MITO — The Mito branch of East Japan Railway Co. (JR East) will hold special events on March 26 and 27 to commemorate the first anniversary of the full recovery of the Suigun Line, which was damaged by Typhoon Hagibis last fall was from 2019.
The commemorative events, held at four locations around Hitachi-Daigo Station in Daigo City, Ibaraki Prefecture, include an exhibition of photos taken along the Suigun Line connecting the prefectural city of Mito with the prefectural city of Koriyama in the Fukushima Prefecture connects, as well as guided tours of the railway line maintenance facility for a limited number of people. A market will also be set up selling local specialties and original meals in bento boxes.
Tour participants can see the nameplates of successive trains on the route, a simulator for crew training, and a train maintenance facility not normally open to the public. Tours run twice daily, and each tour accepts up to 30 people — middle school students and older — and comes with a bento. The entry fee is 12,000 yen (about $105). Those wishing to join must apply through the Mito branch website, which will be launched on March 7th. Reservations are accepted on a first come, first serve basis.
JR East also plans to start operating a “Yellow Happy Train” on March 28. Of 39 cars on the Suigun line, only one will be clad in yellow after passengers waved yellow flags in celebration of the line’s full reopening a year ago. The Happy Train is scheduled to run on the route by the end of the 2024 financial year.
(Japanese original by Kyoka Kobayashi, Mito Bureau)