Sunday, September 16, 2012

Hokutosei, Another Overnight Sleeper to Hokkaido

Overnight sleeper train, Hokutosei (the Big Dipper) arrives at Hakodate Station
 
Along with Cassiopeia (see my blog on 25th June), I am going to show another overnight sleeper train from Tokyo to Hokkaido Island: "Hokutosei (the Big Dipper)".

Hokutosei is operated from Ueno, a suberb of Tokyo, and Sapporo, the main city of Hokkaido Island, everyday. It was launched in 1988, when Seikan Submarine Tunnel was opened. It covers a distance of 1214.7km in about 16 hours.

The passenger cars are blue colored 24 series, which are composed of A-sleepers (first class), B-sleepers (standard class), a power-supply car and a dining car (see the following picture). A mini-lobby and shower rooms are also supplied. Although the luxury of the interior doesn't come up to that of Cassiopeia, Hokutosei is also very popular among tourists.

I have been thinking for a long time that I would get on this train, but, it has not been realized due to professional commitments and a consequent lack of time. A 16-hour trip is a bit too long for me.
 
Instead, I could take a picture of this popular train arriving at Hakodate, the gateway station of Hokkaido Island. It was an early morning in August, when I visited Hokkaido on vacation. Hokutosei appeared at platform number 8 on time after a long overnight trip from Ueno (see the top photo). It was a 12-car train pulled by an altered current electric locomotive, the type ED79.

I felt that someday I will travel by Hokutosei.
 
Dining car Type SuShi 24 of the carriage 24 series, sleeper train, Hokutosei at Ueno station

More information about Hokutosei:
http://www.jreast.co.jp/e/routemaps/cassiopeia_hokutosei.html
Detailed information about Hokutosei (in Japanese):
http://www.jreast.co.jp/cassiopeia/hokutosei/