How to evacuate a train using the seats [SL Birdsite]
June 17, 2018 8:49 PM   Subscribe

After the 6.1 quake in Osaka this morning, here is a bit of positive news. Seats on Hankyu Railway trains (not linking to the railway since their site is a little hammered at the moment) can be removed and reassembled into exit ramps to get people out of the cars between stations. This is great.
posted by Gotanda (17 comments total) 24 users marked this as a favorite
That's genius!
posted by kitten magic at 9:59 PM on June 17, 2018 [2 favorites]

i was already at work this morning when the earthquake happened, and we had about 15 kids (between 1.5-5 years old) already. the kids did a fantastic job following our earthquake procedures, and thankfully nobody was hurt. one teacher had never been through an earthquake before and i think she was the most shaken by the whole experience.

since all the trains were shut down we and all the other schools in my company closed for the day. the last kids were picked up around noon and any remaining teachers were able to go home...

except my train line STILL isn’t running so i’m walking 10k back home.
posted by emmling at 10:23 PM on June 17, 2018 [15 favorites]

Oh wow, that link is super cool! Up here in Kyoto it was still surprisingly scary (my phone started doing the BWOOP BWOOP BWOOP after the earthquake started, at which point I was like YES PHONE I AM AWARE), but the only effect it had on my wife and me was that a picture fell off a shelf, and she was 20 minutes late to work because the subways kept stopping between stations on her way down to work. We got pretty lucky, all told.
posted by DoctorFedora at 10:36 PM on June 17, 2018 [7 favorites]

One of my Kanto friends who moved down to Osaka recently posted that she learned that emergency announcements at her university are in Japanese, English, and Chinese. Hell of a way to discover that. Thankfully it seems like loss of life and injuries are amazingly low--but still far too high--for such a crowded place. I just thought the seat to ramp conversion was the coolest thing. I never would have suspected they were set up that way.
posted by Gotanda at 10:47 PM on June 17, 2018 [4 favorites]

Let me jump on the good news train here, to confess my deep love for the Hankyu Line. These trains are gorgeous. The first time I saw them in Kobe, I actually missed my connection, because I was just standing there and staring at something I couldn't believe was real.
The glossy shininess of the deep, deep maroon at the outside of the carriages. The luscious forest green velvet chairs. The polished wood panelling. This all took me back to imagined train rides in the early sixties in North of Italy. This is what ends up on Wes Anderson's mood board but will be discarded as: too much.
And that's just from the outside looking in. Once you're seated you'll notice, even the springs in the velvet seating are retro (and very comfortable). At the stations at the end and the beginning of the route, the backs of the chairs automatically change so all passengers are traveling in a forward direction all the time. You can change this manually, so if you want, you can face each other.
The first wagon has a large window into the cockpit showing the machinist at work. Lots of women driving the trains. When the drivers operate the trains - wearing their vintage inspired uniforms - they wear white gloves. They blow shiny whistles on bright white cords. When they enter the train, they face the passengers and they bow.
Whenever I miss being in Japan, I dress in Hankyu Line colors.
Compared to the Shinkansen Hankyu line is cheap. (A bit) slower of course, but I love every minute in it. Seeing this bench/slide surprises me and it warms my heart. Hankyu Line is the train we all deserve. And after seeing todays news, I think there definitely room to talk about Wes Anderson doing the next Transformer movie.
posted by ouke at 11:24 PM on June 17, 2018 [28 favorites]

Hankyu also runs a kickass all-female musical theatre :D You can often see ads for their performances on the trains, since it was started to provide an off-peak traffic generator from Osaka/Kobe/Kyoto to rural Hyogo. And those trains are super comfy.
posted by I claim sanctuary at 12:14 AM on June 18, 2018 [3 favorites]

Yeah, there was an episode of a TV show about local cultural things (i.e. "wait, you mean that's not something that everyone does?" sorts of stuff) where they interviewed people from Osaka about their mental images and associations of the main private train lines in the region, and Hankyu was overwhelmingly regarded aspirationally, as being the "fancy" train line. Between the really nice old-fashioned-looking trains and the route that runs through comparatively richer areas, it's not hard to see why!
posted by DoctorFedora at 12:38 AM on June 18, 2018 [1 favorite]

I love it when design of an object deliberately includes useful secondary purposes that are not readily-apparent but feel blatantly obvious once you see it in action. The forethought involved in having seats also operate as an emergency exit ramp clearly shows.

