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Hokkaido: Winter Steam Locomotive Through Kushiro Wetlands Starts Annual Service

The Yomiuri Shimbun
Railroad fans take pictures of the SL Fuyu-no-Shitsugen train in Kushiro, Hokkaido, on Saturday.

A sightseeing steam locomotive that runs the 48-kilometer-long stretch on the JR Senmo Line between Kushiro and Shibecha stations in Hokkaido began its annual winter service on Saturday. The SL Fuyu-no-Shitsugen train passes through the snow-covered Kushiro Wetlands.

The locomotive, manufactured in 1940, whistled as it departed Kushiro Station just after 11 a.m. on Saturday, attracting many railroad fans along the line.

A 47-year-old woman from Muroran, Hokkaido, who boarded the first train with her family, said, “The powerful smoke rising from the locomotive looked so cool.”

The service started in 2000, and a total of over 320,000 passengers have boarded the train since then. This season’s operations will run through March 20, mainly on weekends.