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Bullet train service disrupted by train enthusiast taking photos

45 Comments

A JR bullet train was delayed Wednesday after a train enthusiast was spotted leaning over a boundary fence next to the train line to take photos.

Central Japan Railway (JR Tokai) staff who noticed the man on an embankment near the shinkansen track judged the situation to be dangerous and ordered the driver to delay the arrival of the bullet train traveling between Nagoya and Gifuhashima stations until the man's safety could be confirmed, NTV reported.

JR Tokai said 13 trains were suspended for 25 minutes from just before 9 a.m., affecting more than 10,000 passengers.

The man, who was seen leaning over the embankment fence in Shintomi, was questioned by JR staff and explained that he often takes photos of trains as his hobby, NTV reported. The man was cautioned and released without charge being filed, JR said.

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45 Comments
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I like taking pictures of the trains... I take pictures from the platform though. So if the man leaned too far he could have toppled onto the tracks?

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

i dont get this... you take picture of a train on a certain spot many times.... and then what???

3 ( +3 / -0 )

I never did quite understand train enthusiasts. I mean, it's a train for Chrissake. Big deal. Seen one, seen 'em all.

-7 ( +6 / -14 )

Revenge of the nerds!

2 ( +4 / -2 )

Good call - he might have been a potential suicide. Protecting someone's life was put ahead of a travel schedule, which is as it should be.

1 ( +6 / -5 )

Tetsudo otaku hehe

-1 ( +3 / -4 )

These tecchans are so stupid and disruptive. He should have been given a fine for trespassing and disrupting the train service.

-2 ( +3 / -5 )

Obstruction of business is a crime here.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

damn tourist, LOL

-4 ( +1 / -5 )

@chinchan "i dont get this... you take picture of a train on a certain spot many times.... and then what???"

And then - you don't have to think about your life and how sad it is for a few more hours spend looking at those pictures.

-8 ( +0 / -8 )

was this for the last run of the 300 series bullet train today? In that case I'm not surprised since they sold out in under 1 minute.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Hey Sarcasm 321 - You're not surprised that Japan is the capital of "Nerds?"

-3 ( +1 / -4 )

I can see a lawsuit coming up against this bloke - if even a few of the thousands of salarymen on board missed a high-powered business meeting, their companies may have lost millions of dollars. Could be a costly mistake, trainspotter!

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

Justice would be dumping this guy in a room with the 10,000+ people he inconvenienced. I think these dudes would think twice before doing this kind of stupid action in the future.

-3 ( +1 / -4 )

Loss of revenue case.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

He should be sent on a one-way ticket, to the island of Sodor.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

God knows how many tripod carrying losers I have seen here in my time... It is a TRAIN!

-5 ( +1 / -6 )

He should have been fined for causing delays to those 13 trains. That might have made him (and others like him) think twice the next time they feel like hanging over safety rails just to take a photograph. As it is, he didn't suffer any penalty at all.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

I never did quite understand train enthusiasts. I mean, it's a train for Chrissake. Big deal. Seen one, seen 'em all.

I take exception to such comments. Who are you to judge what some people like and don't like.

4 ( +7 / -3 )

Well he is not into hentai stuff. The train companies should have special photographing spots and aids. The train photographing people will belong to a club and pay dues to offset the costs. The railroad could make some money from them and protect their safety at the same time. During my last trip home I stayed in downtown Naha since my brother turned the house into a parking lot. There are a number of perverts that hang around there. Anyhow Train Otaku are much less bothersome than hentai.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

I don't believe what he did was

stupid

at all. if you want to take pictures, then do so but don't endanger yourself.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

I bet the 10,000+ people must of been glad to hear that the reason they were disrupted was because of some twonk who has a fetish for trains.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

The train companies should have special photographing spots and aids. The train photographing people will belong to a club and pay dues to offset the costs. The railroad could make some money from them and protect their safety at the same time.

The only problem with your idea is that, once a photo has been taken from a "photographing spot", it's been DONE and photographers will want a photo taken from a DIFFERENT angle/perspective and or background. That's probably why this guy was hanging over the boundary fence - to get a new angle for the photo or to eliminate the boundary fence from the scene.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

JR big boss:"oh no, our spotless arrival record is now down the drain, darn this otaku...mumble, mumble..."

