National

Sanriku Railway, icon of 3/11 recovery, back to full service after typhoon

JIJI

All sections of Sanriku Railway Co.’s Rias Line in Iwate Prefecture resumed operations Friday, about five months after the regional train line was hit hard by a powerful typhoon.

Last October, Typhoon Hagibis caused damage — including a mudslide that flowed into a tunnel — at 93 locations on the Rias Line, which runs along the Pacific coast of the prefecture. About 70 percent of the line was temporarily out of service. Suspended sections were reopened in stages and the last such section, between Rikuchu-Yamada and Kamaishi stations, resumed operations Friday.

The Sanriku Railway has been a symbol of reconstruction following the March 2011 earthquake and tsunami, which inflicted serious damage to its facilities. The line attracts a number of train enthusiasts.

The railway operator, which is based in the city of Miyako in Iwate Prefecture, had received some ¥40 million in donations following the typhoon as of the end of last month.

The 2011 disaster lead to full closures of the firm’s Kita Rias Line and Minami Rias Line.

After the two lines fully resumed in April 2014, East Japan Railway Co. transferred the section between Miyako and Kamaishi stations on its Yamada Line, which had connected the Kita Rias Line and the Minami Rias Line, to Sanriku Railway. The 163-kilometer Rias Line was launched in March 2019 to integrate the two original Sanriku Railway lines and the Miyako-Kamaishi section.

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