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Heavy Snow Strands Hundreds Overnight on Train in Japan

About 430 people were stuck on a train overnight in Japan by heavy snow that blanketed much of the country’s Japan Sea coast, a railway official said Friday.

The train started moving again shortly before 10:30 a.m., about 15 hours after it had been forced to stop the previous evening, said Shinichi Seki, a spokesman for the Niigata branch of JR East railway company.

The four-car train departed Niigata city in heavy snow Thursday at 4:25 p.m., more than an hour behind schedule, Seki said. As the snow accumulated, the train’s wheels couldn’t turn anymore, and it stopped between stations about 7 p.m. at a railway crossing.

Officials decided it was too risky to evacuate all the passengers because of the deep snow and darkness, Seki said. The train had electricity and heat and toilets. Five passengers who said they did not feel well were taken off.

Some passengers were allowed to leave the train after sunrise with the help of railroad personnel, if family members had come to meet them.

Trains continued to be delayed or suspended on Friday. Seki apologized for the major trouble caused to travelers.

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