Thu, Mar 07, 2013 - Page 3 News List

Train derailment delays thousands

By Shelley Shan  /  Staff reporter

Taiwan Railways Administration personnel gather around a train that derailed at the Suao-Yongle section in Yilan County yesterday.

Photo: CNA

More than 8,000 travelers encountered delays yesterday after a cargo train derailed in Suao (蘇澳), Yilan County, yesterday morning.

According to the Taiwan Railways Administration (TRA), the incident occurred near Yongle (永樂) station at 9:24am, causing the second and third train cars to derail and paralyzing transportation between Suao and Tongao (東澳).

About 200m of power cables and two electricity poles were also damaged, it said.

As of 4pm, a total of 32 trains were affected by the derailment, with traffic delayed by 960 minutes, the TRA said. About 8,600 passengers were affected by the delays, but there were no reports of injuries.

The Railway Safety and Investigative Committee is investigating the cause of the derailment, the TRA said.

Two-way operation on one side of a railway line resumed at 4:40pm, the TRA said, adding that it expected railway operations to be back to normal by 5am today.

In other news, the Wugu-Yangmei Overpass may miss its Monday launch after the National Expressway Engineering Bureau confirmed yesterday that the contractor was having problems addressing all the issues that surfaced during a safety inspection last week.

“It is not likely,” bureau chief engineer Lu Jieh-bin (呂介斌) said, referring to opening the overpass in time on Monday.

Lu said the contractor was informed in January of the improvements it needed to make, but an inspection last week showed that the changes were not proceeding as smoothly as the bureