National

Halted by typhoon, Tokyo-Kanazawa direct bullet train services to resume Oct. 25

JIJI

East Japan Railway Co. has said that direct services between Tokyo and Kanazawa stations on the Hokuriku Shinkansen Line will resume on Oct. 25, after a partial suspension forced by powerful Typhoon Hagibis.

The total number of trains running on the line will be about 80 percent of the usual timetable, the operator, also known as JR East, said Friday. Meanwhile, the number of trains connecting Tokyo and Kanazawa, Ishikawa Prefecture, will be about 90 percent of the normal amount.

A detailed timetable will be published Wednesday. The two stations are terminals for the high-speed train line.

Damage from the 19th typhoon of the year, which struck mainly eastern and central Japan last weekend, has led to the suspension of services between Nagano and Joetsumyoko stations on the line. The decision to resume Tokyo-Kanazawa direct services came as restoration work is set to be completed.

The Hokuriku Shinkansen Line, jointly operated by JR East and West Japan Railway Co., was initially expected to have just 50 percent to 60 percent of its services restarted even after all of its sections are reopened, as heavy rains from the typhoon inundated 10 12-car trains for the line at a JR East-managed rail yard in the city of Nagano.

But JR East now expects that the reduction in services will be mitigated through the use of reserve train cars and cars undergoing inspections. The number of services will be increased gradually because of the planned introduction of five new trains to be completed by the end of next March.

Flooding triggered by the overflowing of the Chikuma River, which runs near the train yard, caused an electrical substation and passenger seats in the affected trains to be soaked in water. The disaster also caused two of the 10 trains to be derailed, with one of them being swept 10 to 15 meters from its original position.

While the extent of the flood damage is under investigation, a JR East official said that “there is no doubt that serious damage has been caused mainly to the electrical systems” of the inundated trains, which account for one-third of all Hokuriku Shinkansen trains, suggesting that the affected trains may be scrapped.

The train yard had been designated as an area at flood risk in a hazard map created by the Nagano Municipal Government.

The official said that JR East had no plan to evacuate the trains from the depot at the time of the disaster, based on the expected route of the typhoon. The company will consider measures to address future potential flood damage based on this incident, the official said.

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