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View Full Version : Train derails in Hyogo prefecture killing at least 49 people



Maciamo
Apr 25, 2005, 16:32
BBC News : Japanese train crash kills dozens (http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/asia-pacific/4480031.stm)


A train has derailed and hit a building in Japan, killing 49 people and injuring about 300 in Japan's worst rail crash in four decades.
The commuter train came off the tracks at Amagasaki near Osaka, 410km (255 miles) west of Tokyo, and one carriage rammed into a building.

Index
Apr 25, 2005, 19:15
Bad news. They say the driver on one of the trains only had eleven months driving experience and had been reported for over-shooting a station once.

Ikyoto
Apr 25, 2005, 20:09
The images on TV are disturbing, but I've always hated the use of TV news for tragedy. I hope the families of the dead will at LEAST recieve compensation for the wages their family members will have brought in and the cost of a decient funeral.

Mike Cash
Apr 25, 2005, 20:40
The TV did a public service by reporting the names of all the injured and the hospitals to which they had been transported.

From what I caught on the television in the break room after work:

1. The train was doing about 120km/hr on a stretch of track posted for 70km/hr
2. The first car went into the first floor parking garage of the apartment building. It is so far in there that it is hard to even see it. I didn't notice it until the announcer pointed it out.
3. The second car went sideways and smashed flat as a pancake against the second floor of the building. You can see the strap handles hanging out the window and down the side of the car. Imagine how you have to smash a car for that to happen.
4. The third car spun around 180 degrees, end-on-end.

My understanding of it is that the driver overshot the station at the previous station by three full car lengths. Recall all the times you've ridden the trains and been amazed at how they manage to stop the thing with the doors almost precisely aligned with the queueing marks on the platform. Reportedly, he was running a minute and a half behind schedule.

Pure conjecture here, but I can't imagine that a guy like that just started driving crappily today. If there is a past history of this, his superiors will come under intense scrutiny for allowing him to continue working without retraining and for putting him on that semi-express train. At any rate, he obviously had no business driving it.

Iron Chef
Apr 25, 2005, 20:43
Pretty nasty wreck. Japan has one of the safest mass transit systems in the world imho. It's looking more and more like the operator's action (or lack of) and incompetence has a high degree of blame for this incident. Condolences to family and friends if any of our members know someone involved.

Index
Apr 25, 2005, 20:55
Pure conjecture here, but I can't imagine that a guy like that just started driving crappily today. If there is a past history of this, his superiors will come under intense scrutiny for allowing him to continue working without retraining and for putting him on that semi-express train. At any rate, he obviously had no business driving it.

That's exactly what I thought. Just hope that there is an honest inquiry into it. This reminds me of the wierd would-be train conductors you sometimes see at train stations; they act like conductors but clearly are not :nuts:

lexico
Apr 25, 2005, 21:10
any foreigner living in Japan...will tell you what a godsend the train system is over here; punctual to the minute, and very rarely late.
The train overran a stop at the previous station and so it backtracked, so I guess the driver was in a hurry because the train was running late.
Thinking about it, once or twice I have felt the train a bit fast around that area, perhaps because the next stop, Amagasaki, is a rather busy station (8 platforms), so quite often if the train is only just a minute late during the rush hour, it can miss its slot resulting in a 5-10 minute delay waiting for a new slot. There seems to be some suspicions in this case that that was perhaps a cause of the speeding.If these observations are true, then the accident is more due to the extreme unwillingness to accept a mistake in the past and accept the consequences . Anybody who's driven long distance on a tight schedule will know how hard it is to make up for lost time. My rule of thumb says I have to speed up 25% or more to make up for a 10% time loss. Maybe these proverbs can help ease people's tenseness about being late.

"Better late than never."
"Better late & alive than dead & punctual."
"Accept who you are."
"Shi* happens."
"Who cares ?"

I see the same mindset that has caused other weird behavior such as denying one's past action; but I too have made mistakes of similar nature. 30 min late, take a short cut, 2 hour late or get lost forever ! Stupid is as stupid does ! Just admit I'm a lazy person and things would have turned out 1,000 times better. Likewise, an incompetent-or-absent-minded driver is better than incompetent-&-too-sensitive-to-take-cricicism-&-derailing driver.

