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Thread: Train derails in Hyogo prefecture killing at least 49 people

  1. #26
    Twirling dragon Maciamo's Avatar
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    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!).

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  2. #27
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    Quote Originally Posted by kirei_na_me
    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 for my reasoning.
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  3. #28
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    Quote Originally Posted by Maciamo
    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.)

  4. #29
    Pink Lady's Number #1 Fan Flashjeff's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by kirei_na_me
    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.
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    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

  6. #31
    Regular Member senseiman's Avatar
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    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.

  7. #32
    Banned Mike Cash's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by flashjeff
    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.

  8. #33
    Banned Mike Cash's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by senseiman
    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.

  9. #34
    Regular Member senseiman's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mikecash
    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.

  10. #35
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    Food for Thought

    Quote Originally Posted by senseiman
    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.
    Quote Originally Posted by mikecash
    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..

  11. #36
    Junior Member DoctorP's Avatar
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    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!

  12. #37
    Regular Member senseiman's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Pachipro
    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.

  13. #38
    Danshaku Elizabeth's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by senseiman
    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 ?

  14. #39
    Banned Mike Cash's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by senseiman
    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=20...00001-yom-soci

  15. #40
    Danshaku Elizabeth's Avatar
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    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.

  16. #41
    Banned Mike Cash's Avatar
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    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?

  17. #42
    Danshaku Elizabeth's Avatar
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    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.

  18. #43
    Banned Mike Cash's Avatar
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    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.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Elizabeth
    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 that the driver was indeed travelling at 108km/hr. Good video and analysis.

    Quote Originally Posted by mikecash
    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.

  20. #45
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    Quote Originally Posted by senseiman
    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.

  21. #46
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    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.

  22. #47
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    Quote Originally Posted by mikecash
    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.

  23. #48
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    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.

  24. #49
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    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!

  25. #50
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    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.

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