Japan Railway & Transport Review No. 50 (topics)

September–December 2007

2 Sep Rockfall in tunnel under construction in Nanjing City trapped 18 of 23 miners
  Collision between Chinese fishing vessel and Korean freighter off the coast of Wenzhou, China, sank fishing vessel, leaving 6 of 7 crew missing
3 Sep
Widening of Panama Canal started to enable passage of larger vessels with completion in 2014 on 100th anniversary of canal opening
4 Sep UK Eurostar speed increased to 300 km/h on new UK high speed-line between London and Channel Tunnel, supporting record non-stop test run between Paris and London of 2 hours 3 minutes; revenue service at 300 km/h to start in November with opening of new Eurostar terminal at St Pancras Station, linking London and Paris in 2 hours 15 minutes

Tram fire in Xian, China, caused by water dripping from passenger's umbrella injured 45 onboard

5 Sep

Canadian Pacific Railway purchased by US Dakota, Minnesota & Eastern Railroad for $1.5 billion

7 Sep

Truck carrying about 200 people ran off cliff on mountain road in Rajasthan, India, killing 85 people

8 Sep

JR Takayama Line cut in four places by typhoon in October 2004 returned to full service with opening of 27.5-km section between Tsunogawa and Inotani sta.

9 Sep

China Railway announced plans to upgrade operation speeds of shinkansen services between Beijing and Tainjin to 300 km/h before 2008 Beijing Olympics with future upgrades of rolling stock on regional shinkansen to support speeds of 350 km/h by 2010

11 Sep

Truck collided with hearse in Rumania, killing 5 people and injuring 3 others

13 Sep

JR East Shinetsu Line cut by Niigata Chūetsu Offshore Earthquake Earthquake returned to full service

16 Sep

MD82 crashed on landing at Phuket Airport, killing 89 of 113 onboard

21 Sep

Undercarriage of Bombardier DHC8-Q400 collapsed on landing at Munich Airport, Germany, leaving 68 people onboard unharmed following similar failures at Kochi Airport in Japan in March and SAS flights in Europe

21 Sep

Light plane crash-landed after engine failure on freeway in Ft. Lauderdale Florida, USA, severely injuring pilot

26 Sep

JR Central and JR West brought forward plans to increase speed of Series N700 Tokai and San'yo shinkansen with switchover to all Nozomi 96 formation by end of FY1011; Series N700 introduced in July planned to operate as 54 formation (42 JR Central + 12 JR West) until FY2009 but then decided to add 42 formation (38 + 4) until end of FY2011


Following resignation of Abe Cabinet, Komeito Party former secretary-general Tetsuzo Fuyushiba reappointed to post of Minister of Land, Infrastructure and Transport in new Fukuda Cabinet


2.7-km bridge under construction with Japanese development aid in southern Viet Nam collapsed, killing 60 workers and injuring 150

29 Sep

Charter flights started between Tokyo's Haneda Airport and Shanghai Hongqiao Airport with plan to link centres of both cities in shortest possible time, permitting 1-day round trip

1 Oct

Loss-making Ibi and Igakanbe lines of Kintetsu Railway spun-off as Yoro Railway (57.5 km, Kuwana to Ibi) and Iga Railway (16.6 km, Iga-Ueno to Iga-Kobe) started operations with Kintetsu retaining ownership of infrastructure as Category-3 operator and two new companies functioning as Category-2 rail operators

2 Oct

Large bus caught fire on expressway in Chongqing City, China, killing 27 passengers and injuring 11 others including driver after 2 passengers set fire to luggage in suicide pact

4 Oct Africa One Antonov 36 cargo plane crashed into houses immediately after takeoff in Congo, Africa, killing 25 of 27 people on board and burning down at least 10 houses
6 Oct

Train hit bus on level crossing in southern Cuba, killing at least 28 people and injuring 73