"I accept that I am a bit incompetent. I accept the criticism with ease. By being late, at least I didn't kill you. And my mother and girlfriend still think I'm cute."

Something's not being taught in school. This accident should go into every textbook of civics &/or history. At least the railway service people (plus amusement park people) should get some safety training in pre-hazard management.

Mike Cash
Apr 25, 2005, 21:41
A proverb that overly pushed long distance truck drivers sometimes tell their dispatchers in regard to a "hot load" (meaning: one that shipped late but they want it there on time anyway)

"That hot load is going to cool off mighty quick in the ditch"

DoctorP
Apr 26, 2005, 00:28
Definitely a tragedy...and there really is no doubt in my mind that the conductor is at fault. What needs to be addressed, is was he under pressure from Supervisor's to get the train back on schedule? (it appears as though the train was running behind schedule!) IF this is the case, then more people are to blame for this accident as well! One thing to remember...if one train is late, it will cause other trains on the same track to be late as well, thus there was probably much pressure from his supervisors to get the train back on time. I have been in the control room for the shinkansen and let me tell you that it is a very stressfull environment for these guys to work in. (the controllers that is)

Mike Cash
Apr 26, 2005, 06:11
Do you mean the conductor? Or the driver?

DoctorP
Apr 26, 2005, 13:24
ummm driver! my bad~

XTC33
Apr 26, 2005, 18:45
There's always the pros and cons of railway privatizations. British railways faced the same problem. 73 dead and 441 injured as of today. Condolences.

Mike Cash
Apr 26, 2005, 22:22
I wish you would elaborate on what way you think the privatization of JNR may have been a contributing factor in this. After all, the privatization happened quite a while ago and they have run untold tens of thousands of trains without incidents even remotely approaching this. And also remember that even when JR was JNR there were also quite a number of private lines, just as there are today.

DoctorP
Apr 26, 2005, 22:39
I was told of another derailment today, but only one person injured...did anyone else hear anything about it?

Mike Cash
Apr 26, 2005, 23:47
Yes, it was somewhere in Ibaraki Prefecture, I believe. This one was caused by a conflict of interest. A truck was interested in crossing the tracks at the same time a train was interested in traveling down them.

geist_seig
Apr 26, 2005, 23:50
That just really sucks, at least it better then choaking to death a marshmellow..while some freind is recording it..

Mike Cash
Apr 26, 2005, 23:53
Look for the total number of dead to continue to rise:

http://headlines.yahoo.co.jp/hl?a=20050426-00000014-yom-soci

Flashjeff
Apr 27, 2005, 17:57
The news about the crash in Japan is big news here in the States. A sad incident indeed as the death toll continues to rise. As someone who loves riding trains and rides them daily to and from work, this hits me hard. Any word about the driver? Has he been found, or is he among the dead? If he's alive, I can't imagine the emotional torment he's going through, causing a catastrophe that cost so many lives. If that disaster had happened here in the U.S. and the driver survived, he'd already be lawyered up, in hiding and, having his mouthpiece loudly blaming the crash on everything except his client. My thoughts go out to the families of the victims and the survivors.

Mike Cash
Apr 27, 2005, 19:41
I just looked through the news on Yahoo, and I've tuned in NHK radio news several times today. I don't see anything about the driver. I did hear that after the first car ran into the parking garage it came to a stop by slamming into a wall. Between the telephone pole, the cars, the wall, his position in the train, and the lack of a seatbelt, my guess is that he is dead.

kirei_na_me
Apr 27, 2005, 19:54
I was wondering the same thing about the driver, but after watching NHK and reading reports, my husband said that he is still alive and in the hospital?

Does anyone know for sure?

Mike Cash
Apr 27, 2005, 22:49
Yesterday they were reporting him as 重体. Given the "they don't say Hanes until I say they say Hanes" approach to declarations of death here (you're not dead until a doctor says so, especially with regard to media reports) it may be that he has been spotted in the train but not yet removed and officially pronounced dead. Or he may be alive and in the hospital.

