Japan Railway & Transport Review No. 63 (topics)

August–December 2013

2 August

JR West announced at least 1 year required to repair damage to Yamaguchi and San’yo lines after record rains on 28 July washed away three bridges on former line and forcing suspension of steam locomotive Yamaguchigo (62.9 km between Shin-Yamaguchi
and Tsuwano)

9 August

Small plane crashed into 9 houses near Newhaven Airport Connecticut, USA, killing parent and child onboard and another 2 children on ground

10 August

Government of Myanmar announced results of international bids to build and extend 3 airports; building and operation of new Hanthawaddy international airport near Yangon to be managed by Korean Pusan International Airport business group, extension and operation of large Yangon International Airport to be managed by consortium of local and Chinese companies. Mitsubishi Trading and JALUX business group won bid to upgrade and manage Mandalay International Airport

14 August

UPS-owned A300-600F cargo plane crashed and burned on landing at Birmingham Airport, Alabama, USA, killing 2 crew onboard

15 August

Two commuter trains collided in Neuhausen am Rheinfall, Switzerland, injuring 17 people4-track Light Rail Transit (LRT) system covering 60 km opened in Shenyang City, China, using 30 train sets of 2 low-floor carriages

16 August

Restored steam train built in 1898 hauled tube train carriages between Paddington and Farringdon Road stations Ferry carrying 831 passengers collided with freighter near Cebu Island, Philippines, before sinking, leaving 32 people dead and 170 missing

19 August

People crossing tracks at Dhamara Ghat Station in Bihar, India, struck by express train, killing 37 and injuring more than 40 others; angry train passengers rioted and set fire to standing train

20 August

Low-cost Carrier (LCC) Air Asia Japan subsidiary of ANA Holdings announced name rebranding from 1 November 2013 to Vanilla Air; ANA Holdings cancelled merger with large Malaysian LCC to take ownership as fully owned subsidiary from June 2013

21 August

Bus ran off road and down 60-m ravine on mountain road near Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, killing 37 out of 53 people onboard and leaving 16 other seriously injured

23 August

Kinki Sharyo Company announced $360 million order for 194 light rail vehicles for Los Angeles Metro from its US subsidiary KI LLC; order includes option for 78 sets in August 2012 contract with delivery scheduled for 2017 to 2019

23 August

Super Puma-AS332L2 helicopter servicing oil rigs in North Sea crashed off Scotland, killing 4 people, with 14 others.including flight crew.rescued

25 August

Freight train derailed and overturned in Tabasco Province, Mexico, killing at least 6 and injuring more than 20 Honduran migrants riding illegally on
freight wagons

26 August

UN World Tourism Organization announced 5.2% year-on-year increase (494 million) in world overseas tourists for January to June with Central and Eastern Europe and SE Asia as especially popular destinations and exceeding early estimates by 3% to 4%

27 August

British Institute of Directors (IOD) requested retraction of construction plans for HS2 line between London and Birmingham due to perceived drop in cost.benefit effect of proposed line by IOD members

27 August

Osaka Metropolitan Government announced new derailment prevention guard designed to prevent trains on Osaka metro and elevated sections (about 7 km) of Midosuji and Chuo lines leaving tracks during earthquake; first such guards in Kansai region, excluding shinkansen

27 August

DMV promotion working group tasked with promoting introduction of dual-mode vehicles capable of running on both railways and roads established in 8 cities along tracks of JR Aterazawa Line in Yamagata Prefecture as well as Flower-Nagai Line of Yamagata Railway and local lines connecting with JR Ou Line to offer loop-line operations with national roads connecting to
terminus stations

27 August

ANA Holdings announced purchase of 49% share in Myanmar mid-sized carrier Asian Wings Airways worth \2.5 billion; aims to increase planes and domestic and international services based out of Yangon

