Long night for hundreds of passengers on Japan train trapped by snow

Passengers alight a train on East Japan Railway Co.'s Shinetsu Line, where they spent the night after it was stranded between stations due to heavy snowfall, in Sanjo, Niigata Prefecture, on Jan 12, 2018.
Passengers alight a train on East Japan Railway Co.'s Shinetsu Line, where they spent the night after it was stranded between stations due to heavy snowfall, in Sanjo, Niigata Prefecture, on Jan 12, 2018.PHOTO: REUTERS

TOKYO (REUTERS) - Hundreds of passengers spent a cramped and uncomfortable night and much of Friday morning (Jan 12) stuck in a crowded train trapped by heavy snow at a railroad crossing not far from a station in northern Japan, an official said.

The Shinetsu Line in Niigata prefecture came to a halt just before 7pm (8pm Singapore) on Thursday, with about 430 people on board, many with no seats, before resuming 15½ hours later.

The train had heating and a washroom, but five passengers reported falling ill and were taken to hospital, said a spokesman for East Japan Railway, which operates the line. Passengers were advised not to get off and walk to the station, about 1km away, for safety reasons, he said.

Heavy snowfall - more than 10 times the average in some areas - has snarled transportation across northern and western Japan.

The train was stuck in Sanjo city, about 300km north-west of Tokyo. Sanjo was expecting as much as 20cm of snow in a six-hour period on Friday.