The Taiwan Railway Administration’s (TRA) services in southern Taiwan were disrupted for four hours yesterday afternoon after it was discovered at 3:14pm that the foundations of the railway track on the Jhongdu (中都) railway overpass in Greater Kaohsiung had caved in.
The railway operator was forced to cancel services between Sinzuoying (新左營) and Kaohsiung stations. Passengers were asked to alight at the TRA’s Sinzuoying Station and take the Kaohsiung MRT system to get to Kaohsiung Station.
No casualties were reported and the incident occurred during off-peak hours, the TRA said.
The TRA said the cave-in was caused by an underground railway project nearby, causing a 3m deep hole underneath the railway track.
According to Kaohsiung Railway Station stationmaster Chen Wen-chuan (陳文川), shortly after the cave-in was discovered, a train that departed from Fangliao (枋寮), Pingtung County, for Zuoying (左營) Station was traveling just south of the cave-in and had to make an emergency stop, where it came to a halt about 100m before the cave-in. The train then returned to Kaohsiung Station.
The disruption affected about 4,000 passengers overall, the TRA said, adding that it had managed to resume two-way services on the Eastern Line at 7:55pm.
In other news, Taiwan High Speed Rail Corp said yesterday that passengers could start booking tickets for the Lunar New Year holiday period tomorrow.
The company will add 411 train services between Jan. 20 and Jan. 30 to its schedule to facilitate transportation amid greater demand.
While non-reserved seats would still be available on Jan. 20 and Jan. 30, the company said no non-reserved seats would be available from Jan. 21 through Jan. 29.
Passengers can purchase tickets online as well as through mobile phones, voice system and at convenience stores nationwide. Ticket sales are also available at all high-speed rail stations.
The TRA said it would add 512 trains from Jan. 19 through Jan. 30. Passengers heading to the east coast would be able to purchase their tickets on Jan. 4, while those traveling on the west coast would be able to do so from Jan. 5.
Additional reporting by staff writer