Japan Railway & Transport Review No. 48 (pp.54–56)

January–April 2007

2 JanuaryJapan’s National Police Agency announced 6352 road fatalities in 2006 (down 7.6% over previous year, 6th year of continuous decrease)
5 JanuaryAbout 10 m of heavy communications cables (20-mm Cu core) buried alongside Heisei Chikuho Railway in Fukuoka Prefecture stolen in night causing stoppage of three trains on tracks and delays to 11 other services
5 JanuaryTaiwan High Speed Rail opened between Taipei and Kaohsiung (345 km) with 19 daily operations using 12-car train sets of Series 700T shinkansen designed by JR Central
7 JanuaryWashington Metro (USA) subway train derailed near Mt. Vernon Square Station injuring 16 out of 150 passengers
14 JanuaryHead-on collision between trains in central Thailand killed 3 railway staff and injured more than 100 passengers
15 JanuaryJR Hokkaido announced start of test runs of dual mode vehicle (DMV) from 14 April between Hamakoshimizu and Mokoto on Senmo main line (DMVs operate as bus on road and as railcar on track)
15 JanuaryChina Ministry of Railways announced plans to build 2099 km of new tracks and double-track 2347 km of existing lines starting from 2007
16 JanuaryHeavy freight train with 4 engines and 80 wagons derailed in Kentucky near Louisville, causing fire resulting in closure of nearby road and evacuation local residents
28 JanuaryChina Railway started operation of CRH2 16-car ‘Bullet Train’ (based on JR East Hayate E2 design) between Shanghai and Hangzhou, Nanjing with planned operations between Beijing and Shanghai and Guangzhou and Shenzhen from February