It's sort of the same clever dual-purposing behind every airplane seat also acting as a floatation device, except with the latter they go out of their way to let everyone know, so while it is still functionally brilliant it seems to lose some of the elegance of the hidden ones.
posted by mystyk at 4:20 AM on June 18, 2018 [6 favorites]

ouke - That was a beautiful ode to the Hankyu trains. I also loved them during my (too short) time in Japan.

I hope the second earthquake they are mentioning doesn't happen.
posted by missmerrymack at 5:11 AM on June 18, 2018 [2 favorites]

As someone who lives less than 50 km from the epicenter, I assure you, I hope the second earthquake doesn’t happen way, way more
posted by DoctorFedora at 6:11 AM on June 18, 2018 [3 favorites]

This weekend was the 21st anniversary of the founding of Minoh Beer, located in the city of Minoh, just north of Osaka, so a good number of beer adjacent people I know in and around Tokyo were there, as well as Mrs. Ghidorah (in the interest of full disclosure, Mrs. Ghidorah frequently works for Minoh at festivals in eastern Japan, and I have also occasionally, they are awesome people making world class beer). I, sadly, had to work. Mrs. Ghidorah flew down Sunday morning to go to the celebration, and booked a hotel, knowing she probably wouldn't be up to travelling back. She was mailing me last night, complaining that she'd been foolish and picked a hotel by the airport so she could catch her flight back more easily. A bunch of people we know were all out drinking in the city center, where we usually stay, and there she was near the regional airport, on a Sunday night, with nothing open.

Then, this morning, and she's within a short walk of the airport, and all the trains are stopped and the busses are past capacity. A couple of flight rearrangements, and she was able to stop by my workplace right about the time I started my shift.

Photos friends have posted on facebook of their homes are pretty tough. It was evidently a strong, shallow quake, and I'm seeing a ton of pictures of shelves and cabinets all over the place, all the contents broken on the floor. A guy I know posted that pretty much every beer glass he's collected from events all over Japan had shattered, except, for some reason, his Minoh glasses.
posted by Ghidorah at 8:18 AM on June 18, 2018 [4 favorites]

Metafilter: ends up on Wes Anderson's mood board but will be discarded as: too much.
posted by bitslayer at 9:11 AM on June 18, 2018 [1 favorite]

Ghidorah, “fairly strong but fairly shallow” would describe me in high school explain why it was so severe at the epicenter, yet fell off rather quickly by the time the earthquake affected us up here. It’s often kind of interesting to compare magnitude and shindo scale ratings.

Gotta say, though, the two or three aftershocks last night that woke us up were not fun.
posted by DoctorFedora at 3:00 PM on June 18, 2018 [3 favorites]

DoctorFedora, I've really come to appreciate the Shindo scale. It makes a lot more sense, with the breakdown of what can happen at each level of intensity, as well as the gradation of what it feels like in different areas. Magnitude has always been just a number, and again, depending all sorts of factors, can feel quite different for the same intensity.
posted by Ghidorah at 5:39 PM on June 18, 2018 [2 favorites]

Right, exactly! Shindo is much more useful for describing the actual lived experience of a given earthquake, given that it's based on surface movement speed rather than just raw kinetic energy release. It also explains why a comparatively low-magnitude earthquake can be more damaging than a higher-magnitude one. It's a very useful scale overall.
posted by DoctorFedora at 6:01 PM on June 18, 2018 [1 favorite]

Glad to hear that Mrs Ghidorah is OK. But sad to hear that so many of your friends had a much harder quake than the people I heard from. Didn't mean to minimize anyone's shock or loss with this post.
posted by Gotanda at 8:20 PM on June 18, 2018

(my phone started doing the BWOOP BWOOP BWOOP after the earthquake started, at which point I was like YES PHONE I AM AWARE),

I had exactly that experience. By the time my phone started BWOOPing, I'd already scooped up my dog and all the alarm did was remind me to grab my phone on the way to the bathroom.

I'm not really sure why I bee-lined for the bathroom. I guess it seemed like The Safe Place To Go. Probably somehow related to the tornado training I had as a kid in America.
posted by gloriouslyincandescent at 12:40 AM on June 20, 2018

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