How much you wanna bet they don't release the name of the hospital? The names of the hospitals the injured were transported to was released and put up on television, which was a good thing. I saw a report today that at least once people were hauled to the hospital by truck. In the hours immediately following the accident they had already announced the names of 239 injured passengers and the hospitals to which they had been taken. Of course, there's no way the ambulance service alone could handle that.

Mike Cash
Apr 27, 2005, 22:53
Every day at work, as I observe others driving around me, several times I will remark to myself "There's no shortage of idiots in the world."

Check out this idiot:

http://headlines.yahoo.co.jp/hl?a=20050427-00000169-mai-soci

Mike Cash
Apr 27, 2005, 23:07
Just found this:

http://headlines.yahoo.co.jp/hl?a=20050427-00000000-san-soci

According to the last sentence, a dead body wearing a train driver's uniform was found in the first car. Police are trying to figure out if it was Takami or not. Gotta love their thoroughness.

Pachipro
Apr 27, 2005, 23:18
I was wondering the same thing about the driver, but after watching NHK and reading reports, my husband said that he is still alive and in the hospital?

Does anyone know for sure?
I couldn't find out on any Japanese sites either. However, I did hear on Fox news about 30 min ago that they did find the driver and he was dead. However, he was so badly mangled that they have to do an autopsy to confirm that it is him.

It's also reported that the train was going 108km/hr around that curve when he should've been going 70! A few survivors interviewed said there was no emergency braking before impact.

I just saw that Mike had posted the info while I was typing this.

kirei_na_me
Apr 28, 2005, 00:14
Thank you both for clearing that up. I have been wondering about the driver ever since it happened.

By the way, is a 23 year old driver common? It just seems that's a little young for operating something like that?

Maciamo
Apr 28, 2005, 00:22
The driver is dead, but the conductor who was responsible for his supervision was not on the train at that time (from what I heard) and the police was looking for him for interrogation, although he was nowhere to be found (guess he doesn't want to be held responsible for the death of so many people!).

Pachipro
Apr 28, 2005, 02:33
Thank you both for clearing that up. I have been wondering about the driver ever since it happened.

By the way, is a 23 year old driver common? It just seems that's a little young for operating something like that?
I doubt if it is common, but it may be today. Please check out my post here (http://www.wa-pedia.com/forum/showthread.php?p=197878#post197878) for my reasoning.

Pachipro
Apr 28, 2005, 02:40
The driver is dead, but the conductor who was responsible for his supervision was not on the train at that time (from what I heard) and the police was looking for him for interrogation, although he was nowhere to be found (guess he doesn't want to be held responsible for the death of so many people!).
I'm a little confused here.

The conductor responsible for the engineer's (driver's) supervision? That sure is news to me. I thought it was the other way around. I always thought that the engineer was the "captain" of the train and he supervised everyone else.

Also, why was the conductor not on the train at the time of the wreck? Did he get off at the previous stop or did he escape after the wreck? (Not being sarcastic here, just asking for clarification.)

Flashjeff
Apr 28, 2005, 05:41
Thank you both for clearing that up. I have been wondering about the driver ever since it happened.

By the way, is a 23 year old driver common? It just seems that's a little young for operating something like that?

In some cases, it's more common than you know. When I was 19, I was at the helm of a billion dollar warship during my Navy days. But then, being in the middle of the ocean is a hell of a lot more different than driving a train packed with people, but the concept is there, and so are the consequences of failure, especially in the military where young men (and women) in their early twenties are flying fighter jets, operating tanks or, like me, steering Navy vessels.

Dutch Baka
Apr 28, 2005, 05:55
I was shocked when i heard this on the news. not only because of the people but also because of something else..

i woke up in the morning,, put on my tv, and saw the train crash ( they said osaka... but i know that they wouldnt say hyogo...) because my girl live in that area, i decided to put on my internet, and look where it was... when i saw it was in hyogo,, i was getting scared!!!!

the area where it happend, was was the same area my girl is working, and she travel from west-kobe to there everyday,,, i thought maybe something happend to hear.. ( you never know in this world) i try to call her, but she didnt pick up her phone... i try to call here home, but nobody was home, i tried it again 15min later and her mom pick up ... now the problem is i can not talk japanese, and she can not talk english... after 15min talk ( yes this long) i realise that my girl was okay, because she takes the SUBWAY, and not the train... later that afternoon i called her on her mobile phone from my work...

i was pretty scared and im happy nothing happen to her,,

i feel Really sorry for all this people who died, and all the injured people... things like this happen in life... but nobody want to have it like this.. so my condolecance to everybody who lost familie in there ( even they wont read this)

greetings DB

senseiman
Apr 28, 2005, 11:49
I used to live in Hyogo and went have been through Amagasaki on the train more times than I can count. I only moved back to Canada four weeks ago and am extremely saddened to see this.

