280 passengers trapped on train without heating for 6 1/2 hours


A Kyushu line bullet train was brought to a standstill on Tuesday, leaving 280 passengers trapped inside for around 6 1/2 hours, JR Kyushu said Wednesday.

The bullet train was stopped by its driver near Chikugo in Fukuoka just after 4 p.m., following which all other trains on the line were stopped. The cause of the stoppage was reportedly a sheet of plastic, of the type commonly used in agriculture, hanging from an overhead wire, TBS reported.

Removal of the entangled sheet and safety checks on the train took around 6 1/2 hours, during which time heating, cooling and toilets were inoperable, a JR spokesperson said. The train eventually made it to Chikugo-Funagoya Station, arriving at around 10:30 p.m.

A JR spokesperson said the Kyushu bullet train service returned to its regular schedule from Wednesday morning

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Why didn't they let them off the train? I bet there were a lot of wet seats or refilled pet bottles.

4 ( +6 / -3 )

You think the train would have backup power for this type of thing?

6 ( +8 / -3 )

Keeping passengers on board for 6 1/2 hours? that's one way of telling them to take the plane next time.

5 ( +6 / -1 )

safety checks on the train took around 6 1/2 hours

For a sheet of plastic? You have got to be kidding me. While wouldn't advise on taking a Chinese approach to bullet train safety, the Japanese need to loosen up a bit.

-2 ( +3 / -6 )

Passengers should claim refund also Miyage from JR :)

0 ( +0 / -0 )

cause of the stoppage was reportedly a sheet of plastic,

And what would have happened if the train kept going? If a piece of plastic can derail a train, then this line has more problems that stranding 280 passengers for 6 1/2 hours.

1 ( +4 / -4 )

Blame the insurance companies. They're the ones behind strict protocol. It's always about money.

-1 ( +3 / -4 )

Gurukun: I believe in hindsight, a plastic sheet sounds like a ridiculous reason to stop a train for 6.5 hours, but at the time, they most likely had no idea what they were dealing with... including possible sabotage.

6 ( +7 / -1 )

I'm sure MANY of the passengers missed appointments and had nothing to do except try to hold in their bladders. I hope they got some kind of compensation and some free food, etc.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

The toilets always work they don't need any power?

3 ( +5 / -2 )

A case of the blue sheet Blues.... can't beleive it took 6.5 hours to get a plastic tarp off an electrical line.

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

I'm not surprised that plastic a sheet was flying around. We all know Chikugo is a windy city.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

A year later, Japan showing us they are prepared for any disaster. Safety first.

6 ( +6 / -1 )

How many JR railway workers does it take to change a lightbulb???................ergh, I mean remove a piece of plastic? Absolutely ridiculous. If it were me caught on that train I would have definitely spat the dummy. Lack of heating was probably a good thing as I always find the trains way too warm in winter.

-3 ( +4 / -7 )

No Kyushu bullet train for me!

-6 ( +2 / -7 )

Japangal, the trainline is built on an elevated bridge the whole way thru Kyushu. Getting off is impossible unless you want to jump down from the bridge. This must have been a nightmare, especially the toilet factor. So, even getting that plastic off is not an easy thing to do.

8 ( +7 / -0 )

That ought to be worth at least an "ekiben" in damages...

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Come to think of it, people who died in transportation accidents and 'non-accidents' did not enjoy the luxury of a 6-hour inconvenience and delay...

4 ( +4 / -0 )

It reminds me of the thousands of residents trapped in evacuation shelters for almost a year after 311, pooping and peeing like pigs in a barn, while the world donated millions of Yen yet wondered why the Japanese government and affiliated agencies’ whether public or private that were collecting, never provided a brake down to how the cash was used. Those great champions in the north suffered for more than and year with little than a bento a day if they were lucky for more than a year (on-going plus). Is the Government of Japan too busy to compile an accurate breakdown of donations to Japan? How about the financial institutions that housed the money the people of the world that gave and continues to give? To busy still to provide at least a simple breakdown to where it goes and what it was used for? Really? How could your economic ministry even make a statement in regard to a trade deficit or your economy if they can’t provide more than thanks and donated numbers? The people of the world gave to those that they observed suffering great loss. Why did it take a year to get those individuals out of the shelter?…Lay the numbers out on the table! All of them!!!! ....Ready for your next degree handshakes?

The Blakesonian Naka-ku

-1 ( +4 / -5 )

Wow ok so we're talking about the Bullet Train here and it's got NO backup power. Who's the genius here? I need to peepee often. 6 1/2 hours forget it!

-3 ( +0 / -3 )

the sheets of plastic used at farms can be 20 meters long or even longer. so, it could have wrapped around numerous times. that being said, 6.5 hours is a bit long . best to be safe than sorry though .

2 ( +2 / -0 )

They could have unhooked the train from the overhead cable. Send another train to pull it to place where it could be hooked up again and continued on with it's journey then tackled the problem of the plastic.

3 ( +5 / -2 )

Just shows you can't be prepared for everything. However, there should have been some way to evacuate or restore services. Don't they have emergency generators or auxiliary power units on those things?

