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Monday, December 19, 2016

Earthquake-Hit Joban Line Section Reopens

JR常磐線・相馬―浜吉田間運行再開

The Joban Line is a Japan Rail East railway that runs about 350 km from Tokyo through four prefectures: Chiba, Ibaraki, Fukushima and Miyagi up the east coast of Honshu to Sendai. Train services on the Joban Line were disrupted at several points by the 2011 Great East Japan Earthquake. Station closures caused by the earthquake and tsunami damage meant that some sections were served by connecting buses instead of trains.

Shinchi, Sakamoto, and Yamashita Stations reopen on the Joban Line.
Map of the Joban Line stations that reopened after relocation this month.
Now, five years and nine months after the disaster, train services have been restored to the 14.6 km section of the Joban Line that crosses from Fukushima prefecture into Miyagi prefecture just north of it: between Shinchi Station in Fukushima and Hamayoshida Station in Miyagi prefecture. Between the above two stations are Sakamoto and Yamashita stations. Since 2011, buses had been running between Shinchi and Hamayoshida stations as a transport alternative.

The work of reopening involved changing the route of the line and relocating the stations. Shinchi Station is now 20 meters south of its original location; Sakamoto Station and Yamashita Station, the next stations north, are about 1 km further inland from their original locations; Hamayoshida Station, next north, remains in its original location, which is where the replacement section of the Joban Line joins the original.

The diagram at top shows the old and new line and stations. (The diagram is an adapatation of that posted on the Kajima Construction website, Kajima having been responsible for the reconstruction of the section around Sakamoto Station.)

The new section of line opened on December 10. Over one-third of the new track is now elevated.

This reopening of a section of the Joban Line is a testament to Japan's dedication to good infrastructure, and its readiness to invest in rural areas.

Read more about the Joban Line.


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