SG 1

This is not how anyone wants to start their day.

After the string of holidays known as Golden Week, it was back to work this week for Japan. But even in this ever-industrious nation, it takes time to get back into the groove following a vacation, and no doubt many people riding the trains into Tokyo on Thursday morning found themselves wishing they weren’t going to the office.

And then, all of a sudden, they weren’t going to the office. We mean literally not going, because the trains had stopped due to a fire at a power converter station near Kawasaki Station at around 8 a.m.

It was bad enough to have train service suspended at the primary rail hub for Kawasaki, a city with over a million residents. What made matters worse, though, is that the lines that were shut down included connections with Shinagawa Station in Tokyo. Shinagawa is a major access point for people commuting into the capital from its south-side suburbs and Kanagawa Prefecture, where you’ll find not only Kawasaki but also Yokohama, Japan’s second-most populous city. And since all those people suddenly had no trains to transfer to, this was the result.

Stranded commuters flooded the platforms and choked the station’s passageways. Even those who just wanted to get outside and catch a taxi or bus to their destination found the gates clogged by the sudden glut of people simultaneously trying to exit the building, something which also happened last October.

Even once the trains started running again, the backlog of passengers meant that each train coming in was filled to bursting, and it was quite some time until conditions were back to normal.

It’s a good thing stations in Japan hand out official train delay notices that you can show to your boss to prove why you were late, because we imagine none of these people were sitting at their desks five minutes before their shift began.

Follow Casey on Twitter and he’ll give you something to read should you get stick half-way home with time to kill.

Source: Hachima Kiko
Top image: Twitter/@0811___0222gr