For the first four years of its existence, JR West leased its highest-revenue line, the Sanyō Shinkansen, from the separate Shinkansen Holding Corporation. JR West purchased the line in October 1991 at a cost of 974.1 billion JPY (about 7.2 billion USD) in long-term payable debt.
JNRSC sold 68.3% of JR West in an initial public offering on the Tokyo Stock Exchange in October 1996. After JNRSC was dissolved in October 1998, its shares of JR West were transferred to the government-owned Japan Railway Construction Public Corporation (JRCC), which merged into the Japan Railway Construction, Transport and Technology Agency (JRTT) as part of a bureaucratic reform package in October 2003. JRTT offered all of its shares in JR West to the public in an international IPO in 2004, ending the era of government ownership of JR West. JR West is now listed on the Tokyo Stock Exchange, Nagoya Stock Exchange, Osaka Securities Exchange and Fukuoka Stock Exchange.
JR West continues to be burdened by debt sustained by JNR up to 1987, although through refinancing, it has managed to halve its interest payments over the last ten years.
JR West's Urban Network competes with a number of private commuter rail operators around Osaka, the "Big 4" being Hankyū Railway/Hanshin Railway (Hankyu bought Hanshin in 2005), Keihan Railway, Kintetsu, and Nankai Railway. JR West's market share in the region is roughly equal to that of the Big 4 put together, largely due to its comprehensive network and high-speed commuter trains (Special Rapid Service trains on the Kobe and Kyoto lines operate at up to 130 km/h).
Those in italics are announcement names.
A number of other lines account for more than half of JR West's track mileage. These lines primarily handle business and leisure travel between smaller cities and rural areas in western Japan. They account for about 20% of the company's passenger revenues.
JR West subsidiaries include: