• Kyodo News

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The so-called “blue train” sleeper expresses linking Kyushu and Tokyo made their last run Saturday morning as the final train reached Tokyo Station and was greeted by thousands of cheering fans.

The blue trains had taken travelers between Tokyo and Kyushu for more than half a century until the emergence of faster, more convenient transportation, including bullet trains, express buses and airplanes, foreclosed on their decades-long history.

Thousands of train enthusiasts and spectators cheered as the Fuji and Hayabusa express trains left Tokyo, Oita and Kumamoto stations on Friday evening.

“I wanted to take a ride for a long time but didn’t have a chance. I was really happy to ride one for the first time,” said Osamu Matsunaga, 58, of Kagoshima Prefecture.

“I wish that train wouldn’t go out of service,” he said after deboarding at Tokyo Station.

The cars arrived in Tokyo 1 1/2 hours behind schedule after an accident and strong winds marred the final run.

The Hayabusa started service in 1958, while the Fuji came into service in 1964.

The blue trains were popular for their overnight services, which gave travelers a comfortable way to get from city to the countryside on the rolling symbols of progress. But passengers numbers had declined recently.

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