Japan introduces ‘cycle trains’ to restore Hokkaido railway

Published on : Monday, August 28, 2017

cycle trainsLocal governments of several towns based on the northernmost railway of the nation are hopeful that the business of Hokkaido railway by bringing about the concept of ‘cycle trains’ permitting passengers to board with their bicycles fully assembled and ready to ride.


The JP Soya Lune from Asahikawa to Wakkanai in Hokkaido that runs for 259 kms has witnessed very scanty passengers and therefore negative earnings.


The fresh initiative aims to leverage the growing craze for cycles in a bid to boost the impression of the railway as an important tourist line and attract cyclists from inside and even outside Japan.


Many local government had established a council on 23rd August, Wednesday to urge operator Hokkaido Railway Co. (JP Hokkaido) to introduce this modern idea.


Soya Line runs through the forests and plans of northern Hokkaido where tourists have largely flocked in the last few years to enjoy the thrills of canoeing the Teshiogawa river and also trekking, and even cycling.


Last autums, the Nakagawa town government had organized a cycling tour that had lured 20 participants from various regions including Taiwan and the tour had earned great reviews, as revealed by a town official. Members of the council plan to build bike roads, host cycling tours and also lay the foundations for attracting more cyclists.


JP Hokkaido passengers regulations state that the passengers must participate or fold their bicycles and place them inside bike bags prior to carrying them onto a train.


A person associated with a local government said that if the new system is introduced the local governments would have to put up with an increased burden since they would be required to work harder to come up with new ideas for encouraging demand among potential users.


The Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism Ministry has stated that the number of railway operators launching the cycle train operations in increasing amidst the bike boom.


West Japan Railway Co. (JR West) had started operating a tourist train targeting cyclists in April last year.


This year, summer, the train has been mainly operated on the Okayama to Onomichi section of Sanyo Line and the Okayama to Takamatsu section of the Seto-Ohashi Line.


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