Reunion of Hiroshima tram girls

Today, as they do every August 6th, the girls who drove trams in Hiroshima during the war hold a reunion at the Hiroshima Electric Railway Company. They remember the day, 65 years ago, an atomic bomb was dropped on the city and many of their fellow workers were killed or badly  injured.

The girls, some as young as 14, were trained as drivers and conductors to fill the vacancies left by the men who had gone to fight. It was the first time that girls had been allowed to drive trams in Japan.

Some of the trams were so busy that there was no room for the conductor and she would have to stand on the front coupler and ask passengers, through an open window, to ring the departure and stopping bell.

In total approximately 300 girls were trained to work on the trams, with the older girls working the late and night shifts. Although the bombing, which killed 140,000 civilians, devastated the city, trams began running 24 hours later, albeit on a very short section of route.

Tram 3701 passes near Hiroshima's Peace Memorial Park and Museum. Picture: www.upmain.com

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