8 Years On: Train Driver Awaits Revival of Tsunami-Damaged Line


Miyako, Iwate Pref., March 11 (Jiji Press)--A 58-year-old train driver is keenly awaiting the reopening of a section of railway line later this month, some eight years after services were suspended due to severe damage from the huge tsunami triggered by the 9.0-magnitude earthquake that struck the Tohoku region of northeastern Japan.

Operations of the section between Miyako and Kamaishi stations on the Yamada Line of East Japan Railway Co. <9020>, or JR East, are set to be transferred to Sanriku Railway Co., a public-private, or third-sector, company based in the city of Miyako, Iwate Prefecture.

The 55.4-kilometer section will be linked to Sanriku Railway's existing Kita-Riasu and Minami-Riasu lines at its northern and southern ends, respectively, forming a 163-kilometer single railway line.

The integrated line in Iwate, to be called "the Riasu Line" and the longest third-sector railway line in Japan, is set to start full-fledged services on March 24, after a train to celebrate the reopening runs between Miyako and Kamaishi on March 23.

Hiroshi Itazawa, who was a Yamada Line train driver before the March 11, 2011, quake and tsunami and now works at Sanriku Railway on loan from JR East, continues to carry out test operations of trains on the integrated line.

[Copyright The Jiji Press, Ltd.]

Jiji Press