Japan Railway & Transport Review No. 17 (pp.48–49)

March – May 1998

6 March Express train derailed in Jyväskylä, southern Finland, killing 10 and injuring 39. Accident due to speeding to recover schedule
11 March Three track workers of Teito Rapid Transit Authority hit and killed in early morning on elevated track of Chiyoda Line in Shibuya-ku, Tokyo
12 March Ministry of Transport approved construction plans for three sections of three new shinkansen: Hachinohe—Shin-Aomori of Tohoku Shinkansen, Nagano—Joetsu of Hokuriku Shinkansen, and Funagoya—Shin-Yatsushiro of Kyushu Shinkansen. Construction scheduled for completion in 2018 with total budget of ¥1 trillion
Ten DD51 diesel locomotives sold by JR West to Vietnam, left Goto Marshalling Yard in Tottori Prefecture, Japan for shipment to Vietnam. Gauge to be changed to 1000 mm from 1,067 along with brake changes
18 March Japanese National Railways Settlement Corporation to restore part of former Shimbashi Station to original state at opening in 1872. East Japan Railway Culture Foundation to be mainly responsible for restoration work
Saab 340 aircraft of Formosa Airlines flying from Hsin-chu, northwestern Taiwan to Kao-hsiung, southern Taiwan, crashed into Taiwan Strait shortly after takeoff, killing all 8 passengers and 5 crew members
19 March Lead car of six-car trainset derailed by strong side winds during storm near Imajuku Station in Nishi-ku, Fukuoka, injuring three passengers
21 March Beechcraft two-seater plane flying from Yao airport (Osaka Prefecture) to Kochi airport, crashed killing two on board
22 March A320 Airbus of Philippine Airlines overran runway on landing at Bocolod Airport on Negros Island and crashed into building, killing 3 people in building, and injuring 30 passengers and crew on plane
25 March Two E767 AWACS delivered to Hamamatsu Base of Air Self Defense Force. Huge surveillance radar capable of collecting aircraft data over wider range and lower altitudes than older E2C AWACs
29 March Russian-built Antonov transport plane of Peruvian Air Force crashed in northern Peru, killing 28 and injuring 20 evacuees from flooding
31 March Kuroishi Line (6.2 km between Kawabe and Kuroishi) of former JNR closed and replaced by bus service. Since line transferred in 1984 to Konan Railway, deficits increased to ¥84 million
1 April Ferry en route from Nigeria to Gabon capsized in east Guinea Bay, leaving at least 280 people missing
4 April Power failure on Sanyo Shinkansen between Kokura and Ogori stranded Hikari (Hakata to Tokyo) and Kodama (to Shin-Osaka) carrying about 800 passengers in Shin-Kanmon Tunnel for more than 2 hours
Small jet and light plane collided in mid-air over Atlanta, Georgia, USA, killing both pilots and three passengers on jet
Cruise boat on branch of R. Amazon in northern Brazil caught fire leaving up to 70 people missing
5 April Akashi Kaikyo Bridge, world's longest suspension bridge at 3911 m, and with centre span of 1990 m, opened, linking Kobe and Awaji Island. Construction by Honshu-Shikoku Bridge Authority took 10 years and ¥500 billion. Third bridge linking Onomichi with Imabari to be completed next spring
6 April Ferry capsized in Bihar, eastern India, drowning at least 25 and leaving 125 missing
16 April Japan and China signed agreement on cooperation in extensive areas of railways. China plans to start construction of 1310 km high-speed line with 39 stations between Beijing and Shanghai. Maximum speed to be 350 km/h, cutting present journey from 17 hours to about 7 hours
19 April Light plane ran out of fuel and crashed in Detroit, Michigan, USA, killing pilot. Customs aircraft tailed plane for about 2400 km from Mexican border on suspicion of drug smuggling, confiscating 408 kilograms of marijuana from crashed plane
20 April B727 aircraft of Ecuador's Tame Airlines crashed into mountains in eastern part of Colombian capital of Santa Fe de Bogota, killing all 43 passengers and 10 crew
23 April JR East announced recruitment of female drivers and conductors in response to revised Labor Standard Law abolishing restrictions on women's overtime and late-night work. First woman to drive trains in 2001
Karisaka Tunnel (6.6 km) on National Highway 140 opened to link Saitama and Yamanashi prefectures. Project took 40 years from inception and total of ¥62 billion
28 April JR West introduced early warning information system for earthquakes on conventional lines (total length 890 km) focused on Keihanshin urban network
2 May High-speed hydrofoil carrying 236 passengers and 8 crew en route from Hong Kong Island to Macao hit underwater obstacle 1.5 km off Lan Tao Island injuring 115 people on board
3 May Grand Princess, world's largest cruise ship, delivered to owner at Trieste Port in Italy. Ship is 280-m long with displacement of 109,000 tons, and accommodates 3000 passengers and 1100 crew
4 May Ceremony held at completed Santolan MRT in Manila, Philippines, marking start of test operations on that part of Line 3
12 May Groundbreaking ceremony held for JR East's new training centre in Shirakawa, Fukushima Prefecture. Existing training centres in Omiya and Sendai to be integrated and moved to new centre to be completed in March 2000
13 May Five Japanese domestic airlines (Japan Airlines, All Nippon Airways, Japan Air System, Japan Trans Ocean Airlines and Japan Air Commuter) announced complete ban on smoking on all domestic flights from this summer
15 May JR East unveiled results of tests proving feasibility of ticket booking and checking system using IC cards to begin in 2001
20 May Narita Airport (New Tokyo International Airport) marked 20th anniversary, recording aggregate total of 327 million passengers over past 20 years
28 May Tokyo District Court ruled to rescind remedy ruling issued by Central Labor Relations Commission, concerning former JNR union members not re-employed by JR companies at privatization of JNR in April 1987. Five JRs and JR Freight had filed suit with District Court seeking to annul remedy ruling

Photo: Centre span (1990 m) of recently opened Akashi Kaikyo Bridge linking Kobe and Awaji Island
(Transportation News)
Table: Financial Results of JR Companies


Yoshinosuke Yasoshima
Dr Yasoshima, Chairman of the Railway Technical Research Institute and President of Teikyo Heisei University, died on 9 May. After graduating from the Faculty of Engineering of Tokyo University, he held faculty positions at Tokyo University, Saitama University and Teikyo Heisei University. He served as a committee member on various government councils and contributed to the formulation of public policies on railways, aviation, land use, etc. As committee chairman of the Council for Transport Policy, he advised turning deficit-ridden local JNR lines into bus lines. He was the author of many works on transport, city planning, railway engineering, etc.

John Coiley
Dr Coiley, the first Head of the National Railway Museum in York (U.K.), died suddenly on 22 May at Chur Station in Switzerland while leading a tour party. He was appointed in 1973 to set up the Museum and until his retirement in 1992, he presided over the Museum's growth and expansion to establish it as the world's leading institution of its kind