Hidaka Line to be discontinued next March

In light of continued service suspension due to tidal wave damage of January 2015, JR Hokkaido has expressed a desire to discontinue service or substitute bus service for the rail running between Mukawa and Samani (116 kilometers) on the JR Hidaka Line along the Pacific Coast in Central Hokkaido. All seven mayors in the Hidaka area held a special session on August 12 and resolved to aim for a final agreement with JR in September for complete discontinuance of rail service along that area by the end of next March with a substituting bus service introduced from April onward.

JR Hokkaido has requested discontinuance or bus substitution due to difficulties in independently maintaining service for five unprofitable railway sections to date. If this stretch of the Hidaka Line service is discontinued, it will be the third such span following the area between Yubari and Shin-Yubari on the Sekisho Line and the area between Hokkaido-Iryodaigaku and Shintotsukawa on the Sassho Line. Also, if it is discontinued, it will be the first JR Hokkaido rail service to be discontinued without restoring the rail after service suspension due to a natural disaster.
Regarding the bus service planned after the switchover from train to bus, the current JR Bus substitute bus service running between the stations along the suspended area will be replaced with new public transport (a revised replacement bus service) widely linking areas, and there is also agreement on a broad route overview proposal.
Moving forward, the mayors plan to enter into an official agreement regarding service discontinuance and bus replacement with JR in September and hammer out the details of the revised replacement bus service by next spring.


JR Samani Station