Marumori, Miyagi Pref. – A railway in northeastern Japan resumed operations on all sections on Saturday, about a year after it was stricken by a powerful typhoon.
On Saturday morning, the 15.4-kilometer section between Marumori Station in the town of Marumori, Miyagi Prefecture, and Tomino Station in the city of Date, Fukushima Prefecture, on the Abukuma Express Line was brought back online.
On the section, which was the last on the 54.9-kilometer line to restart services after the disaster, a total of six trains will be operated per weekday and 14 trains daily on Saturdays, Sundays and other holidays for the time being. After more restoration work is conducted, the daily number of train services is expected to return to 35 in total, the level seen before the disaster, in a timetable revision scheduled for March 2021.
Local residents flocked to a ceremony held at Marumori Station on Saturday to mark the reopening. “The railway is an important means of transportation for locals, so I’ve been waiting for this day to come,” Mitsuko Yanome, an 80-year-old living near the station, said. She took a train from the station to travel to Fukushima for sightseeing.
The Abukuma Express Line, connecting Tsukinoki Station in the town of Shibata in Miyagi and Fukushima Station in the city of Fukushima, was hit by landslides triggered by Typhoon Hagibis, which struck Japan in October 2019. Many sections resumed operations by the end of last year, but recovery work had been delayed on the Marumori-Tomino section, where damage was particularly serious.
According to the operator of the Abukuma Express Line, a total of 2.47 million people used the third-sector railway, run jointly by the public and private sectors, in fiscal 2018, which ended in March 2019. The annual passenger traffic between Marumori and Tomino stations is estimated at about 180,000.
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