Friday, November 8, 2013

Japan’s sleeper trains to be put to bed soon


Japan’s sleeper trains to be put to bed soon As more and more people have discovered the wonders of air travel and the Shinkansen bullet trains, one casualty of this are Japan’s once-famous sleeper trains. East Japan Railway Co. (JR East), Hokkaido Railway Co. (JR Hokkaido), and West Japan Railway Co. (JR West) have announced they will be retiring the overnight express trains soon.
The Blue Train Akebono line, which runs between the JR Ueno and Aomori stations will reportedly stop operating by March next year when they will be revising the railway timetable. By the end of fiscal year 2014, JR will be putting to bed their last blue train, the Hokutosei, which connects Japan’s capital Tokyo with Sapporo. The Twilight Express, which runs between Osaka and the Hokkaido capital, will also be retiring by the end of fiscal 2015. They will be coinciding the last days of the sleeper train with the launch of the Hokkaido Shinkansen line two years from now.
But for those who still want to be nostalgic over these classic trains, the Hokutosei will occasionally come out of retirement and will be running on special events, like the Bon festival period in August and the New Year’s holidays when trains are usually packed to the brim. The Sunrise Seto and Sunrise Izumo, two of their other overnight trains will still be running for the time being, operating between the JR Tokyo and Takamatsu stations.


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