Sat, Jun 16, 2007 - Page 1 News List

Train crash leaves five dead, 17 injured

COMMUTER TRAGEDY The train wreck in Ilan County disrupted rail transport along the east coast yesterday, although normal operation is expected to resume today

By Shelley Shan  /  STAFF REPORTER

The carriage of a commuter train and a locomotive stand at Dali Station in Ilan County yesterday. The carriage was completely destroyed when the train was hit by two locomotives running in tandem.

PHOTO: CNA

Five people died and 17 were injured yesterday morning at the Dali Railway Station in Ilan County when two locomotives running in tandem smashed into the side of a train that was leaving the station.

Only four of the passengers who were killed had been identified at press time. They were Lee Chia-ching (李佳錦), Chen Yi-wei (陳逸偉), Lee Su-ching (李素欽) and Chang Hsiao-ting (張曉婷). Lee Chia-chin died on the spot.

The Taiwan Railway Administration (TRA) commuter train was departing from Shulin (樹林) in Taipei County to Suao (蘇澳), Ilan County, when it was hit by another train just as it was about to switch to a different track, TRA secretary-general Chang Ying-huei (張應輝) said at a press conference.

The 44-year-old engineer of the second train, Huanglin Chung-liang (黃林忠良), had been conducting a trial run and was supposed to enter the railway track after the commuter train had departed.

However, the train proceeded despite a warning signal and hit the commuter train between the second and third car.

The crash occurred as the nation prepares to celebrate the Dragon Boat Festival.

Although the crash disrupted railway transportation along the east coast, Chang said that it should return to normal by this morning.

All express trains departing from Taipei and Ilan yesterday afternoon were canceled, Chang said.

An initial TRA investigation showed that Huanglin had applied the brakes and managed to slow the train from 80kph to 40kph when he saw the signal, but the brakes were unable to slow the train sufficiently to prevent the crash.

The investigation also showed that the Automatic Train Protection (ATP) system on Huanglin's train had broken during the trial run.

Huanglin had reported the failure to the management at Dali Station, the TRA said.

Huanglin has worked for the TRA for almost 20 years and has a good operating record.

TRA director-general Chen Feng-nan (陳峰男) yesterday handed in his resignation because of the accident.

Chen had previously indicated that he planned to retire next month after serving at the TRA for more than 40 years.

Government Information Office Minister Shieh Jhy-wey (謝志偉) said the Executive Yuan had approved Chen's resignation.

Chang said that a full investigation into the incident would be conducted.

The TRA dispatched 10 shuttle buses to carry passengers between Shihcheng and Kweishan.

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