Crack in Shinkansen Bullet Train Nearly Caused Derailment

Economy 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.

Workers discovered a crack in the undercarriage of the N-700 series Nozomi 34 bound for Tokyo in the first serious safety incident involving the Shinkansen. (Courtesy JR West; © Jiji)

"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.]

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