While Taiwan Railway Labor Union (TRLU) members congregated at the north gate of the Taipei Railway Station, activity in the station's main hall was business as usual -- its normality in odd contrast to the past month's uneasy expectation of a railway crisis during the Mid-Autumn Festival.
"The trains are running as they always have. I wasn't even nervous about the train service being cut," said Huang Hsien-ta (
He pointed to a railway poster and read, "Recreating the railway system, making service our number one priority."
Taipei railway volunteers passed out moon cakes to passengers, while musical performances in the main hall commemorated the holiday.
Indeed, the Taiwan Railway Administration's (TRA) prophecy that "trains will run as usual and tickets would be sold as usual" proved true.
At 12:30am yesterday, Hsu Ta-wen (
"I'm not thinking about who is responsible for this ordeal right now. I just want to make sure that the rest of today's trains depart smoothly," Hsu said during the early hours of the holiday.
"I won't have the exact figures for today's ticket sales until tomorrow, but for now, I am extremely thankful. I am very grateful to all the railway employees who worked so hard today," Hsu said.
According to Weng Chao-han (
Although train operations were unaffected by the railway union's activities, the situation at the Taipei Railway Station was closely followed by many.
Minister of Transportation and Communications Lin Ling-san (
President Chen Shui-bian (
Premier Yu Shih-kun was also among the station's many visitors yesterday morning. Yu stood on the platform and waved to passengers as they departed.
Yu stopped to talk to the ticket master on his way out, shaking his hand and thanking him for his efforts.
"I am very comforted and happy to see that the trains are running normally. I am very thankful today," said the premier, whose comments were broadcast on the station's public address system.
While trains ran as usual during the holiday, a TRLU North Division member reminded the public that the railway union is fighting not just one day but for the future of the railway system and its workers.
"We support the government's policies to improve the TRA, but we are opposed to the incorporation of the TRA. We want our voices to be heard," said the member, who did not give his name.
Weng, also a member of the TRA, decided to forgo the union's labor action because he was scheduled to work his shift from 8am to 7pm yesterday.
Instead, he sat at his post with a union banner tied around his hat, demonstrating his support for the union's activities.
"If you have to work, you have to work," Weng said.
In the days leading up to the Mid-Autumn Festival, the railway union's grievances and the governments' policies became a public controversy, claiming supporters and opponents among politicians, government officials, laborers and the public.