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coming off the rails

The Japanese rail network is generally reliable, safe and efficient - apart from on those rare occasions when the train leaves the track at high speed, mangling the carriage and those within beyond recognition. I think this is why we have dentists. Not to look after our teeth but for identification when disfiguring things happen to our bodies. The looking-after-your-teeth bit is just a ruse by the authorities.

Thankfully, such occurrences don't happen every day. However, that nasty rail accident near Osaka earlier in the year did, as far as I can tell, have an adverse affect on the once impeccable service.

Before, trains running behind would speed in order to make up time. Such a reckless act is now out of the question. So these days late trains are a regular feature of the rail system here. As a result, I am having regular flashbacks to life in the UK, a place where it is a criminal offence for trains to run on time.

All I need now are carriages smelling of urine, and graffiti scrawled everywhere, and I won't be able to tell the difference.




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On Saturday, 17 December, 2005, Anonymous John said:

I was in Japan at the time of that accident, and heading to Osaka for a meeting too. It certainly made me think a little about the logic behind abusing train drivers for late arrivals.

Trains in Tokyo though when I was there again at the end of November, and even down in the Osaka area on my one day trip there, seemed to all be running as smoothly as ever, and were on time every time. Being able to get around on trains so easily is what I love most about trips to Japan. Shame the same is not true elsewhere in Asia where I've been for business (Seoul is a nightmare, and Taipei is not far behind).  



On Monday, 19 December, 2005, Anonymous Gavin Thomas said:

Just shows how tight they used to the run the schedule down there in Kansai (that's JR West if I recall), because of competition with the other private companies.

I guess the private companies in this part of the Japan (Tokyo) are less competition. Hence, there seems to have been little affect on the timings of the trains here. Thank goodness. Didn't want to be getting flashbacks of First Great Western trains!  



On Friday, 23 December, 2005, Blogger andy said:

I've never even seen a sign like that here in Tokyo. But I wonder if that's because of a) less competition, or b) no worries about speeding here.  



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