Commuters climb down ladders and walk along rail tracks to evacuate from a train in Takatsuki, Osaka Prefecture, after a morning earthquake on June 18. (Video by Kazuhiro Ichikawa)

A strong earthquake that rocked Osaka Prefecture on June 18 wreaked havoc on the morning commute, halting Shinkansens and forcing passengers to evacuate from trains and walk along rail tracks amid fears of aftershocks.

Bullet trains made an emergency stop between Tokyo Station and Odawara Station in Kanagawa Prefecture as well as between Nagoya Station in Aichi Prefecture and Hakata Station in Fukuoka Prefecture.

The trains have started to resume operations in succession.

Tokaido Shinkansen service between Maibara Station in Shiga Prefecture and Shin-Osaka Station in Osaka resumed at 12:50 p.m. Sanyo Shinkansen service between Shin-Osaka Station and Okayama Station in Okayama Prefecture resumed around 3 p.m.

All train services were temporarily halted on West Japan Railway Co's conventional lines in the area as well as lines operated by Hankyu Co., Nankai Electric Railway Co., Kintetsu Railway Co., Hanshin Electric Railway Co. and Keihan Electric Railway Co.

Osaka Metro Co. also suspended all its train operations.

Commuters massed in front of the ticket gates at Osaka Metro's Sakaisuji-Hommachi Station in Osaka’s Chuo Ward.

“When our train arrived at the station, a powerful horizontal shaking struck us,” said Hirokatsu Yamazaki, 17, a second-year high school student. “Cellphones of commuters sounded an earthquake emergency warning all at once. I was surprised because I’ve never experienced such a massive earthquake.”

Announcements were repeatedly broadcast over the station intercom such as, “An earthquake registered a lower 6 on the Japanese seismic intensity scale. All train services have been suspended.”

Commuters called their companies on their cellphones to say, “I will be late” and “No subway trains are running at the moment.”

Later in the day, JR West and Osaka Metro resumed part of their operations, and many private-sector railway companies restarted all their operations.

According to JR West, however, service on part of the conventional lines is expected to remain suspended for the rest of the day.

Among the private-sector companies, Hankyu has continued to suspend most of its services.