Saturday, 13 June 2015

Inauguration of the Senseki-Tohoku Line

Diesel hybrid vehicle, JR East HB-E210 series arrives at Sendai Station on the Senseki-Tohoku Line
The long wished-for day has come in Tohoku District. The whole route of the JR East Senseki Line was eventually restored on May 30th.

The Senseki Line was paralyzed due to the 3.11 tsunami disaster following the giant earthquake in 2011. Most of the route resumed operation just after the quake; however, the section between Takagimachi and Rikuzen-Ono (10.5km) had been closed for a long time, because the new track had to be constructed on a hill to ward off danger of a future tsunami.

In parallel with the repair-works, JR East had been constructing a new connecting line (0.3km) between the Senseki and the Tohoku Main lines in the Matsushima area. This new track (the Senseki-Tohoku Line) was also opened on May 30th. What is the merit of the Senseki-Tohoku Line? It becomes a short cut route between two major cities in Miyagi Prefecture, namely Sendai and Ishinomaki. Before the 3.11 disaster, the Senseki Line was the main route between the two major cities, but it took more than one hour, because the route was full of turns and twists. The new short-cut route saves more than 10 minutes for flying passengers.

In time for the inauguration of the Senseki-Tohoku Line, JR East has launched new diesel hybrid vehicle, HB-E210 series. It is a 2-car train with diesels, lithium-ion batteries and induction motors. Its specification is similar to that of the KiHa E200 series on the Koumi Line, but the HB-E210 series has 6 doors per one car, as it is a commuter train.
Posters of the Senseki-Tohoku Line are put up in Sendai Station
More information about the Senseki-Tohoku Line (in Japanese):