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4-year-old girl dies after being hit by train in Kagawa

35 Comments

A 4-year-old girl died after she was struck by a train in Sanuki, Kagawa Prefecture, on Sunday.

According to police, the child was on her way back home from shopping with her 76-year-old great-grandmother at about 4:30 p.m., TV Asahi reported. The girl was in a shopping cart and jumped out and wandered onto the tracks of the JR Kotoku line, police said.

Police said she was struck by a train bound for Takamatsu. The train driver said he applied the emergency brake but it was too late.

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35 Comments
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What are we living in, the 19th century? I'm astounded that some engineer hasn't realised that a simple laser attached to the front of the train would be able to scan the tracks ahed and engage the emergency brakes in good time automatically. If the track curves then a few mirrors would be able to reflect the beam around corners.

Honestly, this sort of thing shouldn't be happening.

-29 ( +2 / -30 )

@Frungy

Trains don`t stop like a slow moving car does. I have heard of examples of it taking more than 500 meters to stop a speeding train.

Trains take a very long time to stop, covering long stretches of ground in the process. The amount of ground covered is often much longer than the range of the driver's vision. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Headway#Railway_examples

Just how far ahead do you want this laser to scan, half a kilometer, a kilometer? And every time something crosses in that far off distance the auto-breaking you suggest would have to fire off. If it is a passenger train there is also passenger safety that comes into the equation.

8 ( +9 / -1 )

Frungy - How about a simpler idea of making the boom gates sufficient so that kid can't wander onto the tracks in the first place? Sad story, but it only takes a second for a four year old to escape your grip. Gotta watch your kids closely.

4 ( +6 / -2 )

oh no .... RIP little one =(

3 ( +4 / -1 )

Apparently I was underestimating it when I said half a kilometer.

Owing to its speed and weight, a train requires a long braking distance. Even in the case of emergency braking, it may need more than 1 km to come to a complete stop.

http://www.infrabel.be/en/faq/security%20faq

So if a dog runs across the road one kilometer ahead then in theory the emergency breaks would have to slam on (forget about the passengers safety) in order for it to stop in time. This kind of thing just isn`t practical.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

RIP, very sad.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

It was just a tragic accident. RIP

1 ( +2 / -1 )

This sort of thing shouldn't be happening, but not because of the lack of lasers! The fact that the 4 year old was in a shopping cart rings alarm bells, I'm going to speculate that the 76 year old looking after her couldn't control the child and so had to contain her as best she could in the shop so that she could concentrate. As soon as they're out of the shop it's a free-for-all. No point in speculation as to what happened next..child got nailed by a train. The scenario leading up to the tragedy is no different to the children we see uncontrolled in parking lots, or trailing behind as folks cross the road. Very sad for the family and for the train driver and very very avoidable.

1 ( +4 / -3 )

Very sad story, but what was granny doing with a store shopping cart?

1 ( +3 / -2 )

RIP. poor little girl..

i can imagine such a tragedy could happen since i got a tiny girl who is hard to be under controlled. once we lose sight of them, there is a possibility to lose our precious ones life.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Frungy - You sounds like an expert on this subject. Please write up a proposal and sell it to JR Group. Thanks.

8 ( +8 / -0 )

I'm saddened but not surprised, given the lax attention given to young children in my small city alone. A day doesn't go by that I don't see absent-minded mothers or grandparents letting their toddlers roam free in front of them on the side of the road or as they walk through parking lots, to say nothing of kids not belted in while being driven around town.

4 ( +6 / -2 )

So sad... RIP little one...

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

For such a modern country Japan still has way more railway crossings than many other countries i have been to (e.g. in Europe, UK).

-3 ( +3 / -6 )

JapanGal, it doesn't say a store shopping cart.

Maybe the great-grandmother was pushing one of those erm, you know, shopping carts/strollers that they use to lean on?

3 ( +3 / -0 )

4 year olds are quick, 76 year olds are not. Little tyke and great-grandma, it seems that there are 2 generations of mothers who were at least a little negligent here.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

Little tyke and great-grandma, it seems that there are 2 generations of mothers who were at least a little negligent here

You have no idea where mum and grandmum were. They could be working, or ill, or even dead.

-1 ( +3 / -4 )

RIP little one!

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Level crossings in dense urban areas are extraordinarily dangerous.

The busiest, most central spot in my Tokyo neighborhood, filled with pedestrians and kids, is a level crossing, with express trains screaming past. I don't recall seeing anything like this in other developed countries.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

You have no idea where mum and grandmum were. They could be working, or ill, or even dead

In any case, leaving a 4 year old in the care of a 76 year old outside the home is not the best situation.

4 year olds are quick, 76 year olds are not

1 ( +3 / -2 )

Plain and simple, you always have to keep an eye out on children of that age. Very unfortunate, but don't believe there is a practical mechanism good enough to stop a wandering child from walking on the tracks.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Such a unfortunate tragedy that will undoubtedly affect a large number of people. From the grandmother, the family, train driver and maybe even passengers. RIP to this poor little girl and thoughts to her family and the train driver who has to live with this

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Great-grandma is clearly too old to take care of a highly mobile 4-year old. Now she and the parents will have to live with this.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Kariharuka, I see you mentioned "railway tragedies" , so that should include rail crossings and suicides, so the numbers would be interesting to see how other countries compare to Japan in that regards.

As much as this story is a shame, it's hard to point the finger at anyone.

I've seen, in Tokyo, countless numbers of elderly people struggling to control unruly and playful kids out shopping.

For whatever reason, this is an example of how the elderly might not be fit to cope with babysitting.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

The practical thing would have been for the great grandmother to look after the child and keep her out of trouble. Japanese parents always walk in front of their children and expect them to follow like little ducklings. Needless to say, we get a lot of lost kids during open base events. The lady probably walked half a kilometer before she knew the child was missing.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

The lady probably walked half a kilometer before she knew the child was missing.

