JR, rescuers hold underground drills

OSAKA — About 250 railway workers, police officers and firefighters took part in a fire drill Jan. 31 at the JR Tozai Line’s underground Mitejima Station, which will open March 8 to link Amagasaki, Hyogo Prefecture, and Osaka’s Kyobashi district.Because a 10.2 km length of the 12.5 km train line will be underground, crews and workers need to master underground emergency routines through such drills, company officials said. The drills were intended to deal with a hypothetical fire in the front car of a train running from Ebie Station toward Osaka’s Mitejima Station.The part of the line used for the drill runs beneath the Yodogawa River and is the first underground line for West Japan Railway Co., which manages the railway. After the train stopped at Mitejima Station, the crew practiced evacuating and rescuing injured passengers.Smoke pots were used in the firefighting drill so crews could practice under conditions of reduced visibility. Workers also practiced opening and closing watertight doors smoothly to prepare for a water leakage situation in the tunnel, the carrier said.