Sat, Aug 19, 2006 - Page 2 News List

Train trial operations delayed, MOTC says

By Shelley Shan  /  STAFF REPORTER

The Ministry of Transportation and Communications (MOTC) confirmed yesterday that the scheduled trial operations for the high speed railway would not start by the end of this month.

As the result, the delay may cause the Taiwan High Speed Rail Corp (THSRC) to shorten the length of some tests before it begins full operations by the end of October.

The trial operation period is listed as a requisite in the contract for the build-operate-transfer project and must be complete before the train can officially operate.

trial operations

Wu Fu-hsiang (吳福祥), the chief of the ministry's Bureau of High Speed rail, said yesterday the contract did not require the company to begin trial operations by a certain date, nor was the same requirement listed in the Railway Act (鐵路法).

According to Wu, about 97 percent of the high-speed rail construction was complete by last month. In the meantime, the company has finished testing at 300kph on the track between Tsoying (左營) in Kaohsiung County and Shulin (樹林) in Taipei County.

Yesterday, the company conducted further tests inside the tunnel near Banciao station at an operational speed of 120kph.

THSRC's spokesman Arthur Chiang (江金山), speaking after the company recently secured a loan of NT$67 billion (US$2.09 billion), said that the trial operations were scheduled to begin by the end of this month and would last two months.

Chiang said that the trains would not carry any passengers during the trial operations. Rather, the company's employees would begin their routine work, including train operations, passenger service and train and railway track maintenance.

By doing so the company can test the safety and reliability of the system in a real-time setting, he said.

It also planned to announce the bullet train schedules as well as the ticket price before October, he said.

Former MOTC minister Kuo Yao-chi (郭瑤琪) said in July that the goal of having the bullet train fully operational by October remained unchanged.

promise

Tsai Duei, who succeeded Kuo as minister last week, also said he would do everything he could to fulfill the promise.

The ministry began evaluating the stability of the high speed railway system near the end of July and convened a meeting last Wednesday to review the results.

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