I highly doubt that. The sudden noise of the train's emergency braking would have gotten EVERYONE's attention in the immediate area.

The person I feel sorry for the most is the train engineer. To see that little girl on the track and knowing there's no way in hell he can stop the train in time... He'll be re-living that horror every night in his dreams.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

kiwi07Nov. 19, 2012 - 01:39PM JST @Frungy Trains don`t stop like a slow moving car does. I have heard of examples of it taking more than 500 meters to stop a speeding train.

Trains take a very long time to stop, covering long stretches of ground in the process. The amount of ground covered is often much longer than the range of the driver's vision. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Headway#Railway_examples Just how far ahead do you want this laser to scan, half a kilometer, a kilometer? And every time something crosses in that far off distance the auto-breaking you suggest would have to fire off. If it is a passenger train there is also passenger safety that comes into the equation.

Thank you for proving my point for me. Sadly all those so quick with the thumbs-down button didn't grasp the basic idea. The simple problem is that the stopping distance of the train exceeds the distance at which an operator can see and identify obstructions, hence the need for some sort of mechanical aid. The cheapest and most effective solution would be a laser.

Firstly a laser beam scanning the track ahead could scan up to several kilometers in advance (assuming a direct line of sight, but obstructions could be dealt with by mirrors or other reflectors quite cheaply), software would allow the identification of obstructions on the track, to determine if they are moving or stationary (simply compare the object's position across several readings), and then choose a solution that maximises safety for all parties.

Kiwi, you make several incorrect assumptions. Firstly you assume that stopping the train suddenly WOULDN'T be in the passenger's best interests. If the obstruction is, for example, a moderate sized stone that has rolled onto the track instead of a little girl, then the train might derail and kill everyone, and so the risk of emergency braking would be justified. Secondly, stopping isn't the only option, even if it's a large dog then a decrease in speed and sounding an alarm would probably produce the desired effect at little or no risk to anyone. Remember that something as small as a penny in the right place can cause a train to derail, and a dog's collar might cause a derailing.

Finally, this technology would be cheap to implement, in the public and commuters' best interests, and frankly the safety precautions currently in place are laughable. Even the wikipedia article you quoted is aware of the problem, but no-one seems to have given any thought to solutions. I note that despite 18 thumbs down not ONE of my detractors proposed another viable solution. Criticism is easy, particularly when you clearly don't even understand the solution being proposed. Offer a better solution if you have one.

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

Or, how about a CCTV with a telephoto lens?

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Definitely sad and definitely a good suggestion to seek out all our engineering skills to augment train safety. Possibly a short wall or lightweight barrier that activates and deactivates as the train departs and arrives. Some additional safety is needed.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Frungy, just because they don't have an alternative doesn't mean they cant recognize a bad alternative when they see it. So you have all these laser beams shooting down the track and being "bent" around curves in the track using mirrors. Nice, but what happens if someone is on the track at the exact point where a mirror is? The beam has to leave the track in order to strike the mirror, meaning that part of the track is unprotected. Or are you suggesting that the mirrors be mounted ON the track and somehow lie flat before the train passes over them?

Regardless, as soon as the beam strikes the first mirror, you've lost any ability to garner ranging information from the laser beam because the mirror will change the wavelength of the beam. Track on even slight grades will need mirrors overhead and underneath to re-direct the beam where the track departs from or returns to level. The mirrors would need to be rigidly mounted so that they aren't wobbling in the wind, which then makes them susceptable to breakage or warping everytime there's an earthquake. (I hear that Japan has one or two of those every year.)

So count me in as one of those who gives you a thumbs down but doesn't have a viable alternative. The simple reason is that there IS no viable alternative.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

So sad!! Just so messed up!! Great grand mother?? Why did these parents even let their 4 year old out with a great grandmother?? This is not a technology problem! This is a problem of the human heart and these folks having no common sense!! Do we know if this old woman could not catch up to the little girl?? Where were the so called parents??????????? Now this poor little angle is dead!! RIP???

-3 ( +0 / -3 )

@frungy Lulz. Never played Japan rail simulator I guess. Apply the brakes 5% to hard and your passengers vomit and fall to the floor Nd get injured. Oh yeah. They all buy car and stop riding the trAin

0 ( +0 / -0 )

a child died and here is everybody arguing

my condolences to the family and friends !!

Frungy is right something can be done !!

my idea is that any train that is going to be travelling at high speeds, should have a few mini automated inspection cars { about the size of a toy car } running way far ahead enough of the heavy train and constantly communicating with the heavy train, and also the mini inspection cars should be equipped with cameras microphones, loud horns, soft packing at the front, an automated voice to warn anybody in danger, flashing lights { just in case a blind person is in danger }, a computer to slow down the train or even stop the train without any human at the wheel of the train, i also believe that such dangerous trains should have extra train engineers to monitor the information coming from all the mini car inspections. my guess is that a fast moving train should have six mini inspection cars for safer transportation for everybody !!. when the first mini inspection car finds a problem, then the second car should speed up to do further investigation of the problem, to better communicate with the engineers monitoring the tracks. maybe the first car should have more cameras, and other inspection devices. it would be nice to see the mini inspection cars run of rechargeable batteries, i have a feeling that for the time being it might be better to run the mini inspection cars with the same fuel that the heavy train uses.

the child was only four years old, i pray that the child is happy some where hear in our universe, and for the family to find peace with no young child.

safety is an education to live for !!

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

i also think that the mini inspection cars should be able to check the tracks for any damages to the track, like a track inspector built into the mini inspection cars.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

correction

flashing lights for death people

sorry !!

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

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