About the speeding, they said it would take 133kmh for speed to have caused the train to derail so if it was only going 100kmh I doesn't seem likely that was the main cause of the crash. I also don't see what the driver's age could have to do with it. Trains aren't like cars, planes and boats, if there was trouble the number of options is pretty limited given the complete lack of any steering system.

Mike Cash
Apr 28, 2005, 20:06
In some cases, it's more common than you know. When I was 19, I was at the helm of a billion dollar warship during my Navy days. But then, being in the middle of the ocean is a hell of a lot more different than driving a train packed with people, but the concept is there, and so are the consequences of failure, especially in the military where young men (and women) in their early twenties are flying fighter jets, operating tanks or, like me, steering Navy vessels.

But, let's remember, being "at the helm" and "having the helm" are two radically different things. It was the OOD or the Conning officer who had the helm.

Mike Cash
Apr 28, 2005, 20:09
I also don't see what the driver's age could have to do with it.

Ask your car insurance agent what age could have to do with it. Hint: It's related to premiums.

senseiman
Apr 29, 2005, 02:57
Ask your car insurance agent what age could have to do with it. Hint: It's related to premiums.

Yeah, with a car or other type of vehicle I can see. But with a train? I'm not an engineer but it seems to me that beyond accelerating and braking there aren't a lot of options for a train driver in an emergency. So I really don't see how his age would have had much to do with it. Of course I don't know all the facts, but all I've been hearing about in the media is this poor guy's youth and lack of experience without anyone explaining how exactly those could have been factors in the crash.

Pachipro
Apr 29, 2005, 03:53
So I really don't see how his age would have had much to do with it. Of course I don't know all the facts, but all I've been hearing about in the media is this poor guy's youth and lack of experience without anyone explaining how exactly those could have been factors in the crash.


Ask your car insurance agent what age could have to do with it. Hint: It's related to premiums.
Of course his age had a lot to do with it in my opinion. As the media stated, it could have been his lack of experience and youth. Think about it and what Mike Cash stated above. There is a reason why auto premiums are so high for the young. It is because they don't have the experience and training. And they take more chances than someone with more maturity and experience because they feel invulnerable and feel they will not die. Why is it that so many more young people in their late teens and early 20's die in car wrecks than any other age? With many of them having wrecks around curves? It's because they don't have the experience.

This is my opinion and my opinion only and I could very well be 100% wrong. If I am I will apologize. But I think back to video games and how they are so popular with young people. He probably played the very popular (in Japan) game "Densha de GO!!" ( a pretty realistic video game where you are the engineer of actual JR trains and are expected to stay on time for a higher score) in his late teens (and maybe led him to be an engineer.) And, if you are behind schedule in that game, you can speed to make up time with no consequences other than you have to start over.

He was behind schedule and had overrun a few stations in the past. He probably sped to make up the time, miscalculated the curve (103km/h vs 70km/h for the curve), and it jumped the tracks crashing into an apartment building killling over 100 people. The game was not reset and he did not have the chance to do it over again. Maybe in is mind he was playing "Densha de GO!!"

NO matter what, I still feel that his age, his lack of experience, and his immaturity will be major factors in this tragedy. I don't think an older man with more experience and maturity would have been so foolish as to take a curve at that speed.

I am no expert here. This is just my opinion and observation no matter how foolish it may sound..

