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International Railroad Discussion > Commuter Station in Japan.

Date: 07/22/23 15:54
Commuter Station in Japan.
Author: DKay

I just saw this on a non railroad related site.Was just wondering if there is any truth to this. 
Hiroshi,  you got any ideas??

Date: 07/24/23 08:27
Re: Commuter Station in Japan.
Author: Hiroshi

"Kyu-Shitakaki" is the name of the station at Kilo-post 88.3.
It was built in 1947, after 69 years; on the 25th of March, 2016, the last Sekihoku line train left the station for good.
She was commuting to the high school near Engaru Station at Kilo-post 120.8.
At that time there was just one-morning train to Engaru, but three trains from Engaru to back home.

I hope this helps.



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 07/24/23 08:49 by Hiroshi.

Date: 07/24/23 18:17
Re: Commuter Station in Japan.
Author: cchan006

DKay Wrote:
> I just saw this on a non railroad related site.Was
> just wondering if there is any truth to this. 
> Hiroshi,  you got any ideas??
> Regards,DK

Here's a wikipedia entry that mentions the story, if you haven't found it already based on Hiroshi-san's info:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kyū-Shirataki_Station (in English)

What's in the wiki jives with Japanese (not Korean or Chinese) version of the story I saw few years ago. There's some truth to it, but the social media viral version might have been embellished a little.

However, citizens dictating the railroad how to operate the trains is not new in Japan. Best example is how the Chuo Line Rapid trains in Suginami Ward in Tokyo make local stops on weekdays (demanded by the citizens), while limited stops on weekends (what the railroad wanted for everyday operation). Hopefully, I have the appropriate railfan report in the future to elaborate on this story.

Date: 07/24/23 18:38
Re: Commuter Station in Japan.
Author: dan

saw that on facebook, how cool is that, even thou it was years ago

send it to amtrak mgmt

another neat thing in japan i sa on face book is fans clean up the stadiums after events


Date: 07/26/23 13:07
Re: Commuter Station in Japan.
Author: cchan006

dan Wrote:
> send it to amtrak mgmt

But for a different reason that you might be suggesting.

Hokkaido, the northernmost of the 4 main islands is the extreme example of Japan's population problem. Even before 1987, when government-run JNR (Japan National Railway) got split into 7 privatized JR groups, JNR was struggling with operating deficits in various areas, and many rail lines in Hokkaido were being propped up with operating profits from elsewhere.

Of the ~80 lines abolished since 1955, more than 1/3 (about 37%) were from Hokkaido. Most were abandoned in the 1980s before 1987, and some were abandoned in the privatized JR era, 3 recently from 2014-2019.

One Japanese article I saw (TV documentary) referred to this "heart-warming" story in a population context, that the kids of the aging rural population have all moved out, and younger families were not living in the area. So the girl being the "last passenger" was symbolic of Japan's population problem.

JNR in financial desperation to prop up the "deficit lines (赤字路線) or lines operating in the red" invented joyful trains. The idea was to modify older equipment for experiential travel, often with luxurious amenities. The idea took off in the mid-1980s, and continues to this day, and the JR Groups make plenty of money operating the joyful trains, often running charters on low ridership lines for "rare mileage."

Also in some areas where new highway/bridge construction would change train ridership to buses/automobiles (usually permanently), Japanese railroads (JR Group and others) know when to give up so they don't get trapped in the sunk cost fallacy. So even outside Hokkaido, there are occasional line abandonments and schedule reductions, as close as ~30 miles from Tokyo! Yup, they know geography and land use can make some "corridors" futile.

So instead of pushing for "corridors" blindly that won't grow because the automobile already won, why not promote joyful trains.... wait don't Amtrak already have LD trains? And older equipment that can be modified/refurbished?

There's much more to discuss beyond superficial posts on social media. :-)

Date: 08/13/23 08:50
Re: Commuter Station in Japan.
Author: atsf121

The “graying” of Japan and their demographic changes has been interesting to read about. Long term implications for their economy, social program for retirees, among other issues. And things like this “last train” will continue to occur.

China is quickly approaching the same situation, much faster than anyone had predicted.


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