It was a good call anyway, it might have been a suicide attempt, or the guy could have lost his head out a limb. The shinkansen drives awfully close to the barriers...

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

I don't understand why he wasn't fined. In any other situation the suspect would be fined for causing such terrible delays and affecting the lives of others. Just because he is a train otaku he gets away with this. Strange Japan.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

@ tmarie:

Yes, it is a train.

And mrsynik has a point. Who are you to sit in judgement over what other people do and do not like?

We all have hobbies and specific interests that, to outsiders might appear to be strange, ludicrous or bizarre.

But if it is a hobby or interest that doesn't cause harm to others (e.g. child porn) or involves sadistic cruelty to people or animals (e.g. dog-fighting), then what is wrong with it?

The man in the story likes taking photos of trains. To him, it might be something that makes his voyage through this veil of sorrows that we know as "life" a little more bearable.

The same could be said of attending a football match, or a baseball match (which is more acceptable socially), or collecting postage stamps or Maneki Neko statues.

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

@ Wilke:

I agree with you that there isnt anything wrong really with having an ineterest in something like trains. And it is a harmless thing to be Otaku about which is good. Everyone has different hobbies which is great to see in a country as conformist as Japan.

but, I do think he should have been fined for causing the train delays. In Japan, where many people rely on trains to get to and from work, timeliness is taken very seriously. I have heard of universities and companies that wont even accept the paper given from the train station proving the presence of a dely as a viable excuse.

example: my ex-boyfriend (japanese) missed a final exam at his university due to his train being delayed (suicide on the tracks). He got the document from JR stating what train he was on, the amount of time the delay was, reason for the delay (suicide), etc... His University or Proffessor (not sure which had the power to decide this) still wouldnt let him retake his final exam even though the delay was out of his control. He was late and missed the exam the reason why didn:t matter at all. There are many companies like this as well where the boss wouldnt really care why their employee was late. to them late is late.

This train Otaku was being slightly selfish in my oppinion ignoring the safety boundry at the expence of the 10000 commuters who may or may not have been affected significantly by this delay only to take a few pictures of a bullet train. He may not have meant any harm but he very much could have caused some and even maybe significantly disrupted someone elses life because of his hobby.

He should have been fined. I would think a warning and a small fine (nothing exorbant) would suffice but he should have had to pay something. In the very least to discourage him or other train enthusiests from causing this sort of disturbance again.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

@YuriOtani "Well he is not into hentai stuff" - we have no way of knowing that.

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

@Wilke Of course everybody can have the hobby they want as long as they don't break any laws. They have every right to.

Just as I have every right to despise them.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

By how I read the story, kyushugrl84, the photographer was not on the train corridor, but was leaning over the boundary fence in a manner that caused a JR Tokai worker concern for his safety.

The article says that he was cautioned but not charged (or fined).

That was probably sufficient as punishment. Sure, some passengers might have been rejected for jobs or failed exams because their train was delayed -- but will fining the photographer get those people those jobs or suddenly get them to pass the exam? And being cautioned (most likely in quite strong terms) has probably shamed the poor bloke into not going to such extremes again.

I was in Japan last week, and on 6, 7, 8, and 9 of February all westbound Shinkansen through Okayama were running about 30 minutes late. I assumed the reason might have been due to weather (snow) conditions somewhere between Kyoto and Tokyo. To me, it was just a slight annoyance (the beloved went cranky at me because she was waiting for 40 minutes outside Fukuyama Station with one boisterous child and one over-tired child), but to others it might have been a considerable inconvenience. But in the case of an "act of God" (like a snowstorm), who does JR apply to for recompense?

On a personal note, I drive trains in Australia. Just before Christmas, we encountered a train-spotter taking photos of our rather grubby-looking coal train as it went past at 60km/h. The train-spotter wasn't hanging over a fence -- he was standing in the middle of the other track, with his back to any approaching trains (on a stretch of track where the trains are doing up to 80km/h).

There was no point in reporting this idiot, as he would have been back in his car and long gone before the police arrived.

