Japan Railway & Transport Review No. 11 (pp.64–65)

September – October 1996

1 September Beijing-Kowloon railway line (2381 km) opened. China's largest railway project required 40 billion yuan in total construction costs. Expected to contribute to integration with Hong Kong and stimulate local economies. Five passenger and 20 freight departures in each direction daily
4 September Kansai International Airport celebrated second anniversary. Served 18 million domestic and international passengers, plus more than 500,000 tonnes of freight—increase of about 20% over first year. Now offers 568 weekly flights to 35 countries or regions
13 September Japan Airlines jumbo jet to Frankfurt aborted takeoff at Narita injuring 22 passengers during plane evacuation due to tyre fire
15 September Controversial project to pave 620-km stretch of highway through Amazon between Manaus and Caracarai funded by several Andean governments
17 September Two-set early-morning train smashed into lorry on unmanned crossing on main Aberdeen-to-Inverness line in Scotland with no injuries
20 September Freight train with faulty brakes ploughed into commuter train carrying rush-hour passengers north of Rio de Janeiro, killing 15 and injuring more than 30
JR West and JR Central announced plan for N300 Series nextgeneration rolling stock, running directly through Tokaido and Sanyo shinkansen lines. Key concepts include more comfortable ride, environmental considerations, and functional carriages
23 September Memorial to victims of Hanshin Expressway, which collapsed in Great Hanshin Earthquake, unveiled prior to re-opening of final rebuilt section
26 September Pan American World Airways started budget passenger flights between Miami, Los Angeles and New York. Company founded by group of investors who purchased name from bankrupt former Pan Am
27 September DC-3 Dakota vintage aircraft crashed into North Sea off Holland killing all 26 passengers and six crew on board
28 September Locomotive hit school bus on level crossing in Russia's southern Rostov region killing 17 children
Former JNR Aomori– Hakodate ferry Daisetsu-maru opened as floating hotel in Nagasaki. Facilities include 66 Western and Japanese guest rooms, banquet room, multi-purpose hall and lounge
29 September Italian Pendolino superexpress train extended service to Bern, linking Swiss capital with Milan in 3 hours and 15 minutes. Bern already served by French TGV (4 hours and 30 minutes to Paris) and German ICE (4 hours to Frankfurt), making it accessible by three of Europe's greatest railways
1 October Hankyu Railway, Hanshin Electric Railway and Kobe Express Railway permit passengers to use commuter passes anywhere between Umeda (Osaka), Sannomiya (Kobe) and Kobe Express Terminal. Aim to boost use of commuter passes, based on companies' experience of cooperating with rail transfers after Great Hanshin Earthquake in January 1995
2 October Aeroperu Boeing 757 bound from Miami for San Diego, Chile, via Lima, Peru, crashed off coast of Lima killing all 66 passengers and 9 crew
8 October JR West stocks listed on stock exchange. Japanese National Railway Settlement Corporation released 750,000 stocks on bid, and another 950,000 for general sale, out of total issue of 2 million. Closed first day at ¥367,000, up from ¥357,000 (Face value ¥50,000)
Antonov air freighter from Moscow crashed at Turin's Caselle Airport in north-west Italy, killing five crew members and injuring others on ground
11 October Single-car trainset hit truck at crossing in Gifu Prefecture, Japan, injuring 16, including 12 elementary school students after truck ignored warning
12 October Hyper Cherokee light aircraft crashed in Kumamoto Prefecture, Japan, injuring pilot and son
15 October CSX Corporation, largest rail freight transport company in USA, and Conrail announced merger around latter half of 1997. World's largest rail freight company with over 48,000 km of track and annual sales exceeding $14 billion
International passengers and staff at Rome's Leonardo da Vinci Airport pushed British Airways Boeing 737 bound for London approximately 40 meters onto runway in protest against strike
17 October Megafloat Technical Research Union, composed of 17 steel, shipbuilding and heavy industries, carried out takeoff and landing training on super-large floating marine structure (Megafloat) off coast of Kanagawa Prefecture, Japan. Structure strong contender for replacement for US Futenma Air Base in Okinawa Prefecture
22 October Five-seater helicopter crashed at Middlewich, UK, killing all five people on board including vice-captain of British Chelsea soccer team
23 October US Boeing 707 air freighter bound for Miami plunged into urban area of Manta Port, Ecuador, killing 36 passengers and crew, and injuring another 50 on ground
25 October Argentine Air Force Boeing 707 cargo plan crashed during emergency landing at Ezeiza, Buenos Aires' main international airport, killing 2 and injuring 6
29 October Running tests began on Hokuriku Shinkansen, scheduled to begin service in autumn 1997. General Test Stock for Electrified Track, nicknamed Dr Yellow (see front page) used for test
30 October JR Freight uses Global Positioning Satellite (GPS) to locate trains. System can be used in conjunction with Freight Information Network System (FRIENDS), and will prove worth when normal communications impossible
31 October Fokker 100 belonging to TAM Brazil airline plunged into residential area and burst into flames shortly after takeoff from Congonhas Airport in southern Sao Paulo. All 89 passengers and six crew on board killed, and fatalities among residents on ground

Photo: Former JNR ferry Daisetsu-maru opened as floating hotel
(Transportation News)
Photo: Artist's impression of Series N300
(JR Central)


Makoto Koga
Took office as Minister of Transport on 7 November. Graduated from Nihon University Department of Commerce in 1965. Served as Parliamentary Vice-Minister of Construction, Head of House of Representatives Construction Committee, Chairman of LDP Construction Division, Chairman of Election Bureau, and Deputy Secretary General. Elected six times to House of Representatives

Shigemitsu Miyake
Former Chairman of Tokai Bank and JR Central died on 7 September, aged 85. Joined Bank of Japan after graduating from Faculty of Law, Tokyo University in 1933. Left Bank as Member of Board of Directors in 1967 to take up position as Vice-President of Tokai Bank. After leaving Tokai Bank as Chairman, served as first Chairman of JR Central when inaugurated in 1987. Retired in 1993 to become Honorary Chairman and Advisor

Shizuo Asada
Died on 8 November, aged 85. Joined Ministry of Communications in 1936 after graduating from Faculty of Law, Tokyo University. After war, moved to Ministry of Transport, and served as Shipping Bureau Chief and Permanent Under-Secretary before leaving Ministry in 1963 and joining Japan Airlines. Worked on liberalization of aviation between Japan and former Soviet Union, and Japan and China. Faced many problems, including New Delhi and Moscow air crashes (1972) and hijackings in Dubai (1973) and Dacca (1977)