The Red List of Trains in Japan

JNR KiHa 32 series

Data (as of 6 Jul 2024)

Status:  Vulnerable 
Constructed in: 1987, 1997, 2003
Number built: 23
Registered: 23


The KiHa 32 series is a type of suburban diesel train for the island of Shikoku. In the mid-1980s, it was obvious that the new company in Shikoku would suffer from lack of funding so that Japanese National Railways introduced the series just before the privatisation, to replace KiHa 20 series.

Since JNR had been suffering from huge deficit, the KiHa 32 series looks cheap. In fact, many bus components like doors were used to build it. As the series was designed for rural lines, it is double-ended and each carriage is only 16 metres (52.5 ft) long, 20% shorter than ordinary JNR/JR trains. 21 carriages in total were initially allocated to Kochi, Matsuyama and Tokushima depots, and JR Shikoku suceeded all of them. Those in Tokushima were reallocated to the other two areas by 1990.

In 1997 and 2003, JR Shikoku introduced two more carriages to rail tours (open-deck sightseeing trains). They have no engine so that they are always hauled or pushed by other diesel trains, mostly KiHa 185 series.

Current Operations & Future Prospects

The KiHa 32 series trains are used for stopping services in Ehime and Kochi Prefectures, such as Uchiko, Yodo and Yosan Lines. Two of them were converted to sightseeing trains called Kaiyodo Hobby Train and Tetsudo Hobby Train, respectively, and run Yodo Line. Furthermore, two open-deck carriages are used for sightseeing trains on Saturdays, Sundays and holidays in many parts of Shikoku: as of March 2022, they run Tokushima Line (Ai Yoshinogawa Trolley train) and between Okayama and Takamatsu or Kotohira.

JR Shikoku is going to introduce new diesel trains in around 2025, and the KiHa 32 series is likely to be affected.

(Updated: 6 Jul 2024)

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