MAY 15, 1998    ENDSTATION      ISSUE # 7
Natural destruction of Kobe
Copyright  endstation 1998.
In 1995 there was a horrible earthquake in Kobe - Japan. Subway cars, kilo- meters of track and railway stations was totally destroyed.
Tracks and railway stations were particularly hard hit. All the lines had elevated structure and embankment 
failures, overpass 
collapses, distorted rails, and other severe damage. A large number of cars were damaged, and some fell onto city streets. Several stations and several kilometers of track were destroyed, and numerous spans collapsed.
the trains were out of service for six months
The Shinkansen (Bullet Train) was constructed in 1964. Most of its path in the Kobe area is through two long tunnels under Rokko Mountain. No infor-  mation on the tunnelsâperform- ance was imme- diately available. For a length of  3 kilo- meters, this viaduct was severely damaged, with a number of the longer spans collapsing. The service on the Hankyu line and the Shinkansen was disrupted for six months. Within about a week after the earthquake, rail service was restored to Kobe from Osaka via a major detour, which resulted in a 2-hour trip versus the normal half hour.
14 minutes
The earthquake struck about 14 minutes before trains in Kobe began to move. Thousands of commuters would have been in moving trains if the earthquake had occurred later, and the number of deaths could have been even higher. 
In the port area, Rokko Island is served by a dual monorail (people mover), which collapsed at several locations.
3-meter-deep cave-in on the street above
Damage to underground facilities, such as mines, tunnels, or subways, is rare in earthquakes. An unusual example of severe damage to this type of facility occurred in the Kobe subway system, a two-track line running under central Kobe. The between-track columns failed catastrophically in shear, dropping the roof slab almost onto the tracks over about a 90-meter length. More than 30 of the 35 piers supporting the platform and the ceiling at the Daikai Station were badly damaged, causing a 3-meter-deep cave-in on the street above.