7 Oct No. 5 Line (27.6 km) of Beijing Metro linking north and south parts of city opened to link with east–west No. 1 Line and circular No. 2 Line for total current length of 141.3 km
9 Oct Mitsubishi Heavy Industries officially announced plans to commercialize and accept orders for Mitsubishi Regional Jet (MRJ) with 70 to 90 seats powered by Pratt and Whitney jet engines for delivery in 2012
9 Oct French SNCF debuted environment-friendly diesel-electric hybrid train built by Bombardier of Canada with services between Paris and Troyes
11 Oct Bus drove over edge of mountain road in India and fell into river, killing at least 40 people on board
14 Oct JR East opened The Railway Museum in Saitama City with displays of 35 pieces of historic rolling stock, SL driving simulator, 1400 m of HO gauge model railway diorama, etc., to replace closed Transportation Museum and commemorate 20th anniversary of company foundation
14 Oct Start of work on Beijing’s No. 6 Metro Line (152 km) approved with full opening scheduled for 2012
17 Oct JR West and JR Kyushu announced plans for direct through operations between San’yo Shinkansen (about 644 km, Shin-Osaka to Hakata) and Kyushu Shinkansen (about 257 km, Hakata to Kagoshima-Chuo) after full opening in Spring 2011, shortening 4-hour journey between Shin-Osaka and Kagoshima-Chuo by about 1 hour
18 Oct Passenger vessel sank southeast of Sulawesi, Indonesia, drowning at least 30 people and leaving more than 70 missing
23 Oct JR Hokkaido announced development of motor-assist (MA) hybrid railcar adding auxiliary electric motor to assist diesel engine and cut fuel consumption—expected to enter service after completing running tests
25 Oct

Singapore Airlines started commercial flights of Airbus A380 super-jumbo with maiden return flight to Singapore after raising some S$190,000 (about ¥150 million) for charity by auctioning tickets for flight on Internet

27 Oct Helicopter crashed onto tracks of Nankai Railway’s Takano Line near Osaka, killing both people onboard and stopping services on line after damaging catenary and signalling systems
28 Oct Scandinavia Airline Systems (SAS) announced suspension of services using Bombardier DHC8-400, following several incidents with landing gear problems worldwide
31 Oct

Third-sector Miki Railway announced application to Ministry of Land, Infrastructure and Transport to bring forward planned closure of 6.6-km section of tracks between Miki and Yakujin to 1 April 2008

4 November

Learjet 35 crashed into houses near Sao Paulo, Brazil, killing two pilots and 6 people on ground and leaving 2 others injured 5 November—Construction started on world’s largest Ferris wheel (193-m dia) in Beijing, China

12 November Airbus announced order for Airbus 380 to VIP “Flying Palace” specifications from Prince Al-Walid of Saudi Arabia as first sale to private individual
14 November

St Pancras International Station, London, opened to start serving 109-km long, high-speed, Channel Tunnel Rail Link operating at 300 km/h and cutting time between Paris and London to 2 h 15 minutes

15 November

Airbus A340-600 under ground test at Airbus Technical Centre in Toulouse, France, broke free during engine test run-up and collided with sound barriers, injuring 9 people onboard and one ground crew seriously

15 November Cessna 404 crashed in Nagano Prefecture, Japan, killing all 3 people on board
16 November JR East announced plans to extend Tohoku Shinkansen between Hachinohe and Shin Aomori by late 2010 with operations at 300 km/h (now 275 km/h) between Utsunomiya and Morioka, linking Tokyo with Shin Aomori in 3 h 10 minutes
19 November Kawasaki Heavy Industries announced next-generation, low-floor tram (SWIMO) using nickel hydride (NiMH) rechargeable batteries as well as trolley lines for running
20 November As part of new anti-terrorist measures, Japan started fingerprinting (both index fingers) and photographing all foreigners aged 16 and over entering Japan
20 November US Department of Homeland Security announced plans to strengthen anti-terrorist measures by fingerprinting all ten fingers of both hands of all foreign visitors, starting at Washington Dallas Airport from 29 November and extending in stages nationwide
20 November

