Japan Railway & Transport Review No. 6 (pp.44–48)

May – September 1995

2 May Luxury liner, Crystal Symphony arrived in New York after inaugural trans-Atlantic crossing. 250-meter, 50,000- ton vessel, built in Turku, Finland, then departed for Los Angeles.
4 May Two-hour blackout suspended operations of shinkansen trains heading north out of Tokyo, forcing cancellation of several and inconveniencing some 25,000 passengers. Crow's nest on cable caused short circuit, official said.
5 May Canada to sell national railways. Government said will sell 100% of holdings in company. Given relatively small size of Canadian market, no limits on foreign ownership of shares but no one to hold more than 15% of stock.
7 May Narita and Kansai airports set records as flood of people returned home from overseas Golden Week holidays. 49,000 people used Narita and 21,000 Kansai International Airport which opened early September 1994.
Small Cessna crashed in mountains of southern Utah killing all 6 people aboard.
8 May Six people killed and two saved when bus fell from ferry into 30 meters of water off port of Hattvik, Norway.
12th International Convention and Exposition on High-Speed Rail held in Boston.
9 May All Nippon Airways applied for government approval of plans to inaugurate flights linking Kansai International Airport with Shanghai, Bangkok and Kuala Lumpur.
140 people, including 78 middle school students, slightly injured in ferry accident after 140-ton Kurosaki, carrying 206 passengers and 3 crew, crashed into pier in Kensennuma, Miyagi Prefecture, Japan.
South-Korea Daewoo group, leading industrial conglomerate, to participate in construction of 1,500-km railway in northern Australia. Railway targeted at steadily growing number of tourists from Japan, South Korea and other Asian countries.
15 May JR Hokkaido announced construction plan for hotel in front of Obihiro station. To house about 280 guests in 170 rooms on 11 storeys, with full convention facilities.
JR East unveiled new Series E2 trainset for Tohoku Shinkansen between Tokyo and Morioka. Eight-carriage trains, white and light blue, with bright red stripes designed to be ‘dynamic and graceful’.
16 May 42 people killed and 23 missing when Philippine inter-island ferry caught fire and sank near Lucena. Overloaded vessel carrying more than 150 listed on manifest, police said.
Government white paper announced 13.58 million people went abroad last year, up 13.8% over previous year, and all-time record high. Yen's strength and opening of Kansai International Airport listed as reason. 3.47 million people visited Japan, 1.7% increase, resulting in $35.3 billion travel deficit for year, lowering overall trade surplus.
18 May Two trains collided spilling crude oil and gasoline in Japan Railway cargo terminal in Kumagaya, Saitama Prefecture. Tank cars spilled 60 kilolitres of oil, spreading over 10-km area through irrigation system.
20 May Three Chinese companies won contracts to help build two subway lines in Teheran and 43-km electrified railway to satellite town of Karaj. Subway to be completed in 2 years to become largest and longest underground in middle East.
22 May Kobe Port Liner resumed operation on Port Island enabling travel by monorail around artificial island from Kitafuto to Naka Koen station. Transport system knocked out of service by Great Hanshin Earthquake.
23 May Sightseeing bus carrying 30 people tumbled down highway embankment near Bristol, England. Ten people killed and 20 others seriously injured.
24 May Twin-engined plane of local commercial airline crashed shortly after takeoff from Leeds Airport, England, killing all 12 people aboard.
25 May All 7 seven JR companies report profit reductions for 1994, first time since privatization in 1987. Recurring profits down 32.5%, and total sales down 2.9%. Reduced domestic travel due to yen's strength overseas, and decrease in freight business reported as causes. JR Kyushu and JR Shikoku reported first recurring losses, and JR Freight fell deeper into red.
28 May Pre-dawn 7.5 Richter magnitude earthquake hit Sakhalin, Russia, destroying all structures in hardest-hit village of Nevchegorsk. Ten days after disaster, 2,159 persons reported dead.
German Railways raised top speed of InterCity-Express services from 250 to 280 km/h on both Hannover-Warzburg and Mannheim-Stuttgart- Neubaustrecken routes.
Paris hosted 3-day International Union of Public Transport 51st Congress and City Transport '95 exhibition.
29 May Twenty-two people drowned and 100 injured in central Indian Narmada river after three boats capsized during festival. Hundreds of residents of nearby villages went to dip in Narmada on occasion of Somvati Amavasya, considered auspicious day by Hindus.
30 May Railway Friends Club (nationwide organization of railway fans) awarded Blue Ribbon Prize to Nankai Electric Railway Rapide Kansai Airport Express (50000 Series) and Laurel Prize to JR Hokkaido Super Hokuto (DMU 281 Series) pendulum diesel train.
31 May Tokyo's newly-appointed governor, Yukio Aoshima, announced cancellation of World City Expo Tokyo, 96 keeping campaign promise.
Twenty-four people died when bus, travelling without lights to avoid drawing Indian gunfire, plunged into ravine in Pakistan- controlled Kashmir.
1 June Japan Air Lines and Air France signed agreement in Tokyo to expand cooperation, including linking frequent flyer programmes. Two airlines also to cooperate in airport operations.
2 June Train collision kills at least 48 in India. Jammu-Tawi express collided with goods trains near Kalubathan Station on border of eastern states of Bihar and West Bengal.
3 June Australian Transport Minister, Laurie Brereton announced plans to form national track authority to manage standardgauge interstate network. Proposal welcomed by NRC and Westrail.
