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Woman killed after car is hit by bullet train in Yamagata


A woman was killed after the car she was driving was hit by a bullet train on a crossing in Takahata, Yamagata Prefecture, on Sunday morning.

According to police, the accident occurred at around 9:30 a.m. on the line between Fukushima and Shinjo stations. TV Asahi reported that the Tsubasa No. 123 shinkansen slammed into the car while it was cross the tracks. Police said the driver, a woman in her 30s, was killed instantly.

The crossing bar was down and police believe the woman's car might have got stuck in the snow on the tracks.

There were 290 passengers on the train; one woman suffered a light injury to her neck, JR officials said.

Yamagata shinkansen services were suspended for about four hours, affecting 6,980 passengers, JR said.

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shinkansen hitting a car...i am glad there are no more than one fatalities.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

The shinkansen line between Tokyo and Osaka hasn't any auto or pedestrian crossings and I was unaware that they existed elsewhere. While I don't know the speed at the accident point a bullet train could potentially be on top of you in a fractions of a second. Scary stuff.

5 ( +5 / -0 )

Ceasars Ghost! That could have been potentially disasterous for alot more people, thank goodness it was not. It does however raise many questions about how this occured and the potential for more similar blockages. A disaster waiting to happen. RIP

0 ( +0 / -0 )

@ paulinusa - this Shinkansen between Fukushima and Yamagata ( a line I use regularly) uses the same line as the local trains, quite low speeds (for a shink) and road crossings etc. Rest in Peace to the poor unfortunate lady.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

@Paulinusa, yes in Tohoku the Tsubasa drives on normal tracks, it's the only Shinkansen to do so. This knowledge was made possible by my son's "train period" when we studied about every kind of train together.

2 ( +4 / -2 )

Wow, I did not even know that Shinkansen trains have road crossings! The concept seems extraordinarily dangerous to me.

2 ( +3 / -1 )


The trains are shinkasen-style, but the tracks are standard, so the trains can't travel any faster than normal trains.

So "Shinkansen " is a bit of a misnomer, and the road crossings aren't really any more dangerous than those anywhere else.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

Poor lady driver. RIP

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Wow, I wonder if she een saw it coming?

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

The local tracks in the Yamagata area, from Fukushima to Shinjo, are built to the same gauge as Shinkansen tracks; this does permit a slightly higher speed (130 kph) than the regular JR tracks that are narrower (Cape Gauge). The Akita Shinkansen between Morioka and Akita is exactly the same. If the JR track were a little narrower, it would all be classified as a narrow gauge railway!

1 ( +1 / -0 )

This article is misleading because the train at that point in the journey no longer operates as a "bullet" train - should tead "car hit by train".

Very sad for the young woman all those who will miss her.

3 ( +6 / -3 )

sad, could have been worse, i don't know why Deja vu again said its misleading, the bullet train is called a bullet train, no matter what speed it's going,, if the train had stopped would you not call it a bullet train when not at the station.........

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Once the crossing bar is down, get out of the car and push the emergency button.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Yamagata Shink is one of those JR East Shinks that make you go, "Holy crap I forgot this line existed, I'm still flying though."

0 ( +0 / -0 )

I think JR East may have to seriously consider doing a lot of grade separation on the Akita and Yamagata "mini-Shinkansen" lines after they leave the Toukoku Shinkansen line. Those large trainsets could be coming at you at 130 km/h (81 mph) and it is a major collision hazard at grade crossings.

0 ( +0 / -0 )


Surely, at 81mph, it's not going to matter much whether you're hit by an eight-carriage bullet train or a six-carriage regular express. Either way you're not going to walk away from it....

1 ( +1 / -0 )


Even a small single-car local train like a KiHa 120 is a major hazard at grade crossings--especially given the size of the average automobile sold in Japan (where a Honda Fit--small by American standards--would be considered "regular" sized automobile).

I still hope the JR East looks at grade separating much of the low-speed lines where the E3 and E6 trainsets travel to increase safety--after all, JR East, JR Central, JR West and many private railways are spending a lot of money on grade separation projects on their regular lines in metro areas to stop unfortunate accidents like the one described in the article.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

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