FUKUSHIMA--About 750 children and adults cheered as the steam train "Fukushima Fukkogo" chugged between Koriyama and Fukushima on the JR Tohoku Line on July 25.
Fukkogo means reconstruction in Japanese, and the trip was organized by East Japan Railway Co. and Fukushima Prefecture to boost local morale following last year's earthquake and the accident at the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant.
On board were invited kindergarten children and parent-child pairs who were chosen by lot.
The C61 steam engine, pulling five old-fashioned cars, left Koriyama Station at 9:55 a.m.
Takumi Endo, a 6-year-old kindergartner from Motomiya, said it was the first time for him to see or ride a steam locomotive.
“It's cool, with black smoke,” he said. “I cannot wait to tell my father, who likes electric trains.”
The C61 used to run on the Tohoku and Joban lines, which connect the Tohoku region with Tokyo.
The organizers spent a year restoring the locomotive and passenger cars, which had been on display at a park in Isesaki, Gunma Prefecture, for the event.
The Fukkogo train will run between Koriyama and Fukushima on July 28 and 29.
Tickets are sold out, but organizers will auction off the train’s distinctive metal nameplate and other items at JR Fukushima Station on July 28. Proceeds will be donated to the prefecture and used to support tourism.
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