• Kyodo

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A man driving a car down railroad tracks Thursday morning in Inazawa, Aichi Prefecture, was rear-ended and killed by a train, which subsequently derailed, injuring the motorman, conductor and 21 passengers, authorities said.

The 8:30 a.m. collision derailed the first two cars of the eight-car Nagoya Railroad Co. (Meitetsu) express train with some 900 passengers aboard.

Firefighters said the passengers’ injuries are not severe.

The driver of the car apparently was not Japanese and police said they are trying to identify him.

The car had run through lowered gates at a grade crossing and was driving up the tracks ahead of the train, which was bound for Toyohashi Station in Aichi Prefecture from Shin-Gifu Station in Gifu Prefecture.

The track speed limit in the section where the accident occurred is 120 kph, according to the railroad.

The crossing is some 50 meters south of Okuda Station, and gates and train approach alarms are installed there, police said.

The Land, Infrastructure, and Transport Ministry will launch an investigation into the accident, ministry officials said.

Users of TU-KA group cellular phones experienced connection problems after the accident, the Tokyo-based operator said.

As of noon Thursday, users were encountering connection problems for calls from Tokyo to the Kansai and Tokai regions as well as calls from Tokai to Tokyo, the group said.

According to KDDI Corp., which laid the circuits at the accident site, some 5,200 other lines for data transmission services may have also been affected.

KDDI said it is moving quickly to restore normal services, including using other lines for connections.

KDDI’s land-line phones in Nagoya also experienced temporary connection difficulties, but normal services were restored by 11:30 a.m.

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