In ceremony at Integral Coach Factory near Madras, Vietnam Ambassador to India formally took delivery of first ten airconditioned luxury coaches to be used on express between Hanoi and Saigon.
5 June Express passenger train bound for Switzerland slammed into work train killing four people and injuring 38 near village of Cuzzego, few kilometres south of next main stop, Domodossola, not far from Italian-Swiss border.
Seven people killed and 43 injured in crash of bus carrying passengers from Wales on day trip to Shakespeare's birthplace in England.
Subway train collided with train in front over New York East River. One driver killed and 60 passengers injured.
6 June Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force MH53E minesweeping helicopter caught fire and sank during training manoeuvres over Sagami Bay, Kanagawa Prefecture. Eight crew members missing.
7 June Japan and France agreed to increase number of flights between two countries and also between New Caledonia and Japan. Agreement will enable both nations to add one additional flight each week on Tokyo- Paris route starting next summer and on Tokyo- Noumea route starting this winter. Japan currently has 19 flights to France each week and France has 16 flights to Japan. Air France also flies twice weekly between Tokyo and Noumea.
South Africa and Mozambique celebrated 100 years of rail link. Steam locomotive hauling 13 carriages ran from Pretoria to Mozambique capital, Maputo, to mark centenary of old Transvaal Republic's link to Indian Ocean.
9 June Minister of Transport Shizuka Kamei approved fare rise application by 14 major private railway companies in Kanto, Kansai and Nagoya, and Tokyo's Rapid Transit Authority. Average rise of 14.7%, to take effect 1 September. First major railway fare increase since November 1991.
12 June JR East unveiled Series E2 trainset for use on Hokuriku Shinkansen from Takasaki to Nagano in 1997. Eight-carriage lightweight trains to handle up to 30 per mil gradients. Feature frequency converters, and run at up to 275 km/h.
Standing room only, new commuter car with folding seats to be used during rush hour on Hankyu Kobe line. Carriage allows for more passengers and first of kind in Kansai region.
SNCF and Air France took modest move toward common ticketing. International travellers to and from Lille via Paris Charles de Gaulle airport able to buy ticket combining flight and TGV travel between airport and Lille-Europa.
Collapse of floating jetty on Chao Phraya River in Bangkok threw group of elementary schoolchildren into river. Nineteen people killed, 36 injured.
15 June Pre-dawn earthquake shook western Greece, killing at least 14 and injuring over 40.
French court decision in favour of parcels courier Eurostar gives SNCF, SNCB and EPS six months to choose another name for high-speed rail services across Channel. SNCF to appeal ruling.
16 June Fourteen people killed and 31 injured when bus, truck and car collided on highway close to eastern coastal city of Tarragona, Spain.
20 June All Nippon Airways 747 carrying 365 passengers and crew members bound for Hakodate from Tokyo hijacked by man claiming to be member of Aum cult (believed responsible for Tokyo nerve gas attack) . Police stormed plane, capturing lone hijacker and ending 15- hour ordeal for passengers.
Saudi Arabian Airlines announced long-awaited order for 23 new Boeing 777 twinjets and five 747 Jumbo jets. Order part of $6-billion deal originally announced by President Bill Clinton in February 1994 but stalled by falling oil prices.
22 June Australian government launched long-awaited sale of national carrier Qantas Airways with release of float prospectus aimed at raising at least A$1.37 billion.
Mitsubishi Heavy industries Ltd. and Sumitomo Corp. jointly won $400-million order from Edsa LRT of Hong Kong to build 18-km streetcar system in Manila. Two companies will build modern system including stations and other facilities due to begin operating in 1998.
24 June Runaway rail freight train slammed into Czech passenger train, killing 17 people in Chrudin, about 80 km east of Prague. Three freight cars broke loose and ran onto tracks where passenger train travelling.
25 June Sixteen people killed and 64 injured when Russian-built aircraft overshot runway at Lagos Airport, Nigeria and burst into flames. Aircraft on domestic flight from city of Kaduna to Lagos when jet skidded off rain-soaked runway into field.
29 June Britain and China reached long-awaited consensus over vital financial arrangements for Hong Kong's new $20.3- billion (¥1.7 trillion) airport, bringing essential borrowing for project one step closer. Airport due to open in 1997.
2 July 15-m high platform for Chuo Line in Tokyo Station completed. Yamanote and Keihin Tohoku lines moved to Chuo Line platform to make room for Hokuriku Shinkansen scheduled to start operation in 1997.
4 July Japan Maritime Self Defense Force SH60J anti-submarine helicopter crashed over sea off Erimo Misaki, southern Hokkaido, during training manoeuvres. Two of 3 crew members rescued, but pilot missing.
7 July JR East opened Folkloro Tono Hotel, in renovated station building in Tono, Iwate Prefecture. Hotel has 18 rooms for 56 guests. Built in 1950, modelled on German station building. Name means ‘folk story’ in Esperanto, for which Tono is famous.
10 July Twenty-six people killed in two separate bus crashes in France. Twenty-two people, mainly students, killed and 32 injured when Spanish coach overturned on highway in southern France, making it worst road disaster in 13 years in France. Four people killed and 25 injured in collision between Slovakian tourist bus and truck in Meuse region of northeastern France.
12 July Light plane carrying 15 people crashed onto beach in Papua New Guinea killing all on board. Twin Otter crashed minutes after taking off from coastal airstrip on southeast tip of country's mainland.
