Kaiyo, Tokushima Prefecture, December 25 (Jiji Press) – A public-private or third-sector rail company in western Japan on Saturday launched the world’s first commercial operation of a dual-mode vehicle capable of running on the roads and railways.
Local residents expect the new service from Asa Coast Railway Co., which improves accessibility to tourist sites, will attract more railway enthusiasts and others.
At a ceremony in Kaiyo Town, Tokushima Prefecture, to mark the launch of the service, Tokushima Governor Kamon Iizumi said he wanted to “send dreams and hopes to the world” from the prefecture via the DMV.
“It took about 10 years to launch (the DMV service). I am very emotional,” said Kaiyo Mayor Shigeki Miura, who is also chairman of Asa Coast Railway. The company’s rail service runs between Tokushima and neighboring Kochi Prefecture.
Asa Coast Railway’s DMV is minibus-based and fitted with rubber tires used for travel on roads and steel wheels for rail tracks. Its road and rail modes can be switched in just about 15 seconds. While the change is taking place, the sounds of a traditional local drum performance by students belonging to the local Kaifu High School Performing Arts Club in Kaiyo are played inside the vehicle.
[Copyright The Jiji Press, Ltd.]