Japanese Bullet Train Driver Leaves Cockpit To Use Toilet At 90mph
A 36-year-old train driver was found to have left the cockpit of a train to use the toilet while it was travelling at 90mph.
We’ve all run into a situation when we’ve needed the bathroom at an inconvenient time. However, few have had the need to leave 160 passengers on a train travelling at 90mph with no driver when they desperately needed the toilet.
An unnamed Shinkansen bullet train driver was faced with these stakes, but decided that they needed the toilet too badly to wait any longer. Safe to say, his employer wasn’t impressed with his journey to the bathroom.
On May 16 at 8.15am, while operating the Hikari No. 633 as it travelled between Atami station and Mishima station in Shizuoka Prefecture, the train driver needed the toilet too badly to continue waiting. As a result, he asked one of the train conductors to sit in his place.
It is worth remembering that the conductor is not trained to drive the vehicle, so probably wouldn’t be much use if an incident occurred. On this occasion, the conductor has said they didn’t touch any of the controls while the driver was absent.
The train driver was away from the cockpit for three minutes as he rushed to the bathroom because of abdominal pain. In fact, the driver explained that he hadn’t discussed the incident with his employer (JR Central) because of embarrassment. Nonetheless, both the conductor and the driver have now found themselves in a possible disciplinary situation.
The driver justified the breaking of protocol by saying that he did not want to delay the train. The bullet train services of JR are famed for their speed and punctuality, and are the envy of public transport systems across the world.
On the back of the incident, JR Central has issued an official apology and reported the incident to the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism. In addition, the company has said that it will be reinforcing rules and awareness of best practices among its staffers while it considers disciplining the driver and conductor.
The company claims that this is the first incident of its type in its history. However, a similar incident happened in 2001 when a driver was operating an out-of-service train.
With this impressive disciplinary record, it’s clear that the reputation of the train service is built on strict rules that really put into perspective how badly you need the toilet.
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