OSAKA – Shinkansen services resumed normal operations Thursday morning following wide disruptions due to a Wednesday power outage that affected at least 50,000 passengers, including 1,500 people who stayed in train cars overnight.
According to JR Tokai and JR West, the outage, which began at around 7:55 p.m., forced the cancellation of 29 trains and caused delays for 144 trains between Kyoto and Hakata stations.
JR Tokai said it found and fixed a severed overhead power line in Takatsuki, Osaka Prefecture at around 1 a.m. Thursday. The company said it was looking into why the line, which has a diameter of 1.5 cm, was cut. JR Tokai periodically checks and replaces the lines as they wear out from contact with the pantographs of high-speed trains.
Damage to overhead power lines caused outages between Shinagawa and Odawara stations on the Tokaido Shinkansen Line in 2010 and near Koriyama Station on the Tohoku Shinkansen Line in 2015. Both cases led to major disruptions.
JR Tokai allowed 1,500 passengers who had no way to get home or reach their destinations to stay overnight in shinkansen trains at Tokyo, Nagoya and Shin-Osaka stations.
At Shin-Osaka Station after 1 a.m. Thursday, a passenger complained to a JR agent about the disruption, which forced him to miss his last local train home.
Another passenger, a 46-year-old woman from Osaka’s Izumiotsu, stayed overnight on a train at Shin-Osaka Station. “I was stuck on the train and couldn’t go home as I missed my last train (from Shin-Osaka),” the woman said.
Kiyoshi Morita, 54, was in a long line of people waiting for taxis at Kyoto Station in the early hours of Thursday.
“The sun might rise before I can get a taxi,” said Morita, who was trying to get home to the city of Joyo.
A 36-year-old passenger whose train stopped due to the outage said his train car went dark except for backup lights. He said an announcement was made asking people not to smoke because the ventilation system was offline.
He said other passengers seemed annoyed by the delay, letting out audible sighs.
“Everybody looked tired,” he said.