Thu, Dec 07, 2006 - Page 2 News List

High speed rail runs into another snag during test

By Shelley Shan  /  STAFF REPORTER

The Taiwan High Speed Rail Corp (THSRC) encountered its first setback during mandated test runs when one of its trains was forced to stop for two hours on Tuesday night owing to an abnormality detected in a railway track switching system.

At the request of the official inspection committee, the THSRC began another round of test runs this week. Fifteen trains are being tested.

Bureau of High Speed Rail Director-General Wu Fu-hsiang (吳福祥) said Tuesday's incident occurred when a train was conducted back and forth many times between platforms and the maintenance area.

On one occasion when the train's driver attempted to conduct the vehicle to the maintenance area, it was unable to move because its track switching system displayed a warning signal.

The operation was eventually completed at 11:30pm.

"This shows that the signaling system functioned properly [under the circumstances]," Wu said.

He added that the warning signal could have been triggered by a railway switch that had not returned to its proper position.

Why a switch might have failed to do so remains unknown, he said.

Vice Minister of Transportation and Communications Ho Nuan-hsuen (何煖軒) said yesterday that the THSRC was not obligated to report every minor technical problem to the ministry.

He said that staff at the Taiwan Railway Administration, for example, did not have to brief him whenever there was a delay with their train services.

The inspection committee had ruled that if any accidents occurred during the latest round of tests they would have to start from scratch.

Ho said, however, that the ministry would determine what constituted an "accident" based on traffic regulations.

"Since no major accident occurred as a result of this technical problem, the scheduled high speed rail test runs do not have to start again from the beginning," Ho said.

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