Tue, Nov 28, 2006 - Page 2 News List

THSRC invites the media to test-ride high-speed train

PROHIBITION The firm has asked reporters to join a test ride tomorrow despite a legislative committee's warning against taking passengers

By Shelley Shan  /  STAFF REPORTER

Undaunted by a resolution of the legislature's Transportation Committee forbidding any passengers from boarding the bullet train before the system passes inspections, the Taiwan High Speed Rail Corp (THSRC) has once again invited the nation's media to experience a test ride of the train.

Ted Chia (賈先德), assistant vice president of THSRC's press office, said yesterday that the test ride -- scheduled to take place tomorrow -- will take the reporters on a non-stop ride from Tsoying (左營) to Banciao (板橋).

"Since the train is about to become operational, we feel that the press needs to take a look," Chia said.

The company insists on conducting the test ride despite the fact that lawmakers have reminded the Bureau of High Speed Rail that the company has to abide by the resolution or it could face a substantial budget cut at the legislature.

The test ride is also going to happen at a rather awkward time since the inspection committee formed by the Ministry of Transportation and Communications (MOTC) are scheduled to convene a final review meeting today.

Sources within the ministry said that many committee members were of the opinion that the series of accidents which have occurred on the rail are proof that the high-speed rail has yet to fully integrate its core system with its signaling system.

Some members of the committee also said that the high-speed rail should not be allowed to operate for the moment, adding that their suggestions were unlikely to matter much as long as the company insists on holding the inauguration ceremony next month and launching a trial operation immediately afterwards.

Chia, however, said that a line clear vehicle of the company that derailed last week was due to human error and that it had nothing to do with the integration of different systems.

Chia emphasized that Lloyd's Register Group is an independent certification institution with 200 years of tradition. He added that Lloyd's would not issue the certification as it was loath to sabotage its reputation.

Chia said that Lloyd's had already presented a valid report and that the company was willing to provide additional information should MOTC officials and inspectors have further questions.

MOTC minister Tsai Duei (蔡堆) said that the final review meeting should continue as scheduled. He said that inspectors were given full authority to express their thoughts and doubts during the meeting.

The THSRC is expected to brief committee members on the causes of three derailments that have occurred since the beginning of this month, Tsai added.

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