Steam Locomotive Goes into Service in Kinugawa Area (News)
Nikkō, Tochigi Pref., Aug. 10 (Jiji Press)—A much-awaited steam locomotive went into service on Tobu Railway Co.'s Kinugawa Line in the city of Nikkō, Tochigi Prefecture, eastern Japan, on Thursday.
The Taiju train, pulled by the C11 207 locomotive, travels between Shimo-imaichi Station and Kinugawa-onsen Station, with three round-trip services offered a day on the 12.4-kilometer section. A one-way trip takes 35 minutes.
It is the first time in 58 years for a steam locomotive to run in the Kinugawa area, which is a major tourist destination featuring the Kinugawa Onsen hot spring resort and scenic spots around the Kinugawa River. The first Taiju train left Shimo-imaichi around 12:20 p.m. (3:20 a.m. GMT).
At a ceremony at Shimo-imaichi, Tōbu Railway President Nezu Yoshizumi said, "It's our duty to meet the expectations of railway operators that supported us for the steam locomotive revival." Among these railway firms are Hokkaidō Railway Co., or JR Hokkaidō, and East Japan Railway Co. , or JR East.
Postdisaster reconstruction minister Yoshino Masayoshi told the ceremony, "I expect the steam locomotive will increase the attractions of Nikkō and tourist spots in the Tōhoku northeastern Japan region," which was damaged by the March 2011 earthquake and tsunami.