Early Restoration Hoped for Typhoon-Hit Iconic Railway Bridge

Society Lifestyle

Ueda, Nagano Pref., Nov. 14 (Jiji Press)--An iconic red railway bridge in central Japan remains unrepaired about a month after powerful Typhoon Hagibis caused it to partially collapse, continuing to inconvenience locals and others, while calls for its early restoration are growing, and moves to support recovery efforts are seen.

Built in 1924 over the Chikuma River, the bridge on Uedadentetsu Co.'s Bessho Line in the city of Ueda, Nagano Prefecture, is much loved by local residents and railway enthusiasts. It is part of the section between Ueda Station, which is one of the two terminals of the 11.6-kilometer line and connects to the Hokuriku Shinkansen Line, and Shiroshita Station.

On the morning of Oct. 13, the river swelled due to torrential rain from the 19th typhoon of the year, leading an abutment at one end of the 224-meter bridge to collapse along with the part of the levee around the structure, and subsequently, a 44-meter portion of the bridge fell.

Two days later, the railway operator restarted services between Bessho Onsen Station, the other terminal, and Shimonogo Station, while offering bus services for travel between Shimonogo and Ueda stations. On Saturday, Uedadentetsu is slated to put the Shimonogo-Shiroshita section back online, but it has no idea when the Ueda-Shiroshita section, which covers 800 meters, will be reopened.

"My house is near the bridge, and I've used the railway when going to and from school. So when I heard that the bridge collapsed, I couldn't believe it. I was shocked," said 18-year-old Seina Murakami, a first-grader at Ueda Women's Junior College, located near a Bessho Line station. Murakami now commutes between her home and the college by car, but sometimes gets stuck in traffic jams. "Trains arrive on time and allow quick travel. I really want the bridge to be restored," she said.

[Copyright The Jiji Press, Ltd.]

Jiji Press