Japan Railway & Transport Review No. 26 (Back cover)

Japanese Railway Scenery 19
JR Hokkaido: Hakodate Main Line

Local EMU passing Sea-of-Japan coast near Zenibako Station on JR Hokkaido's Hakodate Main Line. This section was a part of Hokkaido’s first railway reaching a coal mine at Horonai. The line later reached Hakodate to link with the main island of Honshu. It was also extended northwards to Asahikawa, forming a 423-km artery in south and central Hokkaido. Because of steep mountains between Oshamanbe and Otaru, express trains between Hakodate and Sapporo were shifted later to the longer but flat Muroran Main Line for a shorter journey time. Today, this particular section is mainly used for commuter traffic between Otaru and Sapporo and for access from Otaru to Chitose Airport.
(Photo: M. Mashima Photo Office)