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Hiroshima for Global Peace

Atomic Bombed Trams that supported the reconstruction of Hiroshima part2




Restoration work on the Aioi-bashi BridgeA. Photographed in 1946 (Courtesy of KISHIMOT Tan, Kishimoto Photography Studio Collection of Hiroshima Municipal Archives)



In the aftermath of the atomic bombing, what supported the citizens of Hiroshima to recover from the damage was trams that had been restored to life. No. 651, which we introduced in our previous article, was one of those trams, and it also played an important role in the people’s lives. Here are the brothers of “650 series”.



Car No. 652, Still in Service




(Photo by NAGAOKA Koji)



The second son of Series 650 is Car No. 652. It was exposed to the bombing near Ujina, but was only slightly damaged as was 4 km away from the hypocenter. Since then, like its eldest brother Car No. 651, it has undergone numerous repairs but continues to run down the streets of Hiroshima to this day.



Car No. 653, Introduced in Peace Education




(Collection of RCC Broadcasting, Hiroshima Electric Railway)



After being bombed, Car No. 653 was wrecked near Eba, about 3 km away from the hypocenter. The tram had been in operation for more than 60 years since December 1945, when it returned to service. However, it was withdrawn from the line in 2006 when the timetable was revised and the tram retired from service.

In 2015, however, the tram was restored to active service through the “Atomic bombed Tram Special Operation Project” and was reborn as a special tram. The tram was repainted in gray and blue, the same color scheme as when it was exposed to the bombing. It is equipped with a monitor to show testimonies of atomic bomb survivors and scenes of Hiroshima’s reconstruction. Today, the train is used as a private vehicle for peace education.



Car No. 654, the Tram on Display




(Photo by HASHIMOTO Masahiro)



Car No. 654, which was bombed together with Car No. 653 near Eba, was restored in February 1946. However, it also retired and was dismissed from service by the revision of the timetable in 2006.

Later on, Car No. 654 was donated to the City of Hiroshima as one of the atomic bombed trams. It was repainted in the same old colors as Car No. 653, and is now on display outdoors at the Numaji Transportation Museum. On the third Saturday of each month, you can see the inside of the tram.



Other Atomic bombed Trams that Existed



Car No. 655, the youngest son of Series 650, was severely damaged in the bombing in front of Hiroshima Station, and repairs were not completed until November 1948. It was repaired in November 1948, but in January 1967, the tram collided with a large truck and was destroyed.

At present, only three atomic bombed trams, Car No.651, No.652 and No.653, are in operation, including those that are available only for private use. However, there are still other trams that recovered from the damage caused by the atomic bomb, and contributed to the reconstruction of the city. We hope to have another chance to introduce them.



Numaji Transportation Museum

Address: 2-12-2 Chouraji, Asaminami-ku, Hiroshima City

Phone: 082-878-6211

Open: 9:00-17:00

Closed: Mondays (if it is a holiday, the museum will be open on Tuesdays and Wednesdays), the weekdays following the holiday, the year-end and New Year’s holidays (December 29th to January 3rd), and other temporary closures (please check the website for details).

Fee: ¥510 for adults, ¥250 for high school students and seniors (65 years and older), free for junior high school students and younger




(This article is based on the following book.)




Production cooperation: Hiroshima Electric Railway (published in 2017)

Price: 2,500 yen + tax

ISBN: 978-4862505279

Just three days after the atomic bombing, Hiroshima’s streetcars resumed service one after another. This is a visual book of real-life accounts of the atomic bombed trams, which are historical monuments in operation.




Introducing the Peace Study Project

Learn about Hiroshima’s reconstruction: Hiroshima’s path to reconstruction

The booklet, “Hiroshima’s path to reconstruction” explains how Hiroshima was rebuilt after the atomic bombing.

Learn about Hiroshima’s reconstruction: Hiroshima’s path to reconstruction

To know the experience of being a driver as a young girl in 1945 through Manga

You can read a grandmother’s experience of being a driver as a young girl, drawn as a manga by her granddaughter.

To know the experience of being a driver as a young girl in 1945 through Manga

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