Travelling past Tomakomai... this is a fairly industrialised port city - with a large dependence on oil transport. During my stay in Japan, I didn't experience any earthquakes - but just before my second trip to Japan, later in the year, Tomakomai was made famous due to a huge oil storage fire caused by a very large earthquake (8.0 on the Richter scale - which is a VERY BIG quake).
You see some strange sights on the train - for example, I had not thought to see ice-fishing in Japan (don't ask why not... it just seemed... foreign to Japan to me). Not being a fisher-person, I think this is taking the past-time to new extreme (obsesive) lengths.
The scenery on the way to Hakodate is fairly bleak - the mountains bereft of most of their cover feel like ancient bones uncovered from ground. A hard place to live.
It's an interesting way to see Hokkaido - but if you don't have a JR pass, it's pretty expensive and slow... but much quicker than driving!