Only three of 59 dangerous railroad crossings set to be fixed

JIJI

Only three of 59 underequipped railroad crossings in Japan where accidents resulting in death or injury, excluding suicide, occurred over a five-year period through fiscal 2016 are expected to be fixed, it was learned Saturday.

Railways say 11 of the 59 so-called Class 4 crossings without alarms or crossing gates had such accidents over five years ago. This shows how hard it is to mend such crossings swiftly, even after accidents.

Of the 59 crossings, three are set to be upgraded to Class 1 status in fiscal 2018 by adding alarms and crossing bars, including the Nakahara crossing in Minamiboso on the Uchibo Line run by East Japan Railway Co. (JR East) in Chiba Prefecture.

The other two are the Asahi Jinja crossing in Maniwa, Okayama Prefecture, on the Kishin Line run and the Tsutsuminouchi crossing in Hiroshima on the Geibi Line. Both lines belong to West Japan Railway Co. (JR West).

There are no clear plans, however, to upgrade or abolish the remaining 56 crossings.

In some cases, railways have failed to gain approval to do so from residents. In other cases, expenses related to the upgrade have posed a stumbling block.

While Class 4 crossings are no longer allowed to be installed, there were a total of 2,795 across the country as of March 2017.

Over the five-year period through fiscal 2016, 79 Class 4 crossings had seen accidents resulting in death or injury.

Of them, 20 have already been abolished or upgraded to Class 1.