We saw him again, about 60km later, standing at a level crossing and on the ballast of our track as we went past at 60km/h. The only more dangerous place to stand would be in the middle of the track.

My colleague that day and I discussed this idiot, and we both agreed that the serious rail otaku know enough about the object of their affection to know not to stand in such a suicidal spot.

My objection was, though, to the posters here whose point was "ha, ha, ha, {guffaw}. What an idiot, taking pictures of trains!!!" I'd be curious to know what those people's hobbies are, and if they would appreciate others laughing at them for pursuing those hobbies.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

JR Tokai said 13 trains were suspended for 25 minutes from just before 9 a.m., affecting more than 10,000 passengers.

I missing something here. It took 25 mins for them to get the guy to move? Or did they wait for him to move? If its dangerous shouldnt they have gotten some security staff to remove him. Was there no sign?

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

Please note that once train services are suspended, it takes time to give the OK to resume operations. In this case, the photographer had to be questioned to make sure he was just that. The tracks also had to be checked before the all-clear could be given.

Ain't it sad, the only bullet trains on the Tokaido Shinkansen from March will be those ugly UGLY platypuses. I bet he was trying to take last pictures of the 300 series that will go out of service next month.

As a kid, I used to be in awe of the 300 series' for its sleekness. But I don't know kids these days will make of Shinks on the Tokaido line. They'll probably stop begging their parents to let them ride those god awful looking things.

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

Who are you to sit in judgement over what other people do and do not like? We judge and get judged all the time. Fact of life that perhaps you should get over? By all means, have a hobby but when it causes safety concerns and holds other up and causes problems, I will certainly pass judgement.

On a personal note, I drive trains in Australia Explains a lot.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

Was he trying to take pictures of the lucky yellow shinkansen?

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

I take photographs of trains sometimes... and I'm not a nerd. Some of them are quite beautiful technological wonders... Japan builds the best trains in the world by far!

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

@ tmarie:

I use to like your comments most of time, and would like to hope you are just having a bad day, or you were on delayed train, but your comments toward Wilki is baffling and very condescending.Yes, people are judgmental, it is one of humanity's worse traits, and good politeness and decorum dictate we do not do that.

Maybe internet has taken good sense of courtesy out of people's minds and put bad things in people's mouths. But to dismiss one person's hobby like that is just ignorant. and I agree with Wilki the same can be said for any sports fan, car enthusiast or TV show fan. Wilki's comments do not seemed to be aimed at the delay but in response to an attack you made on persecution of someone else's hobby.

Then you close you attack his career field. Without train drivers you would spend much time walking. Good ot see Japanese politeness is not lost on you.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

@tmarie:

Explains a lot

Yes, it does. It explains that I have a better knowledge of this subject than you apparently do.

As for your other points: to reply to them would stray too much from the topic.

The moderator mentioned that the delay was due to the enthusiastic photographer being interviewed and a physical track inspection had to be done to ensure trains would be able to operate safely over the track. On the Tokaido line, the Shinkansen travel at up to 270km/h. If I remember correctly, the speed for the section between Nagoya and Gifu-Hashima is one of the 270km/h sections. The nose-cone of the trains is rather fragile and is little more than a streamlined fibreglass shroud over a concealed coupler. A collision at speed with a relatively small piece of debris on the track could prove disastrous, so there had to be a detailed physical inspection of the track (which would have involved people walking the track) before the next train could run.

The Shinkansen is a very expensive system to operate. The corridor from Tokyo to Hakata is nearly 1,200km long, and is a very secure rail corridor. Someone mentioned the "Doctor Yellow" train, which runs the length of the network constantly, inspecting the track for faults. If the crew on "Dr Yellow" locate something which might become a fault six months later, then that is put on the job-card for the maintenance workers who work on the track every night from midnight to 6am (there are over 3,000 who work every night on the 550km stretch between Tokyo and Shin-Osaka) to repair that night.

Usually, track repairs result in a temporary speed restriction over the piece of track that has just been repaired, so trains for the next month or so have to slow down to anywhere between 15km/h and 40km/h whilst they travel over the repaired track.

That doesn't happen with the Shinkansen, though. The first scheduled train the next day, after the track has been repaired, travels over it at normal speed (270km/h Tokaido, 300km/h for the Sanyo line).

