For the past three years, a train has stopped at the remote Kami-Shirataki station in the far north of Japan just twice a day. At 7:04 am prompt, it takes on a single passenger – a student on her way to school – and brings her home again at 5:08 pm.
The student’s journey to school may be lonely, but the operator of the line, the Hokkaido Railway Co, has been praised for its commitment to its customers after a story about the service by China’s CCTV went viral.
The railway company had planned to shut the station down three years ago as it was virtually unused, until it realised that a single student was still boarding the train every school-day morning and alighting every evening.
Hokkaido Railway Co. decided to keep the station open for the girl – who has not been named in media reports – until she graduates from high school. In her final few months as a student and with the end of the school year in March, the station is now scheduled to close for good on March 26.