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'Shooting Star' bullet train runs in southwestern Japan ahead of full-scale launch

This photo shows the shinkansen bullet train casting light in Chikugo, Fukuoka Prefecture, on March 14, 2021. (Mainichi/Minoru Kanazawa)

FUKUOKA -- A special "Nagareboshi Shinkansen," or "shooting star bullet train," ran in the southwestern Japan region of Kyushu with a spectacular display of light on the night of March 14 to commemorate the 10th anniversary of the Kyushu Shinkansen Line's full-scale opening.

    The bullet train, casting beams of light from windows in seven colors with special lighting equipment, ran from Kagoshima-Chuo Station in the city of Kagoshima to Hakata Station in the city of Fukuoka. An event to view the shinkansen was held in a multipurpose square near Chikugo-Funagoya Station in the Fukuoka Prefecture town of Chikugo, and some 2,100 people enjoyed the view.

    Kyushu Railway Co., Nishi-Nippon City Bank and LINE Fukuoka, a subsidiary of major messaging app developer LINE, jointly organized the one-night-only project with a wish to "bring rays of hope to Kyushu and create a bright future" amid the gloomy mood in society caused by the coronavirus pandemic.

    The first car of the train is decorated with purple and blue shooting stars, and 777 wishes of people, which had been sought publicly, have been placed on the outside of the train and posters inside. Carrying people's feelings about their families and their future dreams, the train departed Kagoshima-Chuo Station soon after 6:30 p.m. without passengers. It ran north, emitting beams of light, to Hakata Station and made stops at four stations including Kumamoto Station.

    The special shinkansen wrapped with people's wishes will go into service on March 15, and carry passengers until May 28.

    (Japanese original by Munehisa Ishida, Kyushu Business News Department)

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