Saturday, May 13, 2017

Late Spring on the Yamada Line

Diesel rail-car JR East KiHa 110 series travels on the Yamada Line in Morioka City

The "front line" of the Sakura (cherry blossoms) is going up north. After enjoying the 2017 Sakura season in Tokyo, I headed to the Tohoku District at the weekend to enjoy Sakura again with my family. Our destination was Morioka City in Iwate Prefecture, about 540 km north of Tokyo. Our friend lives there.

One of the Sakura viewing spots, to which our fiend took us, was Yonai Water Purifying Plant in the eastern part of Morioka City. It was a famous spot among the local people. In this season, more than 30 weeping-cherry trees bloom there and the plant site has a special opening for the public. We saw many visitors admiring the light pink-colored blossoms. It was a late coming of spring in the northern country.

The Yonai Water Purifying Plant is located in front of Kami-Yonai Station on the JR East Yamada Line. Currently, trains on the Yamada Line are operated only between Morioka and Kami-Yonai stations (9.9 km) in the western section. In other words, the section between Kami-Yonai and Kawauchi (51.6 km) has been interrupted by large-scale landslides since August 8th, 2016. The diesel rail-car, KiHa 110 series, is the sole model on the line. It is operated as a single car only once every two hours on average during the daytime. The track of the Yamada Line is single and un-electrified.

JR East continues to strive towards achieving post-disaster recovery. I hope the train operations are back to normal as soon as possible.

Full-blown weeping-cherry trees near Kami-Yonai Station on the Yamada Line