TAKASAKI, Gunma -- A train bearing the images of characters from the popular animated film "Galaxy Express 999" is set to end operations on Sept. 9, its operator and event organizers said.
Joshin Railway has been operating the special two-car train on its 33.7-kilometer section between Takasaki and Shimonita in Gunma Prefecture since 2008 with the support of residents along the line.
However, the company decided to discontinue the train on Sept. 9 at the strong urging of Toei Animation Co., which owns the anime20+件, as the agreed term for use of the characters' images has expired. A photo session will be held on a side track at the railway's Takasaki Station, and the train will make two farewell round trips.
Hiroyasu Ohinata, chairman of a local residents' committee that has supported the operations of the train expressed regret over the discontinuation of the service.