Saying one last good-bye to the Blue Train

Saying one last good-bye to the Blue Train
PHOTO: The Yomiuri Shimbun/ANN

The "Blue Train," a blue sleeper train that ran across the nation for more than 50 years, has disappeared. The last train was the sleeper express Hokutosei's extra service. It departed Sapporo Station in Hokkaido on Aug. 22 and arrived at Ueno Station in Tokyo on Aug. 23. The train's service came to an end ahead of the opening of the Hokkaido Shinkansen line next March.

The Blue Train is the nickname of the blue-painted carriages with sleeping berths that the now-defunct Japanese National Railway, the predecessor of the Japan Railways group, began operating in 1958.

The trains used to connect Tokyo and all areas of the nation such as Kyushu and Tohoku. Tickets for the 150 seats of the final Hokutosei train were sold out almost the moment they went on sale.

At Tokyo Station, where there was a long line of people hoping to get tickets, it is said no one could purchase a ticket.

At stations and along the tracks, many train buffs bid farewell to the last train.

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