Rock fall at portal to railway tunnel in Hubei Province, China, crushed long distance bus on road below line, killing 24 of 30 onboard

22 November

British government announced plans to upgrade London Heathrow Airport with addition of third runway and sixth terminal building

23 November Cruise liner MV Explorer sank after hitting iceberg near South Shetland Island in Antarctic with all 154 passengers and crew escaping to lifeboats
27 November Omron, Kintetsu Corporation, Hankyu Corporation, and Osaka University awarded Milestone Prize by IEEE for pioneering work in Railroad Ticketing Examining System from 1965 to 1971
30 November MD83 of Turkey’s Atlas Jet crashed in central Turkey, killing all 57 people onboard
30 November Amtrak passenger train collided with freight train near Chicago, USA, injuring about 70 people
6 December JR East and ANA announced comprehensive tie-up, starting 2008 February. This tie-up includes credit card business, etc., which will start from autumn 2008
9 December DB AG revised train timetables with start of high-speed ICE operations to Copenhagen, Denmark, using Vogelfluglinie rail ferries and ICE-TD diesel units
9 December Eurocopter EC135T2 crashed in Shizuoka Prefecture, killing pilot and severely injuring flight engineer
10 December Mitsubishi Corporation announced order for 48 carriages for 30-km No. 3 line of Cairo Metro, linking city with airport and scheduled to open in October 2011
12 December Freight operations resumed on Gyeongui Line between North and South Korea 56 years after cut by Korean War
12 December JR East and JR Hokkaido announced interoperability plans for Suica IC card and Kitaca IC card to be introduced in autumn 2008 by JR Hokkaido from spring 2009
14 December Government and ruling party agreed to establish working group to examine funding for construction of three new shinkansen sections (Hokkaido Shinkansen, Hakkodate to Sapporo; Hokuriku Shinkansen, Kanazawa to Tsuruga; Kyushu Shinkansen Nagasaki route, Isahayashi to Nagasaki)
14 December Delayed train collided with bus on level crossing in north India, killing 18 bus passengers and injuring 14 others
17 December

JR Kyushu and Saga and Nagasaki municipal governments agree to continue operations on Nagasaki Line (Hizen Yamaguchi to Isahayashi) running parallel to Nagasaki route of Kyushu Shinkansen for 20 years after new shinkansen opened

17 December Nagoya Railroad announced closure of 1.2-km monorail in Inuyamashi City Monkey Park, Aiichi Prefecture, due to falling passenger numbers and aging facilities, 21 years after line opened as Japan’s first straddle beam monorail
18 December ANA, Nittsu, and Kintetsu Express announced plans for joint domestic airfreight services from April 2008 with establishment of integrated airfreight and general freight system
19 December

Japan’s Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, and Transport announced establishment of Tourism Agency from October 2008 to promote inbound tourism

19 December

14 cars of 18-car night express train derailed in Pakistan, killing at least 58 people and injuring 122 others

19 December

TGV hit large truck on level crossing in southern France near Swiss border, killing truck driver and injuring 35 TGV passengers

21 December JR East, Central and Hokkaido announced start of joint IC card services from 29 March 2008, supporting transfers between three operators’ regions and check-free travel between Tokyo and Shin Osaka on Tokaido Shinkansen.
22 December China announced completion of first domestically manufactured high-speed CRH2-300 rolling stock by Nanche Sifang Locomotive for 300 km/h operations on 120-km long high-speed line between Beijing and Tianjin City expected to open on 1 August 2008
25 December

JR Central announced plans to self-finance planned 290-km Maglev shinkansen over central route between Tokyo and Nagoya with expected costs including rolling stock of ¥5.1 trillion and completion by 2025

25 December

River bridge collapsed in western Nepal leaving at least 15 dead and more than 70 missing