DoctorP
Apr 29, 2005, 09:18
Please remember in any major accident that the media immediately looks for a "scapegoat" whether he was fully at fault or not! It gives the victims a little closure to know that the blame has been fully assigned and they know where to focus their anger and grief!

senseiman
Apr 30, 2005, 01:41
Of course his age had a lot to do with it in my opinion. As the media stated, it could have been his lack of experience and youth. Think about it and what Mike Cash stated above. There is a reason why auto premiums are so high for the young. It is because they don't have the experience and training. And they take more chances than someone with more maturity and experience because they feel invulnerable and feel they will not die. Why is it that so many more young people in their late teens and early 20's die in car wrecks than any other age? With many of them having wrecks around curves? It's because they don't have the experience.

This is my opinion and my opinion only and I could very well be 100% wrong. If I am I will apologize. But I think back to video games and how they are so popular with young people. He probably played the very popular (in Japan) game "Densha de GO!!" ( a pretty realistic video game where you are the engineer of actual JR trains and are expected to stay on time for a higher score) in his late teens (and maybe led him to be an engineer.) And, if you are behind schedule in that game, you can speed to make up time with no consequences other than you have to start over.

He was behind schedule and had overrun a few stations in the past. He probably sped to make up the time, miscalculated the curve (103km/h vs 70km/h for the curve), and it jumped the tracks crashing into an apartment building killling over 100 people. The game was not reset and he did not have the chance to do it over again. Maybe in is mind he was playing "Densha de GO!!"

NO matter what, I still feel that his age, his lack of experience, and his immaturity will be major factors in this tragedy. I don't think an older man with more experience and maturity would have been so foolish as to take a curve at that speed.

I am no expert here. This is just my opinion and observation no matter how foolish it may sound..

Yes, I understand that and it may be that his youth did play a factor. What I don't understand is this: investigators say they have found evidence that the train hit a rock on the tracks. If the train hit a rock causing it to derail or if some other external factor played a major role (which seems likely given that the train wasn't going fast enough to derail from excessive speed alone) then there really wouldn't have been anything the driver - regardless of age or experience - could have done to stop it so I don't see how his age would have played a major role.

The only thing you could argue is that his lack of experience caused him to speed in the first place. But I've ridden that very train line hundreds of times and know for a fact that the drivers speed up to keep on schedule all the time. If they don't the number of people waiting on the platform at other stations can swell to ridiculous sizes. So I think that even an experienced driver would have been tempted to speed if he was behind schedule.

I'm guessing that a lot of factors contributed to this crash and the drivers lack of experience is only one of them, not necessarily the main one.

Elizabeth
Apr 30, 2005, 08:39
I used to live in Hyogo and went have been through Amagasaki on the train more times than I can count. I only moved back to Canada four weeks ago and am extremely saddened to see this.
I'm having trouble understanding how a driver could overrun a station, which apparently contributed to or even caused the initial delay, although overruns of 10 meters or more are not necessarily so uncommon and have been reported at least six times on various JR runs since the accident.

Is the station where the overrun happened in this case, Itami Station, fairly small (seems unlikely for a kaisoku) and just wasn't noticed, or more likely the driver wasn't able to deaccelerate in time to meet the platform ?

Mike Cash
Apr 30, 2005, 19:00
I used to live in Hyogo and went have been through Amagasaki on the train more times than I can count. I only moved back to Canada four weeks ago and am extremely saddened to see this.

About the speeding, they said it would take 133kmh for speed to have caused the train to derail so if it was only going 100kmh I doesn't seem likely that was the main cause of the crash. I also don't see what the driver's age could have to do with it. Trains aren't like cars, planes and boats, if there was trouble the number of options is pretty limited given the complete lack of any steering system.

Take another look at the "they said....133kmh":
http://headlines.yahoo.co.jp/hl?a=20050429-00000001-yom-soci

Elizabeth
May 1, 2005, 01:05
There may be still be conflicting speed readings from different monitors and cars, although the latest NHK report I'm aware of supports the 100 kmh number.

Mike Cash
May 1, 2005, 09:47
I believe if you'll look carefully, you'll find that they all say "over 100"...not 100. They just don't say how much over 100.

Did anyone read the article I linked?

