Originally the Nishikujō – Sakurajima section was not an independent line, but part of the Nishinari Line, which was originally the private Nishinari Railway. A portion of the Nishinari Line became a part of the Osaka Loop Line when it was completed in 1961, with the rest becoming the Sakurajima Line. With the purpose of providing a commuter route for workers in factories along the line as well as for freight, off-peak daytime hours were quiet along the line. This continued until the construction of USJ, which made tourists the main users of the line.
From the end of operations on the Katsuki Line on April 1, 1985 until the beginning of service on the Miyazaki Kūkō Line on July 18, 1996, the Sakurajima Line was the shortest passenger line among the JR Group companies. (Including freight lines, the shortest at the time was the Shinminato Line in Toyama Prefecture.)
Before the move of Sakurajima Station on April 1, 1999, along the Ajikawaguchi to Sakurajima segment there was a movable bridge over the Hokkō Canal. Although there were few instances when the bridge was flooded and service had to be halted, the canal was filled in the 1990s and the bridge has been unused.
When service began at Universal City Station, there were some protests by local residents and business owners to open a new station ("Haruhinode Station") between Nishikujō and Ajikawaguchi stations. However, not enough demand was forecast and plans were shelved.
Read more about this topic: Sakurajima Line
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