• Kyodo


Police began an investigation Monday into a head-on collision between two trains on a single-line railway Sunday in which 25 people were injured, police officials said.

Police start an investigation into a head-on collision on a single-line railway in which 25 people were injured.

Investigators inspected the signals, brake marks and radio equipment on the section of track where the collision between two single-car trains occurred on the Echizen Line, operated by Keifuku Electric Railroad Co. in Fukui Prefecture.

Police said they will also continue questioning passengers and railway officials about the accident. , the second serious one involving the carrier in the past seven months.

Following instructions from the transport ministry, the railway suspended train runs on its three lines in the prefecture and provided bus services for passengers. , company officials said.

The driver of one of the trains, Mitsufumi Akashi, 36, told police he “was surprised to see a train approaching” on the single track between Hossaka and Hota stations.

The other train, driven by Makoto Shimokawatoko, was supposed to wait for the arrival of Akashi’s train at Hossaka Station before leaving the station.

Shimokawatoko, 22, was seriously injured in the accident and police said they will question him later.

According to police and ministry investigators, the local train driven by Shimokawatoko failed to wait its scheduled two minutes before leaving Hossaka Station.

The timetable shows that a local train bound for Fukui arrives at the station just before 6:09 p.m. and departs two minutes later when an express train bound for Katsuyama pulls into the station.

However, investigations revealed that the accident took place at 6:08 p.m. or 6:09 p.m. about 300 meters from the station in the direction of Fukui.

Keifuku Electric Railroad officials said trains can leave the station even on a red signal because there is no system to automatically halt trains.

Trains pass each other at the station only twice a day, they said.

A similar collision occurred Dec. 17 on a separate Keifuku Electric Railroad line in the town of Matsuoka in the prefecture. In that accident, a motorman was killed and 25 people were injured.

In 1977, a Keifuku Electric Railroad train derailed in Katsuyama, injuring 17 passengers.

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