Long List of Train Accidents in Japan
Thursday, April 28, 2005 Posted: 10:15 AM JST
TASK, the Railroad Safety Promotion Conference, an independent authority to investigate railroad accidents in Japan has a long list of train accidents in Japan.
It gives the impression that railroads are a little bit less safe than we all believed, but most of them happened before 1964. Very few have happened since then. But the few that did happen have been investigated insufficiently, says TASK.
TASK was established in 1993 by victims of railroad accidents, Japanese Diet members, journalists, scholars, and lawyers as a purely non-governmental organization in response to dissatisfaction over Japan's Ministry of Transportation's investigation of a train accident in Shigaraki that killed 42 people and injured 614.
Though the Ministry's investigation took more than 18 months, the investigation process, the mechanisms and the majority of the findings were not disclosed to the public.
TASK has about 600 members.
Major Railway Accidents in Japan
The railway era in Japan began in 1872, when the first railway line was laid down between Tokyo and Yokohama. As railways expanded, accidents occurred from time to time that left dozens of people dead.
The worst railway accident before World War II happened in 1940 at Ajikawaguchi Station on the Nishinari Line of JNR (Japanese National Railways). It left 181 passengers dead and 92 injured.
1945 - 1946
In the chaos immediately after the end of World War II, serious railway accidents took place one after another. In the one-year period following the end of the war on August 15, 1945, railway accidents involving 10 or more people killed occurred as follows:
August 20, 1945: Collision between trains on the Omuta line of Nishi Nippon Railway Company: 40 killed, 83 injured.
August 22, 1945: Accident in a tunnel on the Hisatsu line of JNR: 49 killed, 20 injured.
August 24, 1945: Head-on collision on the Hachiko line of JNR: 105 killed, 67 injured.
September 6, 1945: Collision at Sasago Station on the Chuo line of JNR: 60 killed, 91 injured.
November 18, 1945: Derailment and overturn on the Shinyu line of Kobe-Dentetsu Railways: 45 killed, 131 injured.
November 26, 1945: Derailment on the Ibaragi line of Ibaragi Kotsu Railways: 10 killed, 142 injured.
December 6, 1945: Derailment on the Kouya line of Nankai Railway Company: 27 killed, 224 injured.
January 21, 1946: Collision on a line of Fujisanroku-Dentetsu Railways: 26 killed, 82 injured.
January 28, 1946: Derailment and overturn on the Odawara line of Odakyu Railways: 30 killed, 165 injured.
March 14, 1946: Derailment on the Rumoi line of JNR: 17 killed, 97 injured.
July 26, 1946: Rear-end collision in a tunnel on the Tokaido line of JNR: 15 killed, 68 injured.
August 13, 1946: Derailment and overturn on a line of Onomichi Railway Company: 37 killed, 101 injured.
December 19, 1946: Derailment and overturn on the Shinetsu line of JNR: 11 killed, 26 injured.
1947 - 1963
A year after Japan's surrender railway accidents started to decrease. But serious accidents involving at least 10 passengers killed continued to take place between 1947 and 1963.
February 25, 1947: Derailment and overturn on the Hachiko line of JNR, 184 killed, 497 injured.
April 16, 1947: Train fire on the Nara line of Kinki Nippon Railways: 28 killed, 64 injured.
July 1, 1947: Derailment and overturn on the Sanyo line of JNR: 15 killed, 72 injured.
January 5, 1948: Derailment on the Seto line of Nagoya Railway Company: 35 killed, 154 injured.
March 31, 1948: Rear-end collision on the Nara line of Kinki Nippon Railways: 49 killed, 272 injured.
April 24, 1951: Train fire at Sakuragicho Station on the Keihin-Tohoku line of JNR: 106 killed, 92 injured.
October 15, 1956: Collision and derailment on the Sangu line of JNR: 40 killed, 96 injured.
December 12, 1960: Collision at a level-crossing on the Kishin line of JNR: 10 killed, 57 injured.
October 26, 1961: Derailment on the Betsudai line of Ohita-Kotsu Railways: 31 killed, 38 injured.
May 3, 1962: Triple train collision at Mikawajima Station on the Joban line of JNR: 160 killed, 296 injured.
November 9, 1963: Triple train collision at Tsurumi Station on the Yokosuka line of JNR: 161 killed, 120 injured.
After the Yokosuka Line collision accident of 1963 serious railway accidents involving dozens of dead ceased to occur thanks to improved safety precautions taken by the railway companies. Nevertheless, more than 1,000 railway accidents, mainly at railway crossings, have been reported each year.
March 4, 1971: Collision at a level-crossing on a line of Fuji Express Railways: 14 killed, 68 injured.
October 25, 1971: Head-on collision in a tunnel of Kinki Nippon Railways: 25 killed, 236 injured.
November 6, 1972: Train fire in the Hokuriku tunnel of JNR: 31 killed, 637 injured.
December 28, 1986: Trains fall from a railway bridge on the Sanin line of JNR: 6 killed, 6 injured.
December 5, 1988: Rear-end collision on the Chuo line of JR East: 2 killed, 109 injured (The first accident after the privatization of JNR)
May 14, 1991: Head-on collision on a line of Shigaraki-Kogen Railways: 42 killed, 614 injured.
December 27, 1995: Accident at Mishima Station on the Shinkansen line of JR Central: 1 passenger killed. The first fatal accident since the inauguration of the Shinkansen line in 1964.
March 8, 2000: Tokyo subway hits a derailed train: 5 killed, 33 injured.
April 25, 2005: Derailment in Amagasaki on the Fukuchiyama Line of JR West: 107 killed, 461 injured.
Source: TASK, the Railroad Safety Promotion Conference, and iKjeld.com
- Photographs of the Japanese railway system
- Sites about the Japanese railway system
- Japan's Legendary Railway Safety
- Major Train Accidents in Japan
- Japanese Train Crash: "It Was so Terrible, I Had to Walk Away"
- List of major railroad accidents worldwide since 1831
- List of major railroad accidents worldwide on Wikipedia
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