National / Crime & Legal

Thieves take memorabilia from unstaffed railway stations in Hokkaido

Kyodo

Hokkaido Railway Co. has reported the theft of station name plates and fare tables from unstaffed stations on a stretch of line slated for closure this year.

The 16.7-kilometer route is part of the Rumoi Main Line, which will be shortened as a result of the closure.

The company said Wednesday eight plates bearing the station names in hiragana have been stolen from four stations: Mashike and Shaguma stations in the town of Mashike, and Reuke and Segoshi stations in Rumoi.

The Rumoi Main Line is operated by JR Hokkaido.

“Holiday season is just around the corner, and many visitors from across the country will be disappointed,” said Station Master Toshimichi Ono of Rumoi Station. “We hope whoever is stealing the plates will cease.”

According to JR Hokkaido and other local sources, the 1-meter-long enameled plates were mounted on station buildings and poles on the platforms with steel belts and screws.

Staff at Mashike Station also reported that a fares table screwed to a wall inside had disappeared.

The loss was discovered last October by a Rumoi Station worker patrolling the platform and was reported to a company affiliated to JR Hokkaido that is responsible for the name plates.

The railway operator, together with its subsidiary, confirmed similar incidents at three other stations and filed a damage report to the police. Officers launched an investigation.

They are also investigating the theft of a fare table from Kanehana Station served by the Sekihoku Line in Hokkaido’s Kitami. The station closed on March 25.