The Shinkansen bullet train services in the Tokyo and western Japan area experienced massive delays on Friday as a huge fire hit a building near the JR Yurakucho Station, according to the East Japan Railway Co. and Central Japan Railway Co. There were no reported injuries from the fire but it did affect New Year’s holiday travelers’ plans for the weekend.
Around 6:35 a.m. on Friday, a fire broke out in a pachinko parlor near the station and then spread to four other nearby buildings. 50 fire engines were deployed to the area but they were unable to put out the fire fast enough to prevent them from being destroyed. JR officials had to suspend the services on the Tokaido Shinkansen bullet trains because some of their transmission cables were affected by the fire. The Yamanote line was completely suspended while parts of the Keihin-Tohoku and Tokaido lines also had to stop.
This was unfortunate for the travelers who were on the “return rush” to Tokyo after celebrating the New Year holidays outside the city. Travel usually peaks on Friday afternoon as the reserved seats on the bullet trains were almost fully booked. Service to the Yamanote line resumed at 12:30 p.m. but the delays will most likely affect all the schedules for the rest of the day. The operations of several stores in the vicinity of the station were also affected as the area was still surrounded by smoke by the time they were supposed to open. The station is near the popular Ginza shopping district of Tokyo.
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