Photo/IllutrationWorkers on Sept. 6 continue efforts to remove a Keikyu Corp. train car that derailed on Sept. 5 after a collision with a truck at a train crossing. (Toshiyuki Hayashi)

  • Photo/Illustraion

A full resumption of train operations on the Keikyu Line was delayed to clear wreckage from a collision at a crossing in Yokohama that killed a truck driver struggling to get over the tracks.

Officials of Keikyu Corp. said normal operations should resume from the first train on Sept. 7.

The company initially sought to resume full operations from the evening of Sept. 6, but the removal of the first three cars of the express train that derailed in the Sept. 5 accident was taking longer than expected.

Keikyu suspended operations between Keikyu-Kawasaki and Kamiooka stations immediately after the collision. The service suspension was shortened to between Yokohama and Keikyu-Kawasaki stations from the first train on Sept. 6.

Work had continued overnight to separate the five cars that had not derailed. They were removed from the site early on Sept. 6.

Thirty-five of the 500 or so passengers on the express train suffered minor injuries in the accident.

Michio Motohashi, 67, was killed when the train slammed into his 13-ton truck that was carrying fruit to Chiba Prefecture.

Keikyu officials said security camera footage showed that Motohashi was having trouble maneuvering his 12-meter-long truck at the crossing in the minutes before the crash.

He drove the truck along a narrow road parallel to the Keikyu Line tracks and tried to make a right turn into the crossing about four minutes before the collision, they said.

But he had to repeatedly and slowly change the direction of the truck for about three minutes before even entering the crossing area.

During that time, the crossing bar was lowered and raised two times.

Motohashi managed to finally maneuver a right turn about 30 to 40 seconds before the collision. But he could not make a complete turn because the crossing was only about 11 meters wide. So he stopped the truck with only its front section within the crossing.

During that time, the crossing bar was again lowered and landed on the truck bed.

Motohashi moved the truck forward under the bar until the entire vehicle was within the crossing. While the truck was traversing the 20-meter-long crossing, the express train slammed into its left side and only came to a stop after traveling about 90 meters.

The train driver saw a signal along the tracks indicating that something was within the crossing area. He applied the manual brakes but could not stop the train in time to avoid hitting the truck.

The signal is located about 340 meters from the crossing, and it is possible for train drivers to spot that signal about 600 meters from the crossing.

Keikyu officials said the train, which was running at the maximum operating speed of 120 kph, could have stopped before reaching the truck had the brakes been applied when it was 600 meters from the crossing.

However, the officials did not say exactly when the driver applied the brakes.

Unlike other train companies in the Tokyo area, Keikyu has not yet installed an automatic train control system that can stop trains whenever an emergency situation is detected at a crossing.