Crack in Shinkansen Bullet Train Nearly Caused Derailment
Newsfrom JapanEconomy Society
Osaka, Dec. 19 (Jiji Press)—A crack found on a bogie frame of a Shinkansen bullet train last week was so deep that the frame nearly fractured to cause a derailment, the train operator said Tuesday.
The crack in the square-tube frame had a total length of 44 centimeters, or about two-thirds of the section's perimeter, said West Japan Railway Co., or JR West.
"We deeply apologize for betraying public trust in the safety of Shinkansen trains," Vice President Yoshie Norihiko told a press conference at the company's headquarters in Osaka.
The crew's failure to stop the Shinkansen train, Nozomi No. 34, on Dec. 11 immediately after abnormalities were detected was a "serious problem," JR West said.
The company vowed to take preventive measures, including strengthening the education of its employees.
The crack was found during an emergency check on the Tokyo-bound train at Nagoya Station after the operation of the train was halted following reports of unusual sounds and smells.
The Japan Transport Safety Board designated the case as a serious incident, the first-ever such designation for any Shinkansen train.
JR West is investigating the cause of the crack in cooperation with the train's maker and the Railway Technical Research Institute.
[Copyright The Jiji Press, Ltd.]