Minami-Aso Railway Services Fully Resume after 2016 Kumamoto Earthquakes

The Yomiuri Shimbun
A train operated by Minami-Aso Railway Co. crosses the First Shirakawa Bridge heading to Tateno Station in Minami-Aso, Kumamoto Prefecture, on Saturday.

KUMAMOTO — The operation of the Minami-Aso Railway, based in Takamori, Kumamoto Prefecture, fully resumed Saturday after being suspended in some sections due to the April 2016 Kumamoto earthquakes.

Some parts of the prefecture were struck by a pair of earthquakes measuring the highest level of 7 on the Japanese seismic intensity scale, which caused extensive damage, including the collapse of the Aso Ohashi bridge and disruptions to the transportation network.

Over seven years after the disaster, all major transportation infrastructure has been restored, including the railway which is jointly run by the public and private sectors.

The first train carrying passengers left Takamori Station at 6 a.m. on Saturday. It crossed the 166-meter-long First Shirakawa Bridge, which has been restored, and arrived at the line’s terminal Tateno Station. Residents of the area waved small flags along the line to welcome the return of the services. A commemorative ceremony was held at Takamori Station among other places.