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Learning English - Words in the News
14 August, 2006 - Published 10:17 GMT
Tokyo power cut
People had to find alternative means to get to work

Around eight-hundred-thousand households in and around Tokyo were left without power early on Monday morning after a crane brought down power lines. The blackout, which lasted about two hours, disrupted transport systems at the height of the morning rush hour. It was late morning before power had been fully restored to all the affected areas. This report from Chris Hogg:

Listen to the story

Tokyo Electric Company said the power was cut off when a crane mounted on a boat hit high-voltage power lines that crossed a river. The power cut couldn't have come at a worse time. As the rush hour got under way a number of train and subway lines had to suspend services.

Around one-hundred-and-twenty-thousand passengers were affected. More than two-hundred-and-sixty sets of traffic lights went out. Hundreds of thousands of homes and offices were without electricity. At least fifty-eight elevators got stuck, trapping people inside, although no-one was injured.

The Tokyo stock exchange was open as usual although some banks said computer problems were restricting their ability to conduct business. Tokyo Disneyland was forced to open its gates an hour later than usual on what was expected to have been one of the busiest days of the year due to annual holidays. Most attractions weren't working at first, an official explained. He said he'd never seen anything like it.

Chris Hogg, BBC News, Tokyo

Listen to the words

was cut off
was disrupted, stopped working

a crane
a machine for moving heavy objects by suspending them from a projecting arm or beam

got under way
was happening, started

to suspend
to stop temporarily

went out
stopped working

American for 'lifts' - machines which take people between floors in a building

leaving without escape routes


was forced to
had to (due to unusual circumstances)

something that arouses interest; here, fairground rides

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