KOBE -- The first carriage of a limited express train derailed after colliding with a lightweight van at a railroad crossing in this western Japan city on Nov. 23, but no injuries were reported.
The accident occurred at Takaha Crossing between Rokko and Mikage stations on the Hankyu Kobe Line, linking the major cities of Osaka and Kobe, in Kobe's Nada Ward at around 7:40 p.m. About 400 passengers and crew were aboard the train, while nobody was inside the van.
According to Hyogo Prefectural Police, a 42-year-old delivery driver explained that he "had parked the vehicle on a nearby slope but I may not have applied the handbrake properly." The car is believed to have been parked on the shoulder of a slope about 10 meters away from Takaha Crossing. Authorities are investigating the cause of the accident.
A 22-year-old male university student, a resident of Kobe's Hyogo Ward who was in the second carriage of the eight-car limited express train, said, "The emergency brake was applied immediately after the emergency bell rang and there was a big shock a few seconds later. Some people staggered about but everyone remained unperturbed."
After the accident, Hankyu Corp. suspended train operations between Shinkaichi Station, in Hyogo Ward, and Shukugawa Station, in the prefectural city of Nishinomiya, on the Kobe Line that evening and from the first train the following morning. Services were resumed along a part of the segment at around 9:20 a.m. on Nov. 24, before operations fully returned to normal at around 10:30 a.m.
(Japanese original by Atsuko Nakata and Kwanghoon Han, Kobe Bureau)