29 August

JR Central reopened extension test track (42.8 km) at Yamanashi Linear Maglev test facility after 2-year closure to run 500-km operation tests of new 5-car L0 test vehicles with future target of 12-car tests targeting start of commercial operations in 2027

31 August

Seibu Railway announced installation tests of new platform doors to prevent passengers falling onto tracks at New Tokorozawa Station in Saitama Prefecture; new design supports trains with different numbers of doors and door layouts and jointly developed with Kobe Steel and University of Tokyo

31 August

15-km Light Rail Transit (LRT) system opened in Tours, central France, linking city north and south; 1.8 km of tracks using APS power system to eliminate unsightly overhead catenary in city. 21 train sets each composed of 7 low-floor cars (43 m total length) built by Alstom

31 August

20-car KTX high-speed train on up line struck by slow passenger train in Daegu Station, Korea, derailing 9 KTX cars into path of other KTX running on down line and slightly injuring 4 out of 1300 passengers on three trains; accident caused by passenger train mistakenly leaving station as KTX still passing



Mr Yuichi Masuda
appointed Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism (MLIT) Permanent Vice-Minister on 1 August. Joined old Ministry of Construction in 1975 after graduating in law from University of Tokyo and held various senior posts before appointment as Vice-Minister for Infrastructure in August 2010

Mr Toshiyuki Adachi
appointed MLIT Engineer-in-Chief on 1 August. Joined old Ministry of Construction in 1979 after graduating in mechanical engineering from Kyoto University and held various senior posts before appointment as Director-General of Water and Disaster Management Bureau in September 2012

Mr Ryuji Masano
appointed MLIT Vice-Minister for Infrastructure on 1 August. Joined old Ministry of Transport in 1977 after graduating in law from University of Tokyo and held various senior posts before appointment as Vice-Director of Coast Guard

Mr Hiroshi Muto
appointed MLIT Director General on 1 August. Joined old Ministry of Transport in 1977 after graduating in law from University of Tokyo and held various senior posts before appointment as Director-General of Automotive Bureau in September 2012

Mr Hirofumi Hanaoka
appointed MLIT Director-General of Policy Bureau on 1 August. Joined old Ministry of Construction in 1980 after graduating in law from University of Tokyo and held various senior posts before appointment as Deputy Vice-Minister for Policy Coordination in February 2013

Mr Hideo Tokuyama
appointed MLIT Director- General of Roads Bureau on 1 August. Joined old Ministry of Construction in 1979 after graduating in mechanical engineering from University of Tokyo and held post as Chief of Maintenance Bureau for Tohoku Region from January 2011

Mr Hiroshi Tabata
appointed MLIT Director-General of Automotive Transport Bureau on 1 August. Joined old Ministry of Transport in 1981 after graduating in law from University of Tokyo and held various senior posts before appointment as Senior Deputy Director-General of Railway Bureau in September 2012

Mr Kisaburo Ishii
appointed MLIT Director- General of City Bureau on 1 August. Joined old Ministry of Construction in 1979 after graduating in law from University of Tokyo and held various senior posts before appointment to Minister’s Secretariat in July 2013

Mr Shigeto Kubo
appointed Secretary of Japan Tourism Agency on 1 August. Joined old Ministry of Transport in 1977 after graduating in law from Kyoto University and held various senior posts before appointment as Deputy Vice-Minister in September 2012

Mr Yuji Sato
appointed Secretary of Japan Tourism Agency on 1 August. Joined old Ministry of Transport in 1977 after graduating in law from Kyoto University and held various senior posts before appointment as Deputy Vice-Minister in September 2012

Mr Yasuo Harada
appointed MLIT Assistant Vice-Minister on 8 August. Joined old Ministry of Construction in 1977 after graduating in law from University of Tokyo and held various senior posts before appointment as Cabinet Office Policy Chief in August 2010


3 September

Twenty-two companies including JTB and Isetan Mitsukoshi Holdings announced establishment of Japan Shopping Tourism Corporation for increasing tourism as PR for enjoyment of shopping; they plan to publish information on Japan Shopping Festival in summer
and winter

