Local Govts, JR West Begin Geibi Line Talks

Yomiuri Shimbun file photo
The Geibi Line between Okayama and Hiroshima prefectures

HIROSHIMA (Jiji Press) — Officials from local governments and West Japan Railway Co. on Tuesday agreed to reach a decision in the next three years on the future of a struggling section of the Geibi Line between Okayama and Hiroshima prefectures.

The officials gathered in the city of Hiroshima in the first meeting of a council established under a law aimed at allowing local governments and railway operators to hold discussions to decide what to do with struggling train lines.

The Geibi Line council focuses on the section running between Bitchu-Kojiro Station in Niimi, Okayama, and Bingo-Shobara Station in Shobara, Hiroshima.

“Our discussions are based on detailed facts and data and not based on pre-determined decisions of either abolishing or keeping the section,” said Hiroshi Masuda, a transport ministry official who chaired the council.

Kenji Hirooka, head of JR West’s Hiroshima office, said that from the viewpoint of mass transportation the Geibi Line has not been performing properly as a railway line.

Okayama Vice Gov. Katsunori Kamibo said that the Geibi Line is “indispensable for the local community,” asking the line to be kept as it is.