Elizabeth
May 1, 2005, 11:38
Anyway, NHK doesn't give the speed limit in all their reporting either (at 70 kmh) but Asahi News to the rescue ! always with more precise detail, puts the actual number at 108 kmh. :relief:

Mike Cash
May 1, 2005, 12:14
I'm sure my fellow articulated vehicle operator Pachipro will agree that

articulated vehicle + high speed + high center of gravity + braking in a curve = recipe for disaster.

Pachipro
May 2, 2005, 13:36
Anyway, NHK doesn't give the speed limit in all their reporting either (at 70 kmh) but Asahi News to the rescue ! always with more precise detail, puts the actual number at 108 kmh.
As of 12:25pm May 2, 2005 TBS is reporting on their Biglobe broadband site (http://broadband.biglobe.ne.jp/index_news1.html) that the driver was indeed travelling at 108km/hr. Good video and analysis.


I'm sure my fellow articulated vehicle operator Pachipro will agree that

articulated vehicle + high speed + high center of gravity + braking in a curve = recipe for disaster.
Very true. I'm sure both of us have seen more than a few high profile vehicles on their sides around curves due to their high speed. I'll tell you one thing though, nothing loosens up your bowels, and puts your heart in your throat faster than driving a 70,000lb vehicle around a curve and realizing you may be going a bit to fast to take the curve even when you are doing the speed limit. :relief:

Pachipro
May 2, 2005, 13:45
I'm guessing that a lot of factors contributed to this crash and the drivers lack of experience is only one of them, not necessarily the main one.
True. It has also come out in recent news reports that the drivers of those trains are severely disciplined if they are more than 10 seconds late. They receive extra pay for being a driver and if they are late they lose that pay and are forced to do menial tasks around the office and building where they work out of, like water the plants, sweep, etc. It is very humiliating for them.
I knew they were strict, but I didn't know they were that strict. How like a Japanese company. Does anyone think JR should share some blame in this for strict and humiliating punishments?

Also, it was talked about among the drivers where one could speed in order to make up for lost time. It was said that one could indeed speed around that curve, but not 108 km/h. I think it was around 80-90km/h, but I don't remember.

Mike Cash
May 5, 2005, 01:27
I heard the other day that news has come out that two other train drivers were catching a ride to work on the train which derailed. One was in car #4 and the other was in car #6. Neither was injured.

The reason they were in the news was that rather than assisting passengers on the wrecked train, they both left the scene and walked on to the next station and went to work.

Elizabeth
May 5, 2005, 02:01
I heard the other day that news has come out that two other train drivers were catching a ride to work on the train which derailed. One was in car #4 and the other was in car #6. Neither was injured.

The reason they were in the news was that rather than assisting passengers on the wrecked train, they both left the scene and walked on to the next station and went to work.
It seems at the behest of their superiors they were repeatedly advised not to clock in late. The engineers both say the conveyed the severity of the scene to West JR managers in the strongest possible terms.

Mike Cash
May 5, 2005, 03:06
Nothing excuses railroad employees walking away from the accident without rendering whatever assistance they could.

This reminds me of the cruise ship which got into trouble a few years ago and the crew abandoned ship, leaving the passengers behind.

Flashjeff
May 5, 2005, 05:02
I agree wholeheartedly with Mike! To have walked away from such a catastrophe because they didn't want to clock in late is inexcusable and reprehensible. And don't think JR West won't catch holy hell over that! If I were running the show over there, I'd fire those employees AND their supervisors on the bloody damn spot!

Mike Cash
May 5, 2005, 12:20
Every time I see the head of JR West on television I can't help but think that 20 or 30 years ago he would have taken a dive off a tall building by now. Or at least resigned.

Not that I'm saying I think he should jump, just that the culture of Japanese corporate management has certainly entered a new era.

Elizabeth
May 5, 2005, 12:43
Every time I see the head of JR West on television I can't help but think that 20 or 30 years ago he would have taken a dive off a tall building by now. Or at least resigned.

Not that I'm saying I think he should jump, just that the culture of Japanese corporate management has certainly entered a new era.
As the scandals and negligence mount up they won't be able to continue making excuses like not grasping the situation or poor communication reports from employees at the site of the crash.

Although I'm not sure what his role if any in this was, tragically enough there has already been a suicide (兵庫労働局長が首つり自殺), the head of the Hyougo Bureau of Labor hung himself.