16 July Two magnetically-levitated linear train motor cars arrived at experimental line depot in Tsukuba, Yamanashi Prefecture. Both transported by ship to Tagonoura, Shizuoka Prefecture, and then put aboard special trailer and taken to experimental line depot. To be assembled with middle cars to undergo number of tests in preparation for running tests scheduled to begin in early 1997.
18 July Plane carrying medical relief workers crashed as tried to land at airport in Madagascar capital, Antananarivo, killing 34 people with 6 survivors. Plane was flying from Maintirano on west coast of island nation.
19 July Greece to award $2.3-billion contract to consortium, led by Hochtief of Germany, for construction of new international airport. Official said Hochtief would get roughly 45%, and state 55% stake in facility, located at Sparta, east of Athens.
European Commission approved merger of Sabena, Belgium's state-owned airline, with Swissair. Mr Neil Kinnock, transport commissioner, said deal good for both companies and would bring benefits to travellers.
20 July Giant merger of Burlington Northern Inc. and Santa Fe Pacific Corp. approved by Interstate Commerce Commission creating United States' largest rail network with about $7 billion in annual revenue and dominant share of rail cargo in west.
22 July Japanese Transport Ministry and Home Affairs Ministry decided to set up consortium comprising national government, local authorities in Osaka and Kansai International Airport Co. to shoulder costs of reclamation work involved in construction of second runway at Kansai International Airport.
25 July Time bomb exploded in stationary train in Paris' Saint Michel underground station, killing 5 and injuring over 60, some seriously.
27 July 22.3-km highway section from Hitoyoshi, Kumamoto to Ebi, Miyazaki completed and formally opened.
28 July Sightseeing bus in Cologne, Germany hijacked by man with gun barricaded amongst 20 passengers for about 7 hours. Hijacker killed bus driver and one woman before shot dead by special police unit storming bus.
29 July Small aircraft crashed on JR Nemuro line in Akabira, Hokkaido, killing 3 people on board. Tracks closed for about 2.5 hours in both directions, disrupting service on 5 lines.
31 July Kobe Port Liner, connecting Kobe Sannomiya and Port Island, reopened between Sannomiya and Nakakoen stations, 6.5 months after Great Hanshin Earthquake. All routes between city and island now back in service.
1 August Chiba City Monorail Line No. 1 partially opened (1.5 km from Chiba Minato to Chiba). Temporarily operating as continuation of opened Line No. 2 (12 km from Chiba to Chishirodai)
7 August Large sightseeing bus with over 40 passengers fell about 200 m into valley and burst into flames in Sichuan Province, China. Over 20 people killed and 24 others injured.
9 August Boeing 737 of Guatemalan airline crashed into volcano outside San Salvador, killing all 65 people aboard.
10 August First fatal accident on Toronto's subway system since opened in 1954 left three people dead, more than 36 injured and countless others dazed by ordeal in sweltering tunnel. Accident occurred during Friday evening rush-hour when train full of commuters ran into rear of another going out of service between Dupont and St. Clair West stations in uptown area of Forest Hill.
Sightseeing bus loaded with elementary schoolchildren hit from rear by large truck on Tomei Expressway in Kanagawa Prefecture, Japan. Bus roof ripped off, killing guide and two others, injuring 40 children, some seriously.
11 August Train plunged into Alpine gorge in western Austria killing four people and injuring about 100. Locomotive and three coaches plummeted 40 meters into gorge after landslide washed away bridge during torrential rains.
20 August Some 350 passengers killed and another 400 injured when express train slammed into another train stopped on track after hitting cow. Two trains carrying total of 2,200 passengers, most asleep when disaster occurred. Toll one of highest in Indian railroad 142-year history.
22 August Nineteen people injured when New York subway train collided with stationary train.
23 August Kobe New Transit Co., Ltd. Rokko Island Line, heavily damaged during Great Hanshin Earthquake, resumed service. Last rail line to be restored. Service restored to JR on 1 April, Hankyu Corp. on 12 June, Hanshin Electric Railway on 26 June, and Kobe New Transit Co., Ltd. Port Island Line on 31 July.
25 August One person killed and 120 injured at Goisan in central South Korea when train jumped tracks on river bridge with foundations weakened by 3 days of heavy rain.
Express train derailed and overturned in Korea, killing one passenger and injuring 120 others, some seriously. Derailment caused by track subsidence from heavy traffic flow. Seoul-bound train following detour due to landslide at time of crash.
2 September Twin-engined turboprop plane crashed in Arizona, killing all 8 people aboard, including four JTB employees.
3 September JR Shinmei line (121.8 km, from Fukagawa to Nayoro), Japan's least profitable line since 1986, stopped service after 71 years. Line opened in 1924 between Nayoro and Tadoshi for lumber transport, completed in 1941. Users decreased due to decrease in lumbering, depopulation and increase in automobile use.
15 September Fokker 50 airplane of Malaysian domestic airline exploded shortly before landing at Tawau Airport in Malaysian state of Sabah. Crashed in flames into settlement near airport. Sixteen people rescued, 35 killed, pilot and co-pilot missing.
22 September USA Air Force E3 AWACS plane exploded shortly after takeoff from Air Force Base near Anchorage, Alaska. Twenty-two American, and two Canadian military personnel killed, no survivors.

