JR West Urged to Prevent Trains from Getting Stranded in Snow


Osaka, Jan. 26 (Jiji Press)--The Japanese transport ministry's Kinki local bureau has urged West Japan Railway Co. <9021>, or JR West, to investigate the cause of an incident this week in which over a dozen trains were stuck in heavy snow and to come up with measures to prevent a repeat of such events.

According to JR West, a total of 18 trains on three lines including the Tokaido line were stranded between stations due to heavy snow between Tuesday night and Wednesday morning, and some 7,200 passengers were locked up in train cars for up to 10 hours.

This was because railroad switches for changing the direction of the tracks froze. The company failed to activate devices to melt snow accumulated on the switches because estimated snowfall did not reach a standard for taking the step.

The local bureau in charge of the Kinki western Japan region had called on JR West to fully prepare for the latest cold wave. "It is regrettable that the incident caused a lot of trouble to passengers," an official of the bureau said, urging the company to fully look into the problem while recognizing the seriousness of the incident.

The company did not inform the transport authorities quickly after the trains became stranded, according to the official.

[Copyright The Jiji Press, Ltd.]

Jiji Press