And the fences protecting the corridor are as substantial as those you'd find around a sensitive military base or around a high-security prison. Even a minor breach of these fences, as in the case here of an overenthusiastic photographer leaning over the fence, is taken seriously.

Sure, the photographer wasn't fined or charged. He was just given a comprehensive telling-off. Nevertheless, the company did have to make sure that the track was safe for travel before they let the next train through.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

But to dismiss one person's hobby like that is just ignorant.

And yet, I don't see you commenting toward the poster than made the snide comments about soccer. See how it works? People judge each other. Learn to not take it personally or carry a grudge. I don't care what anyone does as long as it doesn't hurt/bother people. Train folks? By all means. I don't get, I shouldn't have to and that's fine - as long as they aren't harming others or putting people in harm's way. This guy did. Hence the comments.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

tmarie @ 40:

You now state that your comments are justified because, in your opinion, the photographer was "harming others or putting people in harm's way." I fail to see how your reference to "tripod carrying losers" at post 15 fits with your justification at post 40.

Did he hit someone on the head with his camera? Did he impale a poor unsuspecting JR employee with his tripod?

Let's go back to the gist of the story, and the moderator's later addition, in fewer than 40 words:

The photographer was leaning over a boundary fence in a way that a JR staffer judged as dangerous. The photographer was interviewed, and the track inspected, before any trains were allowed to proceed. No charges were laid.

No JR personnel were physically harmed. No JR passengers were physically harmed, nor were any put "in harm's way."

The only person who was in a dangerous situation was the photographer himself. The train operation was suspended so the photographer's individual and the railway's general safety could be assured.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

The tripod carrying losers are lined up on the platforms, their gear is in the way, I've personally seen people trip over their bags and get hit with their gear... Get it? That is causing issues.

Physically harmed isn't just the end of it - do you know how stressful it is to be stuck on a train later than you should be - be it for a meeting, a flight, a funeral, a wedding...? The guy was being selfish, held up hundreds of people and you're defending him because a few posters hurt your feelings by joking about the hobby? Laughable. The guy caused a delay for many which would have knock on affects. How do you know that someone didn't miss something important? What this guy did was harmful. End of story. Why he wasn't charged for the hold up is beyond me.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

@ tmarie:

The tripod carrying losers are lined up on the platforms, their gear is in the way, I've personally seen people trip over their bags and get hit with their gear... Get it? That is causing issues.

From Ueno to Hiroshima to Tottori, the only people I have seen lined up on subway, commuter line, trunk line and Shinkansen platforms are commuters and travellers. There are often special markings on the platforms for those people to line up between. They often have bags and other gear with them, and I have personally seen people trip over and get hit with those bags and other gear on escalators, in elevators and on stairways at railway stations in Japan.

do you know how stressful it is to be stuck on a train later than you should be -

Yes, I do know how stressful it is to be stuck on a train later than I should be. I was stuck on one last night, and I was one of its drivers.

A 51-year-old man had decided to catch the train before mine: unfortunately, it was a freight train and he lost his grip on the side of the waggon as it passed through a remote part of a mountainside.

Our train was the next through the spot, and we had to stop and try to keep him alive (he had lost a hand and a large part of his arm) with little more than a pot of boiling water and a trouser belt until the ambulance arrived.

We were there for more than two hours.

It is now just after sunrise, my work uniform and the driver's seat of my car is covered in that fellow's blood.

Yes, tmarie, I know very well how stressful it is to be stuck on a train, and in a way which I very much doubt you can comprehend.

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

Mate, relax. Enjoy your hobby but don't expect the rest of us to care or respect it. More so if someone you're defending with the same hobby has caused issues for others. You're coming off as being very uptight over it all.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

On my first trip to Akiba, I stumbled into a hobby shop.. I never realized how big rail-fandom was in Japan (I knew it was very popular).. They even have a maid cafe for railfans. I admit, I like trains, but not that hardcore.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

@tmarie.

I never said that photographing trains was my hobby. You erroneously assumed that it is.

I took objection to your slandering a group of people ("tripod losers") on the basis of a news report concerning an individual.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

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