4 September

Hiroshima Railway, Mazda, The University of Tokyo, and The National Traffic Safety and Environment Laboratory (NTSEL) announced 10 and 11 October demonstration test in Hiroshima of new technology for preventing collisions between street trams and cars (communications-type ASV demo)

4 September

New Kansai International Airport Company announced joint business with Noi Bai International Airport, Hanoi, Viet Nam to assist with management and maintenance of airport fuel depot as part of JICA support request to New Kansai International Airport Engineering Co., Ltd.

5 September

JR East announced proposal to trackside local governments to reluctantly abandon restoration of Iwaizumi Line (38.4 km, Moichi to Iwaizumi) and substitute with bus service following line closure since July 2010 landslide, due to required minimum cost of \13 billion to assure safety if reopened

7 September

International Olympic Committee (IOC) awarded 2020 Summer Olympics to Tokyo at meeting in Buenos Aries, Argentina, as 4th Olympics in Japan following 1964 Tokyo Summer Olympics, and Sapporo and Nagano Winter Olympics

9 September

Long-distance bus drove off road and fell 100 m into river in Central Guatemala, killing 44 people and injuring 40 others

16 September

Tourist bus collided head on with heavy truck loaded with rocks and sand in Szechuan Province, China, before overturning off bridge and becoming buried under truck load, killing 21 of 24 people onboard bus

18 September

JR Central announced route and station locations for linear MAGLEV Shinkansen to link current Shinagawa and Nagoya Stations on Tokai Shinkansen in 2027, permitting changes to conventional lines serving intermediate prefectures

18 September

Double-decker bus struck by train on crossing near Ottawa, Canada, killing 6 people including bus driver and injuring 34 others

19 September

Kawasaki Heavy Industries announced order from New York Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) for 92 commuter railway carriages (46 train sets) to serve Long Island Railroad and Metro-North Commuter Railroad to be manufactured in USA and delivered from 2017 to 2018; contract includes option for up to 584 carriages with total value of $1.83 billion

19 September

Mitsui Bussan announced plan to take 20% stake worth \66 billion in Brazil’s second largest freight transport company in capital tie-up with large iron-ore mining company Vale; Mitsui to receive 20% share equity in VLI subsidiary of Vale managing rail freight and
harbour logistics

19 September

Lufthansa announced order for 59 units of Boeing 777X (34 units) and Airbus A350 (25 units) worth total of .14 billion; Lufthansa to discontinue use of B747-400 and A340-300 planes by 2025

22 September

Russian Railways and Democratic People’s Republic of Korea opened 54-km railway linking special economic zone in northeastern region with full upgrade of existing freight lines in border

27 September

Two freighters collided 11 km off coast of Izu Oshima Island, Japan, with one overturning to leave all 6 Japanese crew dead

29 September

Tourist water ferry based on WWII-era Normandy landing craft caught fire in River Thames, London, with all 30 passengers rescued after jumping into water

30 September

8-car train stopped at station near Forest Park, Chicago, Illinois, USA, hit by 4-car train leaving marshalling yard, slightly injuring more than 48 passengers

2 October

Bus running on expressway in Nevada, USA, suffered puncture and ran over central divider into oncoming traffic where collided with several other vehicles and large truck, killing 8 people in total and injuring 14 others

4 October

Small airplane (Brazilian Embraer) belonging to Associated Airlines crashed on landing at Lagos, Nigeria, killing at least 14 of 20 people onboard

7 October

Japan Air Lines announced order for 18 units of medium-haul A350-900 and 13 units of A350-1000 from Airbus with book value of \950 billion with option for further 25 units. Current JAL fleet mainly Boeing but switching to Airbus from 2014 due to excellent fuel efficiency; A350-1000 model uses extended fuselage design

