The chances of the nation's first bullet train system commencing operation next month improved slightly yesterday after the Taiwan High Speed Rail Corp (THSRC) announced that Lloyd's Register had issued a second independent verification and validation (IV&V) report, in which the British certification institution partially lifted the limitations contained in its previous report.
In the earlier report, inspectors were only prepared to certify the High Speed Rail for phase 1 and phase 2 operations on the section of rail between Banciao (板橋) and Tsoying (左營). Inspectors also requested that the signaling system be addressed, that additional drills, exercises and test runs be conducted, and that the THSRC generally demonstrate its ability to comply with safety conditions.
"[Lloyd's Register] has certified that the construction and test results of the THSRC system fulfill the organization's requirements in terms of function, quality and safety," a THSRC statement said.
The high speed rail cannot commence operation without a satisfactory IV&V report. The Ministry of Transportation and Communications must now convene a board meeting to determine whether or not to allow the THSRC to commence trial operations.
Board Chairman Lee Tai-ming (李泰明) said yesterday that the ministry would convene the meeting within a week.
Lee added that either the Bureau of High Speed Rail or the board members themselves would conduct an inspection before the ministry gave the go-ahead.
Meanwhile, the Taiwan Railway Administration (TRA) announced that some of its commuter trains will begin making stops at its new stations in Wujih (烏日), Taichung County, and Tsoying, Kaohsiung County -- locations at which high speed rail stations are also located -- from next month.
TRA Secretary-General Chang Ying-huei (張應輝) said the old stations in both locations remained operational, and that trains would stop at both the old and the new stations.
Meanwhile, Premier Su Tseng-chang (蘇貞昌) said that he would not participate in the grand opening ceremony for the high speed rail if it was not inspected in advance.
"The inspection process is under way, but it has not yet been concluded. If it is not completed, I will not show up at the ceremony," Su said when fielding questions from People First Party Legislator Lee Hung-chun (
Su said he was confident that the inspection process was being handled properly, but that it should not be hurried.
Lee Hung-chun also questioned why numerous businessmen and government officials had been on test runs, saying this was extremely dangerous and against the rules.
Transportation Minister Tsai Duei (
Additional reporting by Jimmy Chuang