13 Feb 2004

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(Union News "Nikkan DORO CHIBA" No.5819,)(Japanes)


Broken part of rail track. There is 2 cm gap. At Soubu rapid line. Between Tsudanuma and Makuhari.


It has happened one after another at Soubu rapid line and Narashino area. This is an obvious foretaste of railway disaster. Now, safety of Japan Railway (JR) East, one of the fragmented & privatized companies is on the verge of crumbling.

On 6th of January, a railway track has been found broken at Soubu rapid line, between Tsudanuma and Makuhari. It was a driver of freight train who found the problem at 5 o'clock, early in the morning. He realized that a traffic light worked strangely and repeated green and red light alternately. As he checked the reason for it, he found that a track has completely been broken off and made 2 cm gaps as shown in the photo.

JR Chiba branch has announced and said "Track has had a crack (or flaw)". Just a crack? That is more than a crack! It has been broken in half. We have had so far partial crack or lack (chip) of tracks, but we have never experienced "broken in half" like this time.

On 13 January, less than a week from the revelation, we had to encounter another problem: Both rail tracks have been found broken off as shown on [picture 2] at examination 4 on Narashino train area.

A staff of Media Service Co., who came to work in the cargo there, saw that the railway track "flamed up". The broken part of track has made sparks which seemed like a flame every time train has passed on it.


It is gravely important that we have had 2 tracks broken in a row. JR East Co. is pouring its energy to subcontract maintenance works. Rail track & electricity maintenance works have already been contracted out up until the end of 2001. It is just a part of desk work office for subcontracting that remains not been subcontracted.

These subcontracting of maintenance work should be direct cause of broken rails this time. JR East Co. 's "Profit First" policy obviously attracts those grave incidents. This is definitely a part of privatization and fragmentation problem.

Now, we have heard that a book named "OFF THE RAILS, THE CRISIS ON BITAIN'S RAILWAYS" (*) is popular in the UK. After British Rail's privatization and fragmentation, they have had derail accidents again and again including fatal ones especially during the passed 2 years. The broken rail tracks problem was one of the causes for those accidents.

Now, Japan Railway has come to the same stage as described in the book.

(*) Written by Andrew Murray. Its Japanese title happened to be "Broken Rail Track".



Broken parts of examination 4, Narashino train area. Two rail tracks have been broken at exactly the same location. This has remained as this still now.

Last year, National Land and Transport Department visited the spots and checked the causes for the cases:

- Massive transport confusion on Chuo line in September

-Train's collision with construction parts on Keihin Tohoku line.

As to these cases, the Department gave orders on 17 December 2003 and said that JR East Co. should solve the problem and improve its business. It was JR East Co. 's "Ignoring Safety" policy that has triggered grieve problems like a series of accidents last year and broken rail tracks this year, and ended up to face improvement order.

Our union, Doro-Chiba has accepted this situation quite seriously. We have criticized Company's attitude towards various accidents and the improvement order. We have also proposed Company's Chiba branch to analyze and solve more than 100 cases including compartment troubles, traffic light failures, safety device breakdowns and broken tracks this time.

Now, if we fail to win, we really can be killed at work.

It is vital to keep fight:

- Stop discrimination to our members to promote to drivers!

-Stop unlawful move order to Mr. Hataki!

-Support moved workers for regaining their original workplace!

We will not obey to company's "Profit First" order!

National Railway Motive Power Union of Chiba (Doro-Chiba or DC)