8 October

JR East announced autumn 2017 introduction of new wireless train control system ATACS eliminating signalling and automatic train stop (ATS) system on Ikebukuro to Omiya section of Saikyo Line; system tested on Senseki Line in Miyagi Prefecture since 2011 but first implementation on busy line in
Metropolitan Tokyo

8 October

JR East and East Japan Railway Culture Foundation announced 7 November opening of International Conference of Railway Museums at Railway Museum in Saitama with presentations from overseas railway museums in UK, France, Switzerland, Germany, USA and Korea, as well as domestic Japanese museums belonging to JR East, JR West, JR Kyushu, and
JR Central

10 October

JR East and JR West announced four nicknames for new rolling stock on Hokuriku Shinkansen extension between Nagano and Kanazawa opening in spring 2015, cutting fastest time between Tokyo and Kanazawa to 2.5 hours; fastest train to be called Kagayaki, and others called Hakutaka, Tsurugi, and Asama, depending on operation type

12 October

Bus carrying 51 tourists near Cusco, Peru, ran off road to fall 200 meters to valley floor, killing everybody
on board

13 October

Pilgrims visiting Hindu temple in Madhya Pradesh, India, stampeded after rumored bridge collapse, killing at least 150 people and injuring more than 100 others
in crush

14 October

Light propeller plane crashed on landing in Baja California, northwest Mexico, killing all 14
people onboard

15 October

Panama-registered freighter sunk by high seas caused by Typhoon 26 off Busan, S. Korea, leaving 9 of 19 crew dead and 2 missing

16 October

Lao Airlines turboprop plane (ATR72-600) crashed in Mekong River at attempted landing in outskirts of Pakse City, southern Laos, killing all 49 people onboard

19 October

Train ran into station buffers at Buenos Aries terminus, Argentina, injuring 58 passengers

19 October

Single-engine light airplane (Swiss Pilatus PC-6) crashed near Namur, Belgium, killing 10 skydivers onboard and pilot

29 October

13.6-km rail tunnel (1.4 km under sea bed) financed by Japanese yen loans and technology grant finally opened under Bosphorus Sea to link Europe and Asian sides of Istanbul 150 years after first plan, with links to existing suburban railway lines

2 November

Groundbreaking ceremony held for approx. 4.4-km extension to straddle-beam type Okinawa City Monorail (nicknamed Yui Rail, 12.9 km between Naha Airport and Shuri) running north from Shuri to Uranishi (provisional name) in Urasoe City, with operation slated for
spring 2019

2 November

Two small planes carrying 11 skydivers collided in mid-air over Superior, Wisconsin, USA, with all skydivers and one pilot parachuting to safety and other plane
landing safely

3 November

Overloaded ferry overturned near popular Pattaya Beach, Thailand, leaving 6 of 200 people onboard dead and 26 injured

3 November

Small propeller plane crashed and burned on landing in Bolivia, S. America, killing 8 or 18 people onboard and inuring 10 others

6 November

JR East announced join bid with partners Marubeni and Toshiba Corporation for supply of carriages for 23-km Purple Line now under construction in Bangkok, Thailand, as well as maintenance of above-ground infrastructure; 3 partners to finance establishment of local maintenance company with group’s general rolling stock works to supply railway carriages before start of commercial operations in 2016

6 November

JR East announced technical joint venture for transfer and maintenance of 180 Series 205 carriages now running on Saikyo and Kawagoe lines to KRL Jabotabek company of Indonesia

7 November

JR East announced joint plan with prefecture and municipal governments to abandon 38.4-km Iwaizumi Line between Moichi and Iwaizumi closed since landslide and derailment accident in 2010; closure to start from April 2014

11 November

Bus and truck collision in Quaggafontein, South Africa, killed at least 23 people and injured 23 others

12 November

US Department of Justice announced settlement with American Airlines and US Airways over merger conditions, creating larger carrier than current industry leader United; landing slots at 7 US airports to decrease after new company starts operations on 9 December

