Date: 2006 May 27 08:07
Posted by Davie
According to Mainichi Daily News, there is an interesting article about an Hokkaido train based on the anime character 'Doraemon' that wil make its final run this summer, taking passengers to a station nearly 150 meters below sea level.
The train will start running on July 15, and travel from Hakodate Station through the partial undersea Seikan Tunnel to Yoshioka Kaitei Station.
At Yoshioka Kaitei Station, which is located about 17 kilometers from the Hokkaido entrance of the 53.9-kilometer tunnel, an exhibition titled "Nobita no Heya" (Nobita's room), named after a character in the "Doraemon cartoon," will be set up, and events will be staged there.
The year marks the ninth year that trains featuring characters have been operating in the area for the Golden Week series of national holidays and summer vacation.
The service will end in August, as Yoshioka Kaitei Station, located 149.5 meters below the surface of the sea, shuts down to be used as storage space for materials in the construction of the Hokkaido Shinkansen Line for bullet trains. The final train will run on Aug. 27.
The fare between Hakodate and Yoshioka Kaitei stations costs 3,000 yen for adults, including the express charge, and 1,500 yen for children of elementary school age or younger. Tickets will go on sale one month before the service begins.
Special trains, which have so far carried some 70,000 parents and children through the tunnel, have been seen as a "magic pocket" like the one of the Doraemon character, providing good income to their operator, Hokkaido Railway Co. (JR Hokkaido). Company officials say they are thinking of introducing other characters on trains in the future.