Saturday, 2 November 2013

November 9, 1963: 162 dead in triple train smash near Yokohama

More than 162 persons were killed and 94 injured in a three-train smash-up on November 9, 1963 between Tsurumi Station and Shin-Koyasu Station on the Tōkaidō Main Line in Yokohama, Japan.

Japan National Railway Corporation (JNR) headquarters said the disaster occurred at about 9:50 p.m. when the last three cars of a freight train jumped the tracks in the path of a 12-coach Tokyo-bound Yokosuka Line passenger train.

The engine of the Tokyo-bound train rammed into the derailed freight cars and was thrown into the side of the fourth and fifth coaches of a 12-coach train bound for Kurihama that was passing on the other side. The engine shaved the sides off the two coaches and smashed into the sixth coach.

Four coaches of the two passenger trains were almost completely destroyed and the shock of the impact battered all passengers in both trains.

The Kurihama-bound train coaches, packed almost to capacity with commuters leaving Tokyo, was a bloody shambles. The first rescuers on the scene were unable to immediately tell the living from the dead in the mass of bodies and debris.

About 50 police vehicles and ambulances were called out to rush the injured to the city’s major hospitals.

A grocer who lives near the scene said he first saw “a huge mass of flames scorching the sky.”

Reisuke Ishida, president of the JNR, expressed his profound sorrow and regret over the disaster which he said occurred, “despite JNR’s all-out preventive efforts.”

He refused to take upon himself and his men the responsibility for the accident until the cause has been determined.

Saturday 02 November 2013


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