16 November

Helicopter crashed in dense fog into 23rd floor of 38-storey high-ride housing near south Seoul, Korea, killing both people onboard

17 November

B737 operated by Tatarstan Airlines crashed on landing at Kazan Airport in Tatarstan, S. Russia, killing all 50 people onboard

18 November

Train struck minibus and truck on rail crossing south of Cairo, Egypt, killing at least 24 people and injuring
28 others

19 November

JR Kyushu announced mutual crew exchange with Taiwan High Speed Railway starting from December to provide each with experience of in-carriage services

19 November

Business jet (TBM-700) crashed near Bourgogne region of S. France, killing all 6 people onboard

20 November

Mitsubishi Heavy Industries and Mitsubishi Trading announced test runs of 18-m large electric buses in Sao Paolo, Brazil, using lithium-ion secondary batteries and pantograph fast- charging system with passenger operation to start in August 2014

21 November

Supermarket roof collapsed in Riga, Latvia, killing at least 51 people including three rescue firemen

21 November

UK Department of Transport announced start of 24-hour weekend operations on parts of London Underground from 2015; target lines include Northern, Piccadilly, Victoria, Central and Jubilee with expanded services on other lines

22 November

Possible worst ever Super-Typhoon Haiyan packing wind speeds of 90 m/s struck central Philippines island of Leyte, leaving at least 5209 people dead and
1611 missing

22 November

Oil pipeline exploded in Qingdao City, China, killing at least 52 people and leaving 11 missing; leaking oil spread into sewer system causing widespread fires and explosions

25 November

JR West announced purchase of Series 88600 limited express carriages (2 train sets of 4 cars) as first new build in 21 years for Yosan Line between Takamatsu and Matsuyama to replace aging rolling stock from
June 2015

26 November

Osaka Metropolitan Government announced approval for US distressed asset investor Lone Star Funds to purchase Osaka Prefectural Urban Development Co, half-owned by Osaka Prefecture, buying company running Semboku Rapid Railway line (14.3 km between Nakamozu and Izumichuo) and commercial trucking distribution centre; Lone Star winning bid of \78.1 billion outbid other bidder Nankai Electric Railway

29 November

Small Embraer ERJ190-100 crashed at airport in Mozambique national park, killing all 33 passengers and crew onboard

29 November

Scottish police helicopter crashed onto roof of pub in Glasgow, Scotland, killing all three police officers onboard and 5 people in pub with 32 other injured


Mr Wa Tashiro
died aged 86 on 29 November. Joined Kinki Nippon Railway in 1949 after graduating from University of Tokyo Department of Engineering, becoming company President in 1999 and Chairman from 1999 to 2003. As well as redeveloping Osaka/Abeno and Uehonmachi, also became owner of Osaka Kintetsu Buffaloes professional baseball team from 2002 to 2004 while working as President of Osaka Chamber of Commerce from 1999 to 2004

1 December

High-speed lined operating at 300 km/h opened between Tianjin in northern China and Qinhuangdao City (287 km) in Hubei Province almost halving journey time to 1 hour 11 minutes

1 December

Diesel locomotive and 7 of 8 cars of train derailed on Hudson Line of Bronx Metro-North Railroad, New York, killing 4 people and injuring 63 others

4 December

UNESCO registered 22 traditional Japanese foods as intangible cultural assets following proposal from Japanese governmen

9 December

JR East announced planned late FY2014 opening of Ueno Tokyo Line nicknamed Tohoku Jukan Line linking Tokyo and Ueno (3.8 km) and offering through operations on Tohoku, Takasaki, Joban and Tokaido main lines with these sections divided by JNR-era work in Tohoku Shinkansen

9 December

Commuter train and fuel tanker collided on crossing in suburbs of Jakarta, Indonesia, causing tanker to explode and killing at least 10 people and injuring more than 80 others

