The remote Kami-Shirataki station—located in Engaru, Hokkaido, Japan—has been slowly losing riders. In fact, the demand was so low that even freight service was ended. Japan Railways planned to close the entire station for good—until they discovered the last consistent passenger: A single high schooler who continued to use the train to get to class every day.
Three years ago, the railway system decided to keep the station open until the student graduated school. The accommodating network even changed the train schedule to better fit the girl's commute. Now, the train makes only two trips: One to bring the girl to class and one to bring her back home. This service will continue until her graduation in March of this year.
While this heart-warming story showcases Japan Railways' dedication to service, it is also a reminder of the decline of railways in rural Japan. The country is expected to lose a third of their population by 2060, meaning a shrinking workforce and an increase in empty housing. This, coupled with Japan's new efficient high-speed rails, spells the end of traditional railroads in the country. Hokkaido has seen the closing of 20 rail lines in the last few decades, Fortune reports, with another closing when the student graduates in March.
Header image via iStock.