Photo: Folkloro Tono
(JR East)
Photo: Chiba City Monorail Line
(Chiba Urban Monorail Co., ltd)
Photo: The last train of Shinmei line leaving Fukagawa station
(Transportation News)


Shigeichiro Kanamori, 72, Chairman of Kinki Nippon Railway (Kintetsu) appointed Chairman of Japan Non-Government Railways Association on 31 May. Born in Osaka, Kanamori graduated from Faculty of Law of Tokyo Imperial University in 1944 and joined Keihanshin Express Railway Co., later joining Kinki Nippon Railway. Awarded Blue Ribbon Medal in 1985.
Minoru Toyoda, 56, Director General of Transportation Policy Bureau, appointed Administrative Vice-Minister for Transport on 23 June. Born in Kanagawa, Toyoda graduated from Tokyo University, Faculty of Law in 1962. Assumed Ministry- of-Transport posts such as Deputy Director General of Maritime Safety Agency and Director of General Affairs.
Yoshiyuki Kasai, 55, Vice President of JR Tokai, promoted to President on 28 June. Born in Tokyo, Kasai graduated from Tokyo University, Faculty of Law in 1963. Assumed JNR senior posts in Corporate Planning and Labour Management Relations, and later Managing Director of JR Central when former JNR privatized. Former President, Hiroshi Suda, became Chairman.
Hiromi Funahiki, 62, promoted to President of Japan Air System on 28 June. Kozo Yoshida, 61; Yoshiharu Takamatsu, 56; Kiyomi Harayama, 54, each promoted to Vice President of JR East on 29 June.
Akira Kondo, 61, Managing Director of JAL, promoted to President on 29 June. Born in Okinawa, Kondo graduated from Tokyo university, Faculty of Law in 1957. Former president, Matsuo Toshimitsu became Senior Corporate Advisor.
Shinobu Shimizu, 64, Managing Director of Tokyo Express Electric Railway (Tokyu), promoted to President on 29 June. Born in Tokyo, Shimizu graduated from Economics Faculty of Hitotsubashi University in 1953, before joining Tokyu.
Takeo Hiranuma, 56, five-time elected member of House of Representatives became Minister of Transport on 8 August. Born in Tokyo, Hiranuma graduated from Faculty of Law of Keio University in 1962.
Katsuyo Ogata, 57, three-time elected member of House of Representatives, became Vice Minister of Transport on 10 August.

Preparing for Nagano Winter Olympics

To make space at Tokyo Central for the Hokuriku Shinkansen serving the Nagano Winter Olympics, the Chuo Line has been moved and elevated over other JR suburban lines.

Photo: Educated Chuo Line at Tokyo Central
(JR East)
Photo: Plan of New Tokyo Central Station with Hokuriku Shinkansen
(JR East)