Train Operations End on Yubari Branch Line in Hokkaido


Yubari, Hokkaido, March 31 (Jiji Press)--Hokkaido Railway Co., or JR Hokkaido, shut down the Yubari branch line of the Sekisho Line on Sunday, the last day of fiscal 2018, bringing the curtain down on its history of more than 120 years.

Local residents watched the operation of the last train by waving yellow handkerchiefs. The city of Yubari provided a setting for the 1977 movie "Shiawase no Kiiroi Hankachi" (the yellow handkerchief).

In a farewell ceremony at Yubari Station, JR Hokkaido President Osamu Shimada said the Yubari branch line has supported the lives of Yubari residents. "Thank you very much (for supporting the line) for 126 years."

"It's sad to lose trains that have run at set times. I'll miss the train honks," said a woman, 68, who lives near the line and works as a cleaner at a hotel in front of the station.

A woman in her 60s, with a yellow handkerchief in hand, greeted the arrival of the last train at Shin-Yubari Station. "I used trains (on the line) for six years to go to junior high and high schools. We cannot go against the times, but it's painful," she said.

[Copyright The Jiji Press, Ltd.]

Jiji Press