Overnight, hundreds of snow-filled train cars, filled with passengers who had made the unusual decision to take a day off from work, headed into Japan’s Southern Tier for the Tokyo-Osaka train link. As usual, the Japanese government lifted the train ban to allow for those stranded travellers. The Central Japan Railway (JR West) reported on social media that as many as 1,000 cars filled with passengers were stranded on the tracks. The stranded travelers took all available space in the bus and commuter train depot they could find, with the unusual exception of what are known as “greyhound trains” — whose signs say they provide “standard, comfortable, safe and cozy transport” — and Kansai International Express Railways (KI-TX), where passengers who had boarded the Kansai to Osaka train one week earlier were placed on a modified train to Watari Airport and flown to Osaka where they could catch a plane back to Japan.
It’s the third straight winter in Japan has seen record levels of snowfall, resulting in unprecedented travel chaos. In 2016, the last time such a storm struck, millions of passengers were stranded as hundreds of trains were halted. Ise-Shima Airport in central Japan was paralyzed by the snow, causing long delays to flights as storm-damaged escalators, stairs and wheelchair lifts were restored.
Read the full story at The Japan Times.
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