On the Pacific shores of Iwate, the JR Ofunato Line and Sanriku Railway Company lines suffered heavy damage in the March 11 earthquake and tsunami. On April 10th, Naoto Kodama of Iwate Rail Modelers' Circle (JRM's sister club in Iwatetsu, Japan) traveled to the coast to witness and photograph the state of these railroads one month after the catastrophe.
Mr. Kodama wants to be sure everyone knows that these photos show just one small area in the hardest-hit part of Japan, and do not represent the conditions for all railroads in Japan. Elsewhere in Japan, you can ride trains just as safely as before. The rail system is still just as safe and punctual as it always has been.
Sanriku Railway between Horei Station and Sanriku Station. There are many places damaged like this, and it is projected to cost 10 billion yen ($120 million) to rebuild. Even so, the president and employees of Sanriku Railway say they are committed to restoring it to how it was before. Photos copyright 2011 Naoto Kodama
Ofunato Station on the JR Ofunato Line. Photos copyright 2011 Naoto Kodama
JR Ofunato Line between Takekoma Station and Rikuzen-Takata Station. The tracks used to run straight from left to right under the bridge. The tsunami came in from the left; the rails themselves got bent into curves and wrapped around the bridge abutment at the right. Photos copyright 2011 Naoto Kodama