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

I doubt it is a one-way track...they should have brought another train from the opposite direction to remove passengers.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

haha - Seriously, this is japan bashing for the sake of it surely. Normal miserable suspects..gogogo just for once. Do you kow how many countries would be grateful for a train system anywhere close to the effiency of the Shinkansen? This is only news because something has unusually gone wrong.

-1 ( +4 / -5 )

zichi and nama, creative thinking is not taught in schools in Japan and therefore is very very difficult for them to problem solve. the 2nd biggest problem is bureaucracy. so even if there was one out of a million dude thinking outside of the box, bureaucracy does not allow such behavior.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

Most exhalant. A blackball. Shall I shake the pillars? Dance a role play? 14 days and the numbers? We request an international publish Japan. Asking too much? We want to know where all the donated international relief cash has been allocated to, including yet not limited to satisfying the thirst for the sufferings and relief of the north.

Remember, how much for where, and what for?…Your final answer current government of Japan? I am bucking for a visa and will appease you in any international chat form at any time like so many...Answer me, i am out of time...I have to get up early and spawn Shiitake tomarrow.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

Plastic sheet - possible pantograph damage and cable damage. Fair enough. Many of the hi-tech toilets here rely on electric power. Small push buttons to activate pumps and drains, unlike domestic gravity operated toilets.

There are very few switches/ points on the tracks to allow trains to change lines, they prefer safety to convenience.

Bullet trains have little battery capacity in their lightweight design; the weight would slow them down, and JR assume (!) power cuts would not last long.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Profit before people.... only caring about the train and not the people, they should have pushed the train to the next station and at least let the passengers off.

-3 ( +0 / -3 )

@gogogo: zzzzzzzzzzzz

-3 ( +0 / -3 )

Do windows not have emergency exits and if so why didn't people jump out? Or just leave by the exits after pulling an emergency cord? After a few hours waiting that would be enough. But 6.5? That's nuts.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

They obviously need to rethink that elevated line. What would they do if there were an earthquake and pieces of it collapsed? What's the plan for getting people off? There should be emergency stairs like there are on highways.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

theResident: "Do you kow how many countries would be grateful for a train system anywhere close to the effiency of the Shinkansen?"

Plenty of nations have trains as or more efficient as the Shinkansen, and they probably also have their share of occasional problems. I don't think coming onto a thread where there was a pretty serious problem is the best forum for bragging about how great the system is.

Anyway, if I were stuck on there and had to use the john and couldn't get off the train, I'd just forgo all embarrassment and take a leak between the train cars at the door. No way I'd wet myself, though of course I'd hold off as long as I can. But when I take the bullet train I like to relax, have some coffee or a beer maybe, and with a six hour wait it's questionable if I could hold off until the end or not.

-4 ( +0 / -4 )

No smithinjapan, you are wrong.: France, Germany and possibly Korea are probably the only countriies that are anywhere close to having a rail system that runs as well (and is safe) and as often as the Shinkansen. I am not denying that this was a big problem, but it happens elsewhere a lot more - and its not bragging, its stating a fact.

0 ( +3 / -3 )

I'm sure MANY of the passengers missed appointments and had nothing to do except try to hold in their bladders. I hope they got some kind of compensation and some free food, etc.

At least they are alive!

0 ( +0 / -0 )

I think they were getting tired to wait for 6 1/2 hours. Did bullet train operator give them food and water?

0 ( +0 / -0 )

This has happened many times. There should be a law that after three hours of waiting, the passangers have the right to evacuate, and those that remain must be cared for and given blankets, food, water and accurate up to date information immediately and every hour after.

I seriously doubt I would have made four hours without throwing the emergency release on the doors.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

I just don't understand why does it have to take a loooooong time just to remove a sheet of plastic and check the train? Were they drunk? :( just a thought...

1 ( +1 / -0 )

I think it depends on where the train was when this happened. Those electrical wires are pretty high and you do need special equipment not to mention a special truck to get out there. you cant just drive any old car. With that those lines are carrying an insane amount of voltage so yeah you need to be careful about how you remove the plastic. In addition we dont know how the plastic was laid or wrapped around the lines. It could have also been shredded which means it could have been tangled in the lines. With that, it would have really sucked if this was in a tunnel.

It was around 4pm so its possible that the workers went ill equipped not knowing the severity of the situation and then it also started to get dark so they may have needed to wait for lighting. There are a lot of things they may have had to deal with, its like getting a jacket zipper stuck. Sounds simple but can take you hours to fix.

But no doubt that should invest in an emergency bus road or something that runs along the tracks.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Nobody in Japan wants to make a decision or take responsibility. No the workers and train crew just had to check with their boss who had to check with his boss. Why do you think so much goes wrong in Japan? How can you have a proper emergency response when nobody wants to make a decision. That is why all of those pet and livestock died in the Fukushima evacuation because the book said no pets or livestock.

Something like this is not a surprise to me. In America the workers would of done what is needed.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

PLAstic stops lots of human movement eventually.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

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