Tsunami-hit Senseki Line recovers in Miyagi

Kyodo

A train line in Miyagi Prefecture resumed full services Saturday more than four years after being washed away by the killer tsunami that devastated much of Tohoku’s Pacific coastline.

The JR Senseki Line, which links Sendai and Ishinomaki stations, resumed operations after the tracks in the damaged stretch along Matsushima Bay were relaid on higher ground.

On Saturday morning, residents organized events to commemorate the line’s restoration.

“This is really moving. I had the same feeling I had when water and electricity resumed for the first time after the quake and tsunami” of March 11, 2011, said Katsuhiro Ohashi, 30, as he saw off the first train for Ishinomaki Station early Saturday morning.

Special train cars were designed to commemorate the occasion. They bear manga of “Cyborg 009,” a series drawn by late cartoonist Shotaro Ishinomori, a Miyagi native.

The restoration of the train line, however, is just a single step forward, not the ultimate goal, residents said.

“Vacant lots can be seen here and there in what is supposed to be the city center,” said 77-year-old barber Akira Suzuki, whose shop is near Ishinomaki Station.

“I hope the repaired rail line will boost the town’s reconstruction and bring it back to where it was before the disaster,” he said.