9 December

American Airlines and US Airways announced merger to create worlds largest airline company to be called American Air Grou

13 December

Three companies, including JR East subsidiary Japan Consultants, announced order for feasibility study into plans for high-speed railway linking Mumbai and Ahmadabad (500 km) in northern India as part of October memorandum between JICA and Indian Railways Agency

15 December

Two students without tickets rode on roof of high-speed train from Moscow to Saint Petersburg (650 km) at speeds up to 240 km/h through sub-zero temperatures for 3 hours 45 minutes without suffering serious injury

16 December

Osaka Assembly rejected purchased by US investment fund Lonestar of shares in third-sector operated Osaka Assembly railway lines, such as 14.3-km Senboku Rapid Railway (Nakamozu to Izumichuo), and put out to tender again by bid runner-up Nankai Railway

16 December

Mitsubishi Electric announced acquisition of 80% of shares in large Italian manufacturer of railway carriage air-conditioning equipment KLIMATFER to strengthen European subsidiary’s sales, manufacturing and maintenance of railway air-conditioning systems

16 December

Bus drove off elevated section of expressway in suburb of Manila, Philippines, to fall on passenger vehicles below, killing at least 22 people and injuring 20 others

18 December

JR East announced plans to strengthen group rolling stock manufacturing by spinning off Nittsu Rolling Stock Works and establishing as part of J-TREC subsidiary on 1 April 2014

18 December

JR West announced decision to name new railway museum under construction in Umekoji, Kyoto, as Kyoto Railway Museum opening in spring 2016 adjacent to Umekoji Steam Locomotive Museum

20 December

Japan Tourism Agency announced 2013 as first year when foreign visitors to Japan exceeded 10 million, breaking previous record of 8.61 million in 2010; increase attributed to weak yen and increase in number of low-cost carriers on Asian air routes

26 December

Group of 6 companies including JR East subsidiary Japan Consultants and others announced order for feasibility study into planned high-speed railway lines on Java, Indonesia, between Jakarta and Surabaya (about 730 km) and Jakarta and Bandung (about
140 km)

26 December

New Kansai International Airport Company announced outline for new Terminal 3 building now under construction to serve low-cost carrier; will increase passenger-handling capacity to 8 million annually by FY2016 in combination with existing Terminal 2

26 December

Bus drove off bridge in northern Thailand, killing at least 29 passengers and injuring 4 others

28 December

Passenger carriages caught fire on train in Andhra Pradesh, southeast India, killing at least 26 people and injuring 8 others

28 December

High-speed railway line opened between Amoy in Fujian Province and Shenzhen City in Guandong Province, China, cutting journey times from 11 hours to 3 hours

30 December

Freight train hauling soya beans derailed in North Dakota, USA, to hit freight train hauling 104 fuel tankers, causing explosion and fire but no loss of life or injuries


Mr Yoshihiro Nakagawa
appointed on 3 December to post of President of Hankyu Railways in Hankyu Hanshin Holdings from 1 March 2014. Joined Hankyu Railways in 1976 after graduating in Economics from Keio University, holding positions as Director in 2005, and Managing Director in 2013. Previous President Mr Kazuo Sumi to become Chairman with representative rights

Mr Reinosuke Oya
died 5 December aged 90. Joined Nishi Nippon Railway in 1946 after graduating in Engineering from University of Tokyo, becoming President in 1985 after holding posts as Vice President, Managing Director, Executive Director, etc., and Chairman from 1991 to 1997

Mr Kouei Suge
appointed on 16 December to post of President of JR Central from 1 April 2014. Joined old JNR in 1977 after graduating in Economics from University of Tokyo before moving to JR Central in 1987 where held various senior posts including Director in 2002 and Vice President from 2008. Previous President Mr Yoshiomi Yamada to become Chairman with representative rights and previous Chairman Mr Nakayuki Kasai to become newly created position of Honorary President with representative rights