(The CRH1 series is based on a design by Bombardier of Canada, the CRH3 series on a design by Siemens of Gemany, and the CH5 series on a design by ALSTOM of France.)
1 FebruaryChina Railway debuted CRH1 8-car high-speed train set built under licence from Bombardier of Canada between Guangzhou and Shenzhen
2 FebruaryStart of Taiwan Shinkansen services over 7-km Taipei to Banciao section from 6 February announced, completing full service over 345-km shinkansen line from Taipei to Kaohsiung
9 FebruaryMinistry of Science and Technology of the People’s Republic of China and Ministry of Finance People’s Republic of China announced plans to develop high-speed linear motor car running at 500 km/h by 2010
16 FebruarySheba Express Railway tourist train crossing Andes in Ecuador caught telephone wires and pulled down utility pole, killing two Japanese tourists sitting in roof seats and injuring one other person
23 FebruaryVirgin Trains London-to-Glasgow Pendolino tilting express train running at 130 km/h derailed and overturned by faulty points near Grayrigg, Cumbria, killing one passenger and injuring 22 others
28 February11-car train derailed by sandstorm in Xinjiang autonomous region of China, killing four people and injuring 34 others
1 MarchMayor of Miki City, principal stakeholder in third-sector Miki Railway (6.6 km between Miki and Yakujin) announced closure plan due to mounting losses with plans to run substitute bus service from 2007 at earliest
1 MarchSingle railcar belonging to JR Hokkaido collided with truck on level crossing in Bihoro Town injuring train driver and 50 of 70 train passengers
2 March345-km Taiwan Shinkansen fully opened between Taipei and Takao
2 MarchConstruction of 28.1-km monorail linking Dongzhimen subway station and Beijing Capital International Airport started with opening expected on 1 July 2008 as China’s first fully automated transport system
8 MarchTibetan Autonomous Region of China announced start of construction in mid-2007 of 254-km branch line between Lhasa and Shigatse of Qingzang Railway (1956 km between Xining and Lhasa) with completion expected in 2010
17 MarchExtension to 6.6-km Saito branch line from 21.2-km main line of Osaka Monorail (straddle beam monorail) opened between Handai Byoin Mae and Saito Nishi (4.2 km) stations
18 MarchWork started on 7.1-km Sendai Airport Transit (Natori to Sendai Airport) offering airport access in 17 minutes (express train) by changing from JR Central’s Tohoku main line at Natori Station
18 March23 private railways and 31 bus companies in Tokyo Metropolitan Area (TMA) started joint use of PASMO IC card service along with acceptance of JR East’s Suica card, permitting through travel at 1638 railway stations in TMA using one card; both PASMO and Suica cards have electronic money functions
18 MarchJR West’s 79.1-km Tsuyama Line (Tsuyama to Okayama) resumed services 4 months after derailment accident caused temporary suspension of operations
25 MarchTokyo Monorail (17.8 km from Haneda Airport No. 2 Terminal to Hamamatsucho Station) stopped for about 5 hours, trapping 130 passengers for 2 hours when 6-car set running on down line touched arm of crane working under elevated section, damaging lead car and preventing it entering station
26 MarchJR Freight started rail-sea-rail service with Korea Railroad Corporation, linking Japan’s domestic freight container services to Korea’s railway system via rail ferry between Hakata and Busan
26 MarchKintetsu Corporation applied to Ministry of Land, Infrastructure and Transport to abandon 16.6-km Iga Line (Iga ueno to Igakanbe) as class-1 railway business and establish Iga Railway as class-2 railway business.  Targeting move to new business model from autumn 2007, Kintetsu aims to become third-sector railway business owning railway infrastructure
30 MarchShimabara Railway applied to Ministry of Land, Infrastructure and Transport to abandon southern half (35.3 km) of 78.5-km Shimabara Line in Nagasaki Prefecture between Shimabaragaiko and Kazusa from 31 March 2008, substituting with bus service
31 MarchKurihara Den’en Railway closed 25.7-km Kurihara Den’en Line in Miyagi Prefecture between Ishikoshi and Hosokura Mine Park Mae, substituting bus service from April
31 MarchKashima Railway closed Hokota Line (27.2 km from Ishioka to Hokota, substituting bus service from April
31 MarchNishi-Nippon Railroad closed 9.9-km section between Nishitetsu Shingu and Tsuyazaki (running parallel to national road and JR Kagoshima main line) of 20.8-km Miyajidake Line in Fukuoka Prefecture, substituting bus service
1 AprilTrain collided with large truck on line in Yuncheng City, China, killing 6 people
3 AprilFrench TGV V150 recorded world top speed for train running on rails of 574.4 km/h, breaking previous record of 513.3 km/h set in 1990
5 AprilTrain arriving at station northeast of Paris, ran into buffers after brake failure, slightly injuring 71 passengers
6 AprilWork started on 60-km straddle-type No. 3 monorail line in Chongqing City, China, with completion due in 2010
14 AprilHokkaido tested dual-mode vehicle (DMV) with 22-km return journey over Hamakoshimizu to Makoto section of Senmo Line on outward leg and running on national highway on return leg
18 AprilChina Railway implemented major timetable revision to facilitate high-speed operations, raising present maximum speed of 160 to 200 km/h on 6000 km of tracks and to 250 km/h on some other sections
26 AprilJR Central President Masayuki Matsumoto announced plan to start commercial linear motor Maglev services in 2025 between Tokyo and Osaka although route and infrastructure plans still undecided
26 AprilThird-sector Miki Railway taken over from JNR (6.6 km between Miki and Yakujin in Hyogo Prefecture, Japan) announced plans to abandon railway operations due to red budget with submission of closure application to Ministry of Land, Infrastructure and Transport in June


Mr Tetsuya Kobayashi
Promoted from post of Managing Director to President of Kintetsu Corporation from June 2007. Joined Kintetsu after graduating from Faculty of Politics and Economics at Waseda University in 1968, holding posts of Director in 2001, and Executive Director from 2003 to 2005. Current President Masanori Yamaguchi becomes Chairman

Mr Kazumasa Mawatari
Former JNR Vice-President and Japan Telecom President and Chairman died of brain haemorrhage on 18 April

Photo: JR Hokkaido entered trial revenue operation of its dual-mode vehicle (DMV) on 14 April. The DMV can run on both roads and rail tracks and can be switched in 10 – 15 seconds. Trials will continue until the end of September 2007. (JR Hokkaido)