2005_04_traincrashtokyo.jpgYesterday, a commuter train in western Japan derailed and crashed into an apartment building, injuring 340 and killing 73. Investigators suspect that the train's speed was a cause, because the conductor was trying to make up for a delay, since the train was running 90 seconds late. The 23 year old conductor had missed an earlier stop, had to go back, and then proceed again; the driver has not been found yet. West Japan Railway sources say that its president will resign over the accident.

Many of news outlets have noted that Japan has a "one of the world's largest, busiest and most sophisticated train networks, yet derailments and serious accidents are rare." Unlike the trains we're used to, like the NJ Transit, LIRR, or Metro North, Japan's commuter trains go into densely populated areas (more development occurs near train stations), which is why Gothamist was stunned and saddened by the visuals of the train actually wedged against the building.

There was a terrible train derailment in the L.A. area earlier this year.

Photograph from Agence France Press