NIIGATA, Japan (The Japan News/ANN) -Heavy snow continued to hit wide areas along the Sea of Japan coast and other parts of the nation — leaving a JR Shinetsu Line train with about 430 passengers stranded for about 15 hours from Thursday night to Friday morning in Sanjo, Niigata Prefecture.
The heavy snow particularly affected the Hokuriku region on Friday, as well as mountainous areas, due to a strong wintry cold air mass that hung over the nation for a few days.
According to the Niigata branch of East Japan Railway Co., the four-car train — which departed Niigata Station and was bound for Nagaoka Station in the prefecture — was forced to stop on a section between Tokoji and Obiori stations Thursday night due to snow that had accumulated on the railway. It resumed operation at around 10:25 a.m. Friday — about 15 hours later — after the snow was plowed.
Five of the passengers complained of sickness, and one man was taken to a hospital with symptoms of dehydration.
According to the JR East Niigata branch, the train was crowded with company employees, students and other people who were on their way home when it became stranded at a location about 300 meters from Tokoji Station.
The snowfall left a large number of vehicles temporarily stuck on expressways — including about 400 vehicles on a Hokuriku Expressway section between the Kanazawa Morimoto Exit in Kanazawa and the Oyabe Exit in Toyama Prefecture, and about 300 on the Banetsu Expressway in Aga, Niigata Prefecture.