Japan's Only Surviving Coal Railroad to End Operations in March


Kushiro, Hokkaido, March 11 (Jiji Press)--The only existing coal-carrying railroad in Japan will cease operations at the end of March, ending its 94-year mission to support industrial development in the country.

The dedicated railroad, currently operated by Taiheiyo Coal Services & Transportation Co., connects a loading point in the city of Kushiro in Hokkaido and a storage yard at a pier in the same city.

Many railroads were established to transport coal, mainly in Hokkaido and Kyushu, the northernmost and southwestern part of the country, where there were abundant coal deposits.

But all have already been scrapped except Taiheiyo Coal line, nicknamed "Rinko-sen," meaning harbor line, reflecting the domestic coal industry's decline due to a surge in cheap imports and a shift in the government's energy policy.

On the 4-kilometer-long Rinko-sen, coal trains have been running since 1925. During the peak production period of Taiheiyo coal mine, a diesel locomotive hauled hopper cars carrying a total of 720 tons of coal from the loading point six times a day.

[Copyright The Jiji Press, Ltd.]

Jiji Press