Amagasaki Rail Crash

The Amagasaki rail crash occurred on 25 April 2005 at around 09:19 local time (00:18 UTC), just after the local rush hour.

The Rapid Service (a seven-car commuter train) came off the tracks on the West Japan Railway Company (JR West) Fukuchiyama Line (JR Takarazuka Line) in Amagasaki, Hyōgo Prefecture, near Osaka, just before Amagasaki Station on its way for Dōshisha-mae via the JR Tōzai Line and the Gakkentoshi Line, and the front two carriages rammed into an apartment building. The first carriage slid into the first floor parking garage and as a result took days to remove. Of the roughly 700 passengers (initial estimate was 580 passengers) on board at the time of the crash, 106 passengers, in addition to the driver, were killed and 555 others injured. Most passengers and bystanders have said that the train appeared to have been travelling too fast. The incident was Japan's most serious since the 1963 Yokohama rail crash in which two passenger trains collided with a derailed freight train, killing 162 people.

The driver of the commuter train that crashed into a building in Amagasaki, Hyogo Prefecture, in 2005, killing him and 106 passengers, was worried about the conductor's radio call to the control center and applied the brakes too late as the train took a sharp curve too fast, a government panel said in a report released Thursday.

The final report on the accident, compiled by the government's Aircraft and Railway Accidents Investigation Commission, also blamed West Japan Railway Co. for the accident, citing its punitive re-education program for train drivers who committed mistakes such as overruns leading to schedule delays.

The commission, under the Land, Infrastructure and Transport Ministry, attached an opinion in the report urging JR West to give more practical training to improve drivers' skills and to place priority on safety when setting train schedules.

The commuter train came off the tracks at Amagasaki near Osaka, 410km (255 miles) west of Tokyo, and the front two carriages rammed into a building.

The train company said it was investigating the cause of the crash.

Some passengers said the train appeared to have been travelling too fast and began to shake before it derailed.

"The train overran a stop at the previous station and so it backtracked, so I guess the driver was in a hurry because the train was running late," one survivor told Japanese television.