Unmanned Tokyo transit line remains shut down

The automated Yurikamome Line connecting waterfront areas along Tokyo Bay remained suspended Saturday after the system was shut down the day before when a train lost a wheel, the operator of the train line said.

The suspension affected an estimated 80,000 to 100,000 people Saturday, according to the operator, Tokyo Waterfront New Transit System.

In the evening, the operator announced the suspension would remain in place at least through Sunday for safety checks.

The troubled train was removed from the tracks with a crane Saturday morning, and the Land, Infrastructure and Transport Ministry’s Aircraft and Railway Accidents Investigation Commission continued to investigate the cause of the accident.

The six-car train carrying some 230 passengers came to a halt Friday afternoon between Fune-no-kagakukan Station and Daiba Station. Nobody was injured in the incident.

The stoppage occurred after an axle was damaged for unspecified reasons and the wheel came off.

A malfunction in a speed controller was reported three minutes before the accident, which forced the train to stop temporarily, the operator said.

The Yurikamome Line, largely used by sightseers, connects Shinbashi and Toyosu stations. It is operated by computer without conductors or drivers. The trains have rubber tires and run on elevated tracks.

The line started operations in November 1995. Its operator is 67.7 percent owned by the Tokyo Metropolitan Government.