Japan Railway & Transport Review No. 23 (pp.60–61)

September – November 1999

1 SeptemberUsui Pass Railway Monument Park in Matsuida City, Gunma Prefecture, Japan started offering visitors chance to drive EF63 electric locomotive on 300-m track for ¥30,000 tuition fee. Village opened as new facility accompanying closure of Shin'etsu Line due to opening of Nagano-bound Shinkansen
5 SeptemberSmall airliner of Necon Air crashed near Katmandu, Nepal, killing all 10 passengers and five crew onboard
10 SeptemberTokyo Metropolitan Government announced start of full operations of Tama Intercity Monorail on 10 January 2000 with newly opened 10.6- km section between Tama Centre and Tachikawa Kita
16 SeptemberFirst phase of Pudong Airport opened in Shanghai, China, with 4000-m runway and large terminal building to handle 20 million passengers and 750,000 tonnes of freight annually
17 railway companies in Kanto district, Japan, unveiled plan to introduce shared prepaid card system in October 2000 with further three companies to join scheme in 2001
18 SeptemberFirst generation Series-0 shinkansen cars retired from Tokyo–Shin Osaka section of Tokaido Shinkansen. Total of 3216 cars manufactured carrying about 2.5 billion passengers during 35 years. JR West to continue operating 259 Series-0 cars on Shin Osaka–Hakata section until about 2005
Runaway locomotive collided with express train bound for Karachi killing 23 passengers and crew and injuring at least 75
19 SeptemberLong-distance bus from Madrid to Gerona left road and rolled over, killing 28 passengers and injuring 25
21 SeptemberRichter-7.6 earthquake hit central Taiwan killing about 2000 people and injuring some 10,000 others
27 SeptemberMaintenance car derailed on east-bound line of JR San'yo Shinkansen between Shin Kobe and Nishi Akashi stopping 25 trains and 10,000 passengers
29 SeptemberPassenger car driven onto JR West Shimonoseki Station platform. Driver then stabbed people waiting on platform killing three and injuring 12 others
30 SeptemberNuclear chain reaction accident in nuclear-fuel processing company at Tokaimura, Ibaraki Prefecture, Japan, exposed workers and nearby residents to radiation. Widespread emergency restrictions stopped both Joban and Suigun lines of JR East, affecting more than 200 trains and about 100,000 commuters
2 OctoberElectrification of Maizuru Line (26.4 km between Ayabe and Higashi Maizuru) of JR West completed with debut of Maizuru electric express between Kyoto and Higashi Maizuru
3 OctoberKanbara Railway between Gosen and Muramatsu in Niigata Prefecture, Japan, closed after 77 years of operations
5 OctoberJR East and Tokyo Metropolitan Government announced agreement to restore Marunouchi side of Tokyo Station to condition at opening in 1914 with three-story domed roof. Station rebuilt to present two-stories after damage by bombing in WWII
JR East announced plan to introduce new ticketing system using IC card in metropolitan and suburban areas in January 2001. Experimental implementation to be conducted on Saikyo Line from June to August 2000
Rush-hour commuter express and two-car suburban train collided and caught fire in west London killing more than 30 passengers
6 OctoberJapanese Ministry of Transport announced increase in maximum number of departures/arrivals at Haneda Airport by 114 in two phases beginning July 2000
9 OctoberAnother concrete block weighing 226 kg fell from tunnel roof onto track between Kokura and Hakata of San'yo Shinkansen. To confirm tunnel safety, JR West stopped operations between Hiroshima and Hakata from early morning to late afternoon affecting 62,000 passengers. Followed earlier fall of concrete block from tunnel roof on carriage in June
12 OctoberLarge trailer truck stalled on railway crossing in Saitama Prefecture, Japan, hit by semi-express train derailing front car and injuring 17 passenger
16 OctoberRicher-7 earthquake near Los Angeles, California, derailed Amtrak train
18 OctoberJapanese Ministry of Transport opened public hearing into construction of temporary runway at Narita Airport
22 OctoberJapanese Ministry of Transport announced that number of railway passengers in 1998 held at 22,010 million, down 1% from previous year and marking three consecutive annual decreases. Six JR companies carried 8,760 million passengers, down 1.1% over previous year
27 OctoberShinkansen Through- Operation Committee of Ministry of Transport announced seven sections for feasibility study into free-gauge train operations
29 OctoberMassive typhoon hit eastern India killing more than 3000 people
30 OctoberANA joined Star Alliance of eight international airline companies including United Airlines (USA) and Lufthansa (Germany). First Japanese airline to participate in such alliance to expand network through joint operations
Joshin'etsu Expressway (203 km) fully opened to link Niigata, Nagano and Gunma prefectures
31 OctoberBoeing 767 of Egypt Air, bound from New York to Cairo crashed into Atlantic Ocean off Massachusetts, USA, killing all 217 people onboard
9 NovemberDC9 airliner of TAESA Airline crashed immediately after takeoff in western Mexico killing all 23 onboard
10 NovemberJR Freight announced integration of Onagigawa Station in Tokyo with Sumidagawa Station of Joban Line by end of fiscal 2001. Present site of Onagigawa Station to be redeveloped by public subscription
12 NovemberRichter-7.2 earthquake hit northwestern Turkey killing 705 and injuring 5108
22 NovemberAir Self Defense Force trainer jet crashed into power transmission line in Saitama Prefecture, Japan, killing two crew and cutting power to 800,000 households, subways and private railways in metropolitan Tokyo and southern Saitama
24 November9000-tonne ferry sank off Yantai, Shandong Province, China, drowning 150 people and leaving more than 100 missing
28 NovemberTwo-tonne concrete block fell from roof of Rebunhama Tunnel (1232 m) between Rebun and Ogishi on Muroran Line of JR Hokkaido derailing freight train bound from Nagoya Cargo Terminal to Sapporo Cargo Terminal


Tsutomu Aihara
Appointed Chairman of Corporation for Advanced Transport & Technology on 1 September. Joined Ministry of Transport after graduating from Faculty of Law of University of Tokyo in 1967. Served as Director General of Transport Policy Bureau, Director General of Maritime Safety Agency and Manager of Japanese National Railways Settlement Headquarters

Toshihiro Nikai
Appointed Minister of Transport on 5 October. Elected member of House of Representatives in 1983 (now in fifth term). Served as Parliamentary Vice-Minister for Transport twice under Kaifu and Hosokawa cabinets

Yukitaka Ishii
Chairman of JR Kyushu, awarded the Order of Diplomatic Service Merit Heung- In Medal on 10 November by government of Republic of Korea for contribution to promoting mutual friendship and interchange

Shuichiro Yamanouchi
Chairman of JR East, awarded Officier de la Legion d'honneur by French President on 17 November for contribution to promoting friendly interchange between Japan and France