Tokyo: A crack and oil leak was found underneath a running shinkansen bullet train in the first “serious incident” affecting the Japanese high-speed train system since 2001, media reported on Wednesday.
The trouble could have led to a high-speed derailment, Kyodo news agency quoted sources in the Japan Transport Safety Board.
The board was conducting hearing with officials of the West Japan Railway Co., operator of the train.
According to the operator, the crew of the Nozomi No. 34 bound for Tokyo noticed on Monday afternoon a burning smell when the train left Kokura Station in Fukuoka.
Although maintenance crew aboard the shinkansen heard an abnormal motor sound at Okayama Station they judged it would not affect the operation of the train and continued the run.
However, as the train left Kyoto Station the abnormal smell was detected again and JR West checked underneath the train at Nagoya Station and found the oil leak.
The operator halted the service and some 1,000 passengers changed to other trains, JR West said.
The company said a crack was found on the steel frame of the fourth carriage of the 16-car bullet train, which began its run at Fukuoka’s Hakata Station.
JR West said the company did not find any abnormality when it conducted a sight inspection of the train earlier.