Startling scene unfolds at Shinjuku Station.

With well over a million people passing through the facility every day, Tokyo’s Shinjuku Station isn’t just the busiest station in Japan, but the entire world. Nevertheless, things are usually pretty orderly inside the rail hub, thanks to its wide, brightly lit passageways and dozens of exits keeping the flow of passengers in and out smooth and relatively free of congestion.

But a sudden disruption occurred on the afternoon of August 28 when blinding clouds of thick smoke began spreading through Shinjuku Station.

Shinjuku’s numerous platforms are connected by a network of corridors both above and below the boarding areas. Shortly before 2:30, clouds of smoke appeared on both platforms and pedestrian passages, prompting a partial evacuation of the facility.

Some startled witnesses suspected a fire, and it’s likely a few with longer memories had their minds leap back to the Tokyo subway sarin gas attack of 1995.

Thankfully, the actual reason for the clouds of smoke turned out to be nothing so destructive or sinister. Rail operator Japan Railways is currently in the middle of a construction project that will add a new subterranean pedestrian walkway connecting the east and west sides of Shinjuku Station. At 100 meters (328 feet) long and 25 meters wide, the new tunnel is a huge undertaking, which requires some huge machinery. A piece of equipment designed to gather and clear rubble from the tunnel tipped over and began emitting smoke, leading to the frightening-looking scenes shown here.

Luckily, the construction accident occurred at a time of day when the station is at just about its least crowded, avoiding the panic that could have occurred had this taken place during rush hour. Train service was temporarily delayed but has since been restored, and no injuries or other ailments have been reported in connection with the incident.

Source: Jin, NHK News Web
Featured image: Twitter/@sattunsattun