Iron Chef
May 5, 2005, 22:14
Carrying on a company sponsored bowling tournament and drinking party despite knowing the seriousness of the accident at the time? Wow, these guys are shameless...

Pachipro
May 6, 2005, 01:19
I heard the other day that news has come out that two other train drivers were catching a ride to work on the train which derailed. One was in car #4 and the other was in car #6. Neither was injured.

The reason they were in the news was that rather than assisting passengers on the wrecked train, they both left the scene and walked on to the next station and went to work.
I missed that. Thanks. That is so unfu*%ing believable, but so like the Japanese to follow unquestionably the orders of their superiors and the rules of the company no matter what. Had they stayed behind and assisted they would probably be national heroes. How could they even live with themselves after what they did? I hope they, and JR West get smeared all to hell in the papers and on the news. I don't know why it pisses me off being over here in the US, but it does. :angryfire

Elizabeth
May 6, 2005, 03:20
Carrying on a company sponsored bowling tournament and drinking party despite knowing the seriousness of the accident at the time? Wow, these guys are shameless...
How many people they knew were seriously injured I don't know....they certainly shouldn't be saying there was the possiblity it wasn't that serious, so we went ahead anyway. :okashii:

Mike Cash
May 6, 2005, 03:21
As Iron Chef pointed out, the news coming out about the bowling and drinking isn't helping then any. Every time I see the president of JR West on television he has this look of "Hey, I'm not the one who derailed the damned thing. Why do I have to put up with this crap?" on his ugly puss.

The news reported last night that the JR West goals for 2005 listed, in this order:

1. 稼ぐ
2. 目指す

The subtext under #2 talked about safety. Yes, they put making money ahead of safety. Not just in actual practice, but in their list of platitudes as well, which is unbelievable. One of the high muckety-mucks is on record as saying, in effect, "When it comes to safety and accident prevention, we'll try to prevent the big stuff, but we don't have enough money to even try to worry about it all...so screw the little stuff." I guess he never heard of the "....for want of a nail...." tale.

As each day goes by, something comes out that makes the entire upper management of JR West more and more despicable.

My son and I watched the news about this, and it was followed by disturbing footage and coverage of the North Korean missile tests. I told my son I found the JR West leadership more frightening than I do the North Koreans. After all, they and their ilk are a more present and imminent danger.

Mike Cash
May 6, 2005, 22:41
Tonight's news reported that since the accident, JR West mangement (at various levels) have held a total of 17 events such as bowling, drinking parties, and golf tournaments.

Nice to know the derailment hasn't put a crimp in their social calendar. I still can't believe none of these ba5tards has jumped yet. And it is certainly doing nothing positive for my longheld negative view of Kansai people, which until now I had desparately wanted to believe was irrational and unwarranted.

Elizabeth
May 6, 2005, 22:59
it is certainly doing nothing positive for my longheld negative view of Kansai people, which until now I had desparately wanted to believe was irrational and unwarranted.
I've always thought of Osakans as similar to Texans, garish and tawdry, loud and proud but never so negatively that they would do something as immoral as this. Either it is a sterotype and could have happened anywhere or I've not lived there for an extended enough period to discover any differently.

Mike Cash
May 11, 2005, 21:35
A news article, interspersed with some inexact translated highlights for those who can't read the original (and maybe some commentary) by me:


尼崎事故車両、カーブ手前で時速126キロ

126km/hr before the curve

 兵庫県尼崎市のJR福知山線事故で、事故車両は脱線 直前、カーブの制限速度の時速70キロを大幅に超える時速126 キロを出していたことが7日、国土交通省航空・鉄道事 故調査委員会の調べでわかった。

Investigators determined the train was going 126 just before the curve, which was posted for 70.



 事故車両に搭載されている「モニター制御装置」の解析によって割り出したもので、126キ ロが出ていたのは、高見隆二郎運転士(死亡)が非常ブレーキを作動させたわずか5秒前と見られている。事故調で は、直前の伊丹駅でオーバーランした高見運転士が、ダイヤの遅れを取り戻そうとして無理な「回復運 転」をした結果、異常な高速でカーブに進入したと断定した。

5 seconds before he slammed on the brakes, the speed was 126. (Data from onboard recorder)

 速度データが残っていたのは、事故車両の運転台に搭載されていたモニター制御装置で、非常ブレーキの作動前5秒以降の速度などを自動的に記録する仕組 みとなっている。

 これまでに非常ブレーキ作動時の速度が108キロとわかっていたが、事故調 でさらに解析を進めたところ、モニターに記録されたカーブ手前の速度は126キロと判明した。

Before, they had calculated he was going 108, but further analysis of the data made it clear 126 was the actual speed.

 通常の運転では、遅くとも現場カーブ手前380メートルの地点では十分に減速を終え、カーブには時速65キロ程度で進入している。

Normally, drivers slow down 380 meters before the curve, and enter the curve at about 65.

 今回の分析により、高見運転士はカーブ手前約200メートル程度の地点でなお、通常では考えられない速度を出 していたことが判明。事故調では、速度超過が転覆脱線の主要因となったことが、ほぼ 付けられたと見 ている。

At 200 meters before the curve, he was still flying down the track at 126. (Drivers normally slow down from a much lower speed at 380 meters, remember)
(読売新聞) - 5月8日3時5分更新


We all already know that he had overrun the previous station...by about 60 meters. And we all already know that he had overrun a station almost a year ago. But I have just been looking at some shocking articles on Yahoo Japan
(http://dailynews.yahoo.co.jp/fc/local/jr_fukuchiyama_accident/) and have learned that the Itami Station overrun immediately prior to the accident was....get this....his THIRD OVERRUN of THAT TRIP. He overran the first station of the run when he brought the train into the station from the yard, and he overran another station between that one and Itami.

Pachipro
May 12, 2005, 02:12
...and have learned that the Itami Station overrun immediately prior to the accident was....get this....his THIRD OVERRUN of THAT TRIP. He overran the first station of the run when he brought the train into the station from the yard, and he overran another station between that one and Itami.
Wow. Third overrun?? He must've been stoned or something. In all my years there I think I remember a train overrunning a station once. Thanks for the info MikeCash.

Flashjeff
May 12, 2005, 17:07
Wow. Third overrun?? He must've been stoned or something. In all my years there I think I remember a train overrunning a station once. Thanks for the info MikeCash.

Stoned? Doubtful. More than likely those mistakes the driver made in overrunning those stations was due to his lack of experience, so he tried to make up for lost time by speeding, and the rest, sad to say, was history. Hopefully, lessons will be learned from this tragedy so it never happens again.

Mike Cash
May 12, 2005, 19:28
Other stories report that he had mentioned to a friend the stress of being a driver for JR West (at least the stress of being a competent driver for JR West) and that he had been told the next time he screwed up he would be fired. We also know that on the Itami overrun he had asked the conductor to help him cover up the incident by vastly underreporting the distance of the overrun. One can't help but wonder how many other sympathetic conductors had in his short career helped him hide his lack of fitness for his job, thereby indirectly contributing to what I can't help but consider the slaughter of 107 innocent people, the wounding and maiming of hundreds more, the widowing and orphaning of God only knows how many people, immeasurable grief, suffering and anguish, financial costs of untold millions, and prolonged disruption of the commuter rail system.

Kionon
May 12, 2005, 19:29
What are the differences in the railway systems? Are they really superfast?

名無し
May 13, 2005, 07:59
And it is certainly doing nothing positive for my longheld negative view of Kansai people, which until now I had desparately wanted to believe was irrational and unwarranted.I've always thought of Osakans as similar to Texans, garish and tawdry, loud and proud but never so negatively that they would do something as immoral as this.JR West Employees Hit with Harassment Following Train Disaster (http://mdn.mainichi.co.jp/news/archive/200505/11/20050511p2a00m0dm011000c.html)



JR West (http://www.westjr.co.jp/english/global.html)
Series 207 (http://www.westjr.co.jp/gallery/train/traindata.swf?id=lo207_1)

Kionon
May 13, 2005, 08:20
Ahem. I'm Texan and I am neither garish nor tawdry. Loud and proud maybe.