The turtle wasn’t hit by a train, but was still too slow to get out of the way of another source of danger.

On Sunday morning, a train left Nagoya Station and began heading west along the Kansai Line, bound for Kameyama Station. “Kameyama” translates literally to “turtle mountain,” but the four-car train’s journey ended up having another connection, and an unfortunate one, to the shelled reptiles.

Shortly before 8:50 a.m., the train reached Kasado Station in Mie Prefeture, just two stops away from Kameyama. However, before it could get underway again a railroad switch had to be engaged to ensure the train would continue heading in the right direction. When the switch failed to engage, Japan Railway workers went to investigate, and found a turtle had gotten caught in the switch.

▼ Kasado Station

Unfortunately, the attempt to engage the switch crushed the turtle, killing the animal and leaving it in such a condition that it’s specific species could not be determined by rail workers. The incident stopped trains along the line for 45 minutes while the animal was removed and the tracks examined, making this the second time in recent memory that an animal, and it’s death, caused a stoppage of train service in Japan.

Local experts from Mie’s Toba Aquarium speculated that the creature could have been a red-eared slider, Reeves’ turtle, or Japanese pond turtle, as the egg-laying season for all three runs from May to July, and that the animal possibly got caught in the switch while looking for a safe place to lay its eggs.

▼ A red-eared slider

“Turtles getting stuck in the switches is not uncommon,” commented a JR employee, revealing that the sad turn of events is something the company has had to deal with in the past. Not being experts in turtle behavior ourselves, we can’t make any specific suggestions, but since the problem is apparently a recurring one, hopefully experts can come up with some sort of countermeasure, like has been done to keep deer off of Japan’s train tracks, to let both swift-running trains and slow-moving turtles get around Japan safely.

Source: Asahi Shimbun Digital via Hachima Kiko
Top image: Pakutaso
Insert images: Wikipedia/MChew, Wikipedia/Tm
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