• Kyodo


About 1,000 passengers spent the night inside five Japan Railway trains that were stranded on the JR Takasaki Line in Saitama Prefecture, apparently because of frozen power lines, East Japan Railway Co. officials said Saturday.

More than 3,000 passengers were stranded when 11 trains on JR’s Takasaki and Tohoku lines came to a halt at stations in Saitama Prefecture after a power failure was reported just before 10 p.m. Friday. In all, some 47,900 people on the two lines in Saitama and Tochigi prefectures were affected, the officials said.

While most passengers were able to return home by other means of transportation, about 1,000 on the Takasaki Line had to spend the night aboard the trains, with JR East providing them with meals.

According to JR East, a Tohoku Line train from Utsunomiya in Tochigi Prefecture bound for Tokyo’s Ueno Station started losing speed near Nogi Station in Tochigi. An employee later found that one of the train line’s power cables was frozen in several locations between Hasuda and Nogi stations.

This forced the railway operator to cancel 32 runs on the line. Roughly 1,300 passengers on five trains between the two stations were temporarily stranded.

On the Takasaki Line, irregularities were found in the motor of a train at around 11:10 p.m. Friday. The problem was apparently the result of frozen cables. Forty trains were canceled, with six trains stuck between Fukiage and Miyahara stations. Some 2,000 people had to wait aboard the trains for the problem to be repaired.

Early Saturday, JR East was forced to cancel 20 trains on the Kawagoe Line in Saitama Prefecture after a similar power failure affected a deadhead train at around 4:20 a.m. The Ryomo Line, which runs between Gunma and Tochigi prefectures, halted seven trains between Isesaki and Oyama stations after a local train lost power at around 5:20 a.m.

JR officials said electric pressure fell after discharges of electricity due to ice on power lines, a rare event in areas that are not mountainous.

Ice claims 39 injuries

Thirty-nine people have been admitted to Tokyo hospitals after slipping on ice after snow started falling in the capital on Friday, the Tokyo Fire Department said Saturday.

Thirty-two of them were hospitalized on Saturday alone, it said.

They include an 88-year-old man in the city of Higashi-murayama, western Tokyo, who broke his leg Saturday morning when he fell while walking his dog.

In Akiruno, a suburb of western Tokyo, a 47-year-old woman broke her leg Saturday when her bicycle toppled over on an icy road as she was on her way to her office.

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