National

Passengers stranded as downpour hits shinkansen

Kyodo

Bullet train services in central Japan were left in tatters Wednesday morning after heavy rains hit Shizuoka Prefecture, inconveniencing some 90,000 passengers.

Central Japan Railway Co. (JR Tokai) canceled 54 bullet train runs on the Tokaido Shinkansen Line, connecting Tokyo and Shin-Osaka stations, and temporarily suspended operations between Shin-Fuji and Kakegawa stations in Shizuoka Prefecture after the amount of rainfall exceeded the safety limit.

A lightning strike resulted in a partial power outage at around 7:30 a.m., causing a 20-minute halt to service between Odawara in neighboring Kanagawa Prefecture and Shin-Fuji.

The rain caused bullet train services to be partially halted shortly after 8 a.m., and by 9 a.m. all services between Tokyo and Shin-Osaka were stopped.

Passengers formed long lines at Tokyo, Nagoya and Shin-Osaka stations, seeking refunds for canceled train runs, while station workers were kept busy providing explanations and asking the passengers to give up their travel plans.

Bullet train services were gradually resumed in the afternoon as the rain abated, but JR Tokai warned delays and cancellations could continue into later in the day.

Conventional train services were halted between Atami and Kakegawa stations in Shizuoka Prefecture for more than four hours before resuming shortly before 1 p.m.

The heavy rain also caused expressway operators to close part of the Tomei Expressway linking Tokyo and Nagoya.

Cold air flowing into the Kanto and Tokai regions caused thunder and rain in Pacific coastal areas, according to the Meteorological Agency.

In the city of Shizuoka, the cumulative rainfall through noon reached 362 mm, already topping a daily record for the area. As much as 81.5 mm of rain was recorded in just one hour to 9 a.m.

The rain caused floods and landslides in Shizuoka and the neighboring cities of Fujieda, Yaizu and Okabe.

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