Rail staff were put to the test as they guided passengers through tunnels and emergency slides during their busiest hours.

Over the years, Japan’s rail network has shown us time and time again just how clean, courteous, and efficient a transport system can be. But while rail staff play their part in maintaining a sense of clockwork-precision on the rails, passengers play their part too, patiently dealing with crowded conditions and politely respecting rules of common courtesy while travelling from A to B.

This cooperative spirit was out on full display yesterday, as Osaka was struck by its strongest tremor in decades – an earthquake measuring a lower 6 on the Japanese seismic scale of 7. Occurring at 7:58 a.m., right in the middle of the country’s peak-hour period, trains in the affected regions were immediately forced to an emergency halt for safety reasons, stranding passengers inside carriages for hours and causing extensive delays to services.


As staff conducted safety checks on the train lines, commuters shared stories of events as they happened online, with some people tweeting from their seats. This passenger on the Tokaido Shinkansen bound for Osaka mentioned that they had made an emergency stop in Gifu Prefecture, with power cut on the train, leaving them unable to use the toilets.

Many others shared tales of mass exodus along the railway tracks as staff finally freed commuters from one-to-three-hour-long wait times on trains that had been stuck between stations.

A large number of commuters marvelled at the technique used to guide them to safety, as staff removed seats on the train, using them as makeshift slides between the carriage door and the ground below.

The seats, which are specially designed so they can be removed and used as slides in the event of an emergency, were pushed together by staff to form a secure exit for passengers.

Some people walked down the seats…


While others felt more comfortable using them as a slide instead.

Other passengers, like these ones on the Thunderbird Limited Express that connects Osaka Station Fukui and Ishikawa prefectures, made their exit with the help of stepladders.


Many passengers commented that this was their first experience walking on railway tracks, and local media showed just how well they followed instructions from staff to remain in one line as they walked to the nearest station.

Some passengers, however, found themselves walking along the railway tracks in a very different environment. After a three-hour wait in a train that had made an emergency stop in the middle of a tunnel, these passengers had a long way to walk towards the light.

Though some passengers were understandably frustrated at being trapped inside a train for up to three hours on their morning commute, most were breathing a sigh of relief that nothing worse had happened.

While the seats on these trains were being used as slides to guide passengers to safety, the seats on the Shinkansen have been designed for a very different story.

Source: Naver Matome
Featured image: Twitter/@kobeshinbun