Doofus Of The Day #927

Today’s award goes to a gormless train driver in Japan.

The driver of a Japanese bullet train that can reach top speeds of 175mph has been suspended after being caught in the cab with his feet up.

The 29 year old admitted stretching his legs out on the dashboard for about 10 seconds, adding that he had done it a number of times before, according to operator Central Japan Railways Company.

The driver who has not been named was photographed by a rail enthusiast as his 16-car Kodama train passed between Kakegawa and Hamamatsu stations in the Shizuoka Prefecture. The photo has since been shared thousands of times on Twitter.

The incident prompted the Central Japan Railways Company to hold a press conference where a spokesperson apologised on behalf of the driver, reported Japan Today, adding that it was against the rules for a driver to have his feet up on the panel as it could prevent a fast response in the event of an emergency.

There’s more at the link.

175 miles per hour translates to fractionally under 257 feet per second.  That doesn’t give a whole lot of reaction time if a driver should see something wrong ahead of him!  Remind me not to ride behind that driver, if I should ever visit Japan . . .



  1. OT While living in the countryside of Japan, I had the opportunity of watching track being laid for a bullet train route. It was fascinating and an extremely precise operation.

  2. This guy can't do anything in an emergency except stop the train. Stopping the train takes a half a dozen miles. A couple of seconds with this guy's feet up really doesn't make any difference, except in the public perception where people think trains are safer than planes because they're on the ground.

    I suppose it's no good pointing out to people that all the times that a plane is in trouble is when it's near the ground, not when it's up high and away from everything. The big secret about rail travel is that it is orders of magnitude more dangerous than air travel. Butt you cannot convince people against their fear.


  3. A typical US passenger or freight train will cruise at 55 mph. Top of the line fast freight can on a good stretch of track approach 70 mph. It can take 4 or 5 seconds for the engineer to apply the brakes, and with a fully loaded freight take several miles to come to a complete stop.
    I worked for C&NW railroad for ten years, may it rest in peace. I thought it telling that we had a dual purpose accident form. One side was for reporting the particulars for shop accidents. The other was for crossing collisions.
    Simple fact, beating the train is always a fool's game.

  4. Train crashes are more likely to happen than plane crashes, but more likely to leave oodles of survivors. Most passenger train crashes involve plowing into idiots at grade crossings or derailments at low-to-moderate speeds.

  5. It is stupid, but it is also an indication of how little the driver has to do (or can do, to be honest). Really the only thing they actually need to do is stop at the right station and start up again when the doors are closed

  6. Re: TheOtherSean

    To find apples-to-applez comparisons isn't easy. I sorted through about a dozen different comparisons of passenger safety between commercial aviation and train travel, because they use different data sets and different methodologies. The numbers work out like this; Deaths for passengers per mile are somewhere between twice as high on a train to upwards of four hundred times as high on the train depending on whose data sets and analysis you use.

    I could not find a single instance where there was any claim that train travel was as safe as commercial aviation. It also has the side benefit of being less flexible, more expensive, and vastly slower, consuming 3 – 10 times as much transit time per trip.

    Gotta Love Trains.


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