Sanriku Railway: Back from the Brink *RERUN
The Sanriku Railway in Iwate Prefecture is a lifeline, playing an important role in the local community. The train goes up and down the line, and the arrival of the train is part of the rhythm of life. In March 2011, the railway was completely destroyed by the tsunami that followed the Great East Japan Earthquake. The road to recovery was a difficult one, and at one point, there was even talk of abolishing the line. The railway is now back on track, having finally resumed full service. We look back on the slow but steady restoration of the Sanriku Railway, over a period of 3 years.
The railway is finally returning to Shimanokoshi. In a hall in the temporary housing, local women make flags to thank the people of Kuwait for funding the new trains. "When the railway opens, we're all going to wave these." All 71km of the North Rias Line reopened on April 6, 2014.
The disaster crippled the Sanriku Railway in numerous places. The railway's employees were deeply shocked by what happened. The line was forced to close, but all the employees began working hard to restore it. Drivers on the South Rias Line received encouragement from numerous letters from passengers who used to ride the line. "I am really happy to hear that work is starting on the Rias Line. Next summer, I want to come and visit even if the line isn't ready." The letter is from a small child.
The disaster put a stop to the local sea urchin fishing. After the tsunami, local fishermen decided that they would not restart fishing until everyone had managed to replace their boats. Sea urchin fishing began again on June 5, 2013. The boats all headed out together at 5 o'clock in the morning. The riches of the sea, harvested for the first time in 3 years, tell us that summer has come to Sanriku.