Venerable Twilight Express to retire next year


It harks back to the golden age of travel as it carries premium passengers four times a week from western Japan to Hokkaido and back.

But after 25 years, the aging Twilight Express sleeper train is set to retire next spring, West Japan Railway Co. announced Wednesday.

The luxury Twilight Express takes 22 hours to travel about 1,500 km — currently the longest service distance for any passenger train in Japan — between Osaka in the west and Sapporo in the north.

The service is jointly operated by JR West and two other JR Group firms.

It offers decorated compartments and a saloon where passengers can sit as they watch spectacular landscapes pass by. The diner serves French cuisine.

At present, the Twilight Express makes four round trips a week. But from the final week of next January through February, its three-train fleet will be in service every day except Sunday, JR West said.

“We’d like to see as many people as possible take the train till the service ends,” a company spokesman said.

  • Are they planning to replace it with a new service? That train is outrageously popular.