric Light Rail Transit) a similar plan for the Kibi-sen was blocked as the communities feared high costs to transform the non-electrified line. However, in April 2018 an agreement was reached between Okayama, the town of Sôja and JR West to go ahead with the transformation and link the line to the Okayama tramway network.

KIHA 47 99 on the Kibi-sen in the former livery of diesel trains in the Okayama region. Standing at Okayama station. (2013)

KIHA 40 3004 calling attention to points of interest along the line. Unusually for class 40 diesel cars seating arrangement is lengthwise. Okayama (2018)

Suburban service out of Okayama, with a train at Bizen Mikado. (2013)

Bizen Ichinomiya, 6,5km out of Okayama. (2017)

Kibitsu, with KIHA 47 69 in the station. (2018)

KIHA 40 3005 (illustrating the legend of Momotarô) + KIHA 40 3002 passing through Kibitsu. (2018)

KIHA 40 3005 + 3002 at Kibitsu. (2018)

As night falls, KIHA 47 3001 stands at Kibitsu. (2018)

Bitchû Takamatsu, between Kibitsu and Sôja. (2013)

Bitchû Takamatsu, between Kibitsu and Sôja. (2017)

It is unfortunate that the peaceful landscape of the Kibi Plain suffers a highway cutting right through the scenery. Between Ashimori and Hattori. (2017)

Summer rice paddies seen from the train near Ashimori. (2013)

On a Kibi-sen train near Sôja. (1978)

KIHA 47 3001 + KIHA 47 2002 nearing the endstop Sôja. (2017)

At Sôja junction the Kibi-sen branches off from the Hakubi-sen. KIHA 40 3002 + KIHA 47 47 have arrived at Sôja terminus from Okayama. (2013)