Thu, Jan 19, 2012 - Page 2 News List

Railway services return to normal following crash

Staff Writer, with CNA

Railway services returned to normal in Taoyuan County yesterday after a deadly collision between a train and a truck on Tuesday, but railway officials said the accident could reverberate in eastern Taiwan for months to come.

The section between Pusin (埔心) and Yangmei (楊梅) where the accident occurred was repaired yesterday, allowing trains to resume service in both northbound and southbound directions, the Taiwan Railways Administration (TRA) said.

The crash occurred on Tuesday morning when a semi-trailer was caught on the tracks at a railroad crossing after failing to make it across before the gate at the crossing came down. It was then hit by Taroko Express No. 278.

While the accident is not likely to have a major impact on the railway’s capacity during the Lunar New Year holiday period, as slower replacement trains will be brought into service, TRA officials said railway operations in eastern Taiwan could get tight.

“We have basically lost an entire train set because the locomotive was destroyed,” TRA Deputy Director-General Chang Ying-huei (張應輝) said.

The Taroko Express, a special tilting train that can negotiate curves at higher speeds, is now the main train used by the TRA for routes along the east coast.

Taroko Express No. 278 was traveling from Tianjhong Township (田中), Changhua County, to Hualien when the accident occurred. The TRA now has five Taroko Express trains, Chang said, and two new trains on order are not likely to be delivered until October.

Meanwhile, the TRA is planning to ask for NT$220 million (US$7.3 million) in compensation from the truck driver, who was taken into custody late on Tuesday.

It is the highest amount of compensation the TRA has asked for in its history.

The crash killed one and injured about two-dozen people.

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