Thu, Aug 13, 2009 - Page 1 News List

MRT Neihu Line experiences third system breakdown

INQUIRY DPP councilors accused the city and the MRT operator of banning reporters from the Neihu Depot and the operations center to hide the truth


Taipei City's MRT Muzha-Neihu Line experienced its third system breakdown yesterday, with transportation being halted for about two hours in the afternoon because of a circuit malfunction at Zhongxiao Fuxing Station.

Taipei City Secretariat deputy director Tan Gwa-guang (譚國光), director of the Neihu-Muzha Line emergency response team, said lightning struck the circuit board at 2:19pm, preventing communication between the operations center and the trains.

Taipei Rapid Transit Corp (TRTC) suspended the line's operation immediately and staff manually drove three of 22 trains stuck between stations to the nearest platforms, Tan said.

The 340 passengers in the three trains were evacuated by 2:57pm. Service was resumed at 4:10pm after the system was fixed and a trial run.

It was the third system breakdown since the Neihu stretch of the line began operations on July 4. The line experienced its first shutdown on July 10 after a power outage in the afternoon and service did not resume until the following day.

The second system breakdown occurred on Thursday last week. Service was suspended for more than four hours because of a network system malfunction.

Tan said the TRTC would give the broken circuit board to the system builder, Bombardier, for further analysis, adding that the Taipei City Government would ask the contractor to strengthen the system's resistance to lightning strikes.

Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Taipei City councilors lashed out at Tan and the TRTC for refusing to allow the press to join their inspection of the Neihu Depot and operations center.

DPP Taipei City Councilor Lee Chien-chang (李建昌) and eight other councilors were at the depot and operations center to check on the cause behind the frequent system breakdowns. However, the TRTC refused to let reporters in, saying the areas were restricted.

“The TRTC is apparently afraid of a public inspection of the system, and the city government is unable to face the problem. Trying to cover up the truth will only make things worse,” Lee said.

The councilors and the media were kept outside of the depot for about 20 minutes before Tan showed up and insisted that reporters could not enter the restricted areas.

DPP Taipei City Councilor Hsu Chia-ching (徐佳青) challenged the city government and the TRTC for allowing Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) Taipei City councilors and a CTi-TV Station staffer to enter the depot and operations center earlier this month.

Tan said he had only learned that a CTi reporter had entered the depot yesterday morning and would look into who was responsible for letting the reporter in.

Lee said the caucus would initiate a signature drive to hold a provisional session at the Taipei City Council and demand Taipei Mayor Hau Lung-bin (郝龍斌) report to the council on the Muzha-Neihu Line and two other problematic municipal projects — the Maokong Gondola system and the Xinsheng Overpass.

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