Wed, Aug 29, 2007 - Page 2 News List

Dozens of trains delayed by Chidu system failure

BAD TIMING Tens of thousands of commuters arrived late at their destinations when troubles at a TRA train deployment station emerged just in time for rush hour

By Shelley Shan  /  STAFF REPORTER

More than 30,000 commuters traveling by train showed up late for work yesterday as the electronic signaling system near the Chidu (七堵) Train Deployment Station in Keelung failed during the morning rush hour.

The failure became apparent at 5:20am, and the Taiwan Railway Administration (TRA) management was informed at 6:07am. The contractor for the system did not arrive at the scene until 9:05am.

Normal operations resumed at 10:13am.

One Tzuchiang express and two Chukuang express trains as well as 12 commuter trains were canceled, while more than 70 trains were delayed, with nine delayed for more than an hour.

In accordance with TRA policy, passengers of these nine trains are entitled to a full refund.

Hsieh Sui-yuan (謝水源), the deputy director of the TRA's electrical engineering department, said that the power supply for the signaling system had stopped.

Once electricity had been restored, the main computer's safety mechanism locked the system.

Hsieh said the Chidu station had been built by the Railway Reconstruction Bureau, which was responsible for the signaling system.

The bureau had outsourced the project to a Japanese contractor, he said.

Construction of the station will not be completed until the end of this year, but the TRA began using it in 2005.

Hsieh said that since the reconstruction bureau had signed the contract, it should hold the contractor responsible for the damage.

Hsieh said, however, that as the construction had yet to enter the contractual phase of maintenance and quality guarantee, the bureau was therefore unlikely to ask for compensation.

The reconstruction bureau said that the station had been handed over to the TRA two years ago.

The TRA said later last night that the power supply for the signaling system had been cut off by a loose screw used to fasten electrical connectors.

The loose screw prevented electricity from reaching track switches, it said.

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