Bullet train with 700 passengers brought to an emergency stop as the driver forgets his glasses in Japan

The Nozomi 53 bullet train bound for Hakata in Japan was brought to a halt in Okayama yesterday as the
driver had forgotten his glasses. The 48-year-old driver of the Nozomi 53 bullet train bound for Hakata contacted the JR WestTokyo control office at about 8:10 p.m. on Aug. 28, confessing that he didn’t have his glasses with him. The driver got on the train at Shin-Osaka Station, and drove for about 40 minutes without his glasses. He reportedly left his glasses in a locker at Shin-Osaka Station. JR West said the train was brought to an emergency stop in Okayama’s Higashi Ward, about eight kilometers ahead of Okayama Station, and a replacement driver was taken to the scene in a bullet train traveling in the opposite direction. Operations of the train, which was carrying about 700 passengers, resumed after about 45 minutes. The incidents caused delays to 17 trains on the Sanyo Shinkansen Line, affecting about 6,300 passengers.

According to the company’s regulations, drivers must have a level of vision of 1.0 — the decimal equivalent of 20/20 vision — or better when wearing their glasses, a company representative said. The level of vision of the driver in question was 1.0 in his left eye, but only 0.9 in his right eye. Nozomi is the fastest train service running on the Tokaido/Sanyo Shinkansen in Japan. The service stops at only the largest stations, and along the stretch between Shin-Osaka and Hakata, Nozomi services using N700 series equipment reach speeds of 300 km/h (186 mph). The trip between Tokyo and Osaka, a distance of 515 kilometers, takes 2 hours 26 minutes on the fastest Nozomi.