TOKYO: More than 400 people were stuck on a train overnight as heavy snowfall fell across Japan's western coast, the Associated Press (AP) reported.
The train eventually started moving at 10.30am (9.30am, Singapore time) on Friday (Jan 12), 15-and-a-half hours after it was forced to stop due to severe weather conditions.
According to the AP report, the four-car train operated by the JR East railway company left Niigata at 5.25pm on Thursday. As heavy snow accumulated on the tracks, the train's wheels became stuck and it stopped at about 7pm at a railway crossing.
Officials decided it was too risky to evacuate all the passengers because of the deep snow and darkness, said AP.
A spokesman for the railway company said that passengers, many of whom had no seats to sit on, were advised not to get off and walk to the station, about 1km away, for safety reasons.
Five passengers, who said they did not feel well, were taken off the train, which reportedly had electricity and heat.
Heavy snowfall - more than 10 times the average in some areas - has snarled transportation across northern and western Japan.
The train was stuck in Sanjo city, about 300km northwest of Tokyo. Sanjo was expecting as much as 20cm of snow in a six-hour period on Friday.