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Police reconstruct fatal Yokohama collision between train and truck

Kyodo

Police investigators on Tuesday staged a reconstruction of a fatal accident in September that saw an express train collide with a delivery truck at a railway crossing in Yokohama.

A similar type of train as the one involved in the Sept. 5 accident was used in the reconstruction, which was carried out in the early hours of the day. The driver of the train was also there.

The collision at a crossing on the Keikyu Line between Kanagawa-Shinmachi and Nakakido stations caused the eight-car train to derail, killing the truck driver and injuring more than 30 passengers.

Police suspect the 67-year-old truck driver got stuck at the crossing and that his negligence was at fault for the accident.

Investigators verified the point at which the train driver saw an obstacle-detection signal indicating an abnormality at the railway crossing, as well as at what point the driver applied the brakes.

The train driver was quoted by the police as saying that he “applied the emergency brakes after the normal brakes.”

According to Keikyu Corp., the operator of the train line, when emergency brakes are applied on an express train running at 120 kilometers per hour, it takes around 520 meters to stop.

At the time of the accident, the emergency signal lights for the obstacle detection device could be seen 570 meters away from the spot of the collision. Earlier this month, the operator installed a new obstacle detection device at a spot that can be seen 900 meters away from the railway crossing.

The truck driver struggled to make a right turn to enter the crossing from a narrow side road, with video footage taken by a security camera near the site showing him repeatedly turning the steering wheel of the 12-meter-long truck and moving forward and backward, according to the train operator.

The suspension of train services after the accident affected about 630,000 people, according to the company.

The Keikyu Line runs through Tokyo and neighboring Kanagawa Prefecture. It also carries passengers to and from Haneda Airport.