The train line wasn’t completely forgotten in its final days due to one videographer’s determination and passion.

As younger souls from the countryside leave their hometowns in pursuit of new ventures, this exodus also marks the changes and shifts in a local region’s transportation system. Hokkaido has seen nearly 13 complete or partial train line closures in the past five decades, with some lines receiving national coverage such as this one which was only operated to take a high school student to and from school.

The presence of media fanfare when a train line is permanently or partially closed differs, but for one train line in Western Hokkaido — the Sasshou line — it may have had a more quiet entourage due the advancement of its closure from May 7 to April 17.

However, for one videographer, they prepared a touching video tribute to memorialize its service. Posted by @NumeriExpress, the video depicts idyllic scenes of pastoral Hokkaido in the spring and summer.

▼ From verdant green plains to a small, snow-covered train station, they captured a pleasant and nostalgic view of the non-electrical Sasshou line. (Translation below)

“In May 2020, another train line has shut down in Hokkaido — the non-electrical portion of the Sasshou line. Ending at Shin-Totsukawa and only running once a day, the train’s wheels skip over the track as it sways along its path. No matter if it’s spring, summer, fall, or winter, the ride is always enjoyable.”

Running from Sapporo to Shin-Totsukawa, the Sasshou train line was built in 1931. From 2012, the train was re-configured to run on electrical power between Soen and up to Health Sciences University of Hokkaido. However, from the university to the terminal Shin-Totsukawa station, the train was on non-electrical power.

Given the train’s history and the retro appeal of the non-electrical portion of the Sasshou line, we can only imagine how disappointing it might have been for train lovers to not be able to see the line’s last moments, but with @NumeriExpress’s videos and stills, anyone of any fandom can enjoy the sights that the Sasshou line passed through.

“Spring on the Sasshou line. From the window is the refreshing air of summer’s beginning. Wind sways a tree standing alone along the railway. An unforgettable scene.”

“Winter on the Sasshou line. A warm reception at the cozy, snowbound station. On the warm ride back, all one can hear is the sound of the moving train, the hum of its engine.”  

Bringing attention to these areas isn’t just for the diehard fans of retired trains or people who want a virtual jaunt into the countryside. @NemuriExpress also notes that these areas are filled with historical gold mines such as this government building from the Meiji period.

“Big thanks to the Golden Kamuy fans who’ve come through to take a look. Near Ishikaritsukigata station, there is a former detention center-turned-museum. I think the museum displays are really interesting, and I really recommend it.”  

Through @NemuriExpress’s work, the Sasshou line lives on indefinitely despite its recent closure. With COVID-19 still an omnipresent threat, we don’t know the turnout was for the non-electrical Sasshou line’s last run, but we hope at the very least someone was there to give thanks for the train’s and conductors’ service.

Source, images: Twitter/@NumeriExpress via Net Lab
● Want to hear about SoraNews24’s latest articles as soon as they’re published? Follow us on Facebook and Twitter!