Shinkansen Delay Hits Over 42,000 Holiday Travelers

April 29, 2019 – Around 42,600 passengers were delayed by up to four hours yesterday, the second day of the extended “Golden Week” holiday, due to a power failure on the Joetsu Shinkansen bullet train line connecting Tokyo and the city of Niigata.

Trains in both directions were halted after an outage at around 7:20 a.m. between Jomo-Kogen Station in Minakami, Gunma Prefecture, and Urasa Station in Minamiuonuma, Niigata Prefecture. Service resumed at about 11 a.m., with 22 trains canceled and another 47 late up to four hours, including Hokuriku Shinkansen trains using part of the line.

Operator East Japan Railway Co. (JR East) says the fault originated at the power supply from Shinyuzawa substation in Yuzawa, Niigata Prefecture. Another substation’s supply was used to restore service after about 30 minutes. However, trains were halted again at around 8:30 a.m. when issues were detected in a power re-routing system between Jomo-Kogen and Echigo-Yuzawa stations caused by the original problem.

During the brief service resumption, the Toki No. 301 service from Tokyo to Niigata on the Sea of Japan managed to reach its destination around 40 minutes late.

April 28 marked the second day in this year’s Golden Week holiday, extended in celebration of the Imperial era change from Heisei to Reiwa, and JR East says almost all reserved seats on outbound Joetsu line bullet trains were booked. Some passengers facing long delays switched to slower local line services from connecting stations, the railway said. No passengers were injured or complained of ill health during the delays. The cause of the Shinyuzawa substation failure is unknown.