Girls’ School of Hiroshima Electric Railway
Aug. 24, 2012
Attending classes and operating streetcars
During the war, the Hiroshima Electric Railway Company opened a school for girls in April 1943 in order to maintain a work force for the streetcars because their male drivers and conductors had been drafted into military service. The school building and the dormitory were located in Minami Ward, Hiroshima.
After graduating from national "advanced elementary school" at the age of 14, the girls enrolled in the school's three-year program. Students there went to classes for half the day, and worked on the streetcars for the other half. However, at the tail end of the war, the schedule changed and they were working as drivers or conductors from early morning until late at night.
On the day of the atomic bombing, most of the school's 300 students were either working on streetcars or in their dormitory, which was located 2.1 kilometers from the hypocenter. Twenty-nine students and one teacher were killed in the blast.
Three days later, when train operations resumed between Koi and Nishitenma, students who escaped serious injury were put in charge of the streetcars. After the war, the school's objective of addressing the shortage of male workers was over and the school was closed. Two A-bombed streetcars still run through the city today, mainly on weekday mornings.