JR Kyushu looks to woo women with Sweets Train

Kyodo

JR Kyushu plans to introduce a Sweets Train service on the Omura Line in Nagasaki Prefecture and Kyudai Main Line connecting Fukuoka and Oita prefectures, targeting mainly female riders with local confectionery, officials said.

The service, to debut in 2015, will be the first of its kind to be offered by JR Kyushu on more than one line, they said Monday.

Besides locally made confectionery products and desserts, the train will offer selected quality teas and coffees, customized for each line.

Although the specific route has yet to be determined, the carrier said the train service using Kyushu Railway Co.’s Kyudai Main Line will be run between stations located within Oita Prefecture.

The Omura Line will allow passengers to view the coast of Omura Bay, which is located in central Nagasaki Prefecture. Meanwhile, passengers aboard cruise trains operating on the Kyudai Main Line will have scenery, including Mount Yufudake.

The company plans to launch the service using existing train cars, which will be redesigned by Eiji Mitooka, who was involved in the launch of the Seven Stars in Kyushu, a luxury sleeper cruise train that has been in operation since last autumn.

The cost of tickets for the trips has not yet been determined.

Such train services, used mainly by tourists, are currently popular.

For example, JR Kyushu operates a total of nine similar trains, including A-ressha de Iko (Take the A-train).

The limited express running in Kumamoto Prefecture features a lounge with a bar.

The company decided to introduce the Sweets Train service following multiple requests from local governments, and it hopes the concept will help boost the number of visitors coming to the area.

“With the success of the A-train service, we can be sure that railroad food service will gain popularity,” said one JR Kyushu official. “We believe that customers will return to enjoy different views and a variety of sweets on board. I also think that we could use at least one more line for this service.”