Part of JR Hokkaido Line Scrapped Earlier amid Pandemic

Economy

Shintotsukawa, Hokkaido, April 17 (Jiji Press)--Hokkaido Railway Co., or JR Hokkaido, scrapped part of one of its nonperforming lines on Friday, moving up the schedule by nearly three weeks amid the novel coronavirus pandemic.

On the day, train operations ended permanently on the 47.6-kilometer section between Hokkaido-Iryodaigaku and Shin-Totsukawa stations of the Sassho Line in the northernmost Japan prefecture of Hokkaido, drawing a curtain on the section's 85-year service history.

JR Hokkaido initially planned to operate the last train on the section on May 6, the final day of the Golden Week holiday period, but brought up the schedule to April 24 to prevent the spread of the coronavirus.

The final service day was moved further forward, to Friday, after the Japanese government on Thursday expanded its state of emergency declaration to cover all 47 prefectures of the nation. The declaration, issued on April 7, initially covered Tokyo and six other prefectures--Chiba, Saitama, Kanagawa, Osaka, Hyogo and Fukuoka.

JR Hokkaido also decided to cancel a "last run" event, scheduled for April 27, when a train carrying local residents and others was to run on the section.

[Copyright The Jiji Press, Ltd.]

Jiji Press