OSAKA – West Japan Railway Co. temporarily suspended services Saturday on its 14 train lines after a powerful typhoon unleashed a torrent of rainfall, affecting 700 train runs and 320,000 passengers in Osaka and other parts of the Kansai region.
The operations, all of which were restored later in the day, were disrupted on the first day of a three-day weekend, which also happened to be the opening of the summer holidays for many schools in the country.
The typhoon left the region early Saturday morning and became a tropical depression after making landfall in the area the previous day. By midmorning, the rain in central Osaka had eased.
But gauges showed that the total rainfall from early Friday to Saturday exceeded the maximum allowable level for train operations. JR West said that according to its safety regulations it is not able to resume operations until four hours after the rain stops and after it carries out safety checks.
It is rare for train services to be halted once a typhoon has passed through. One of the 14 lines resumed service shortly before noon.
“We apologize for causing trouble and would like to rework required steps after a typhoon has passed,” a JR West official said.
Services at other railway companies operating in the same area were also disrupted Saturday but operations on just a handful of lines were suspended.
JR West said Friday that it canceled a total of 137 limited express train runs and totally or partially suspended local train services on its nine lines, affecting about 200,000 people.
Later that night, about 1,600 passengers were trapped on a JR West train for four hours after the service was halted near a station in Kyoto due to heavy rain.
Many passengers complained of feeling ill, with some vomiting. A total of 19 passengers were later taken to hospital.
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