Railway in Hyogo unveils biodiesel-fueled train


Japan’s first train to run on biodiesel fuel, in this case refined edible oil, has taken to the tracks in Hyogo Prefecture.

Hojo Railway Co., a third-sector entity financed by the city of Kasai and other organizations, started the environmentally friendly train service Saturday to attract tourists and help alleviate the company’s deficit.

In the year to March, Kasai refined used edible oil collected from homes and restaurants into about 74,000 liters of biodiesel. Hojo Railway said biodiesel costs more than tax-free kerosene for trains due to its refining expenses, but the mileage and power output are comparable.

Kasai also uses biodiesel in official vehicles.

The train will be operated on weekends, the company said.

To coincide with the launch of the train, two baby monkeys began serving as “stationmasters” at Hojomachi Station. The monkeys are named after tourist spots. Nehime is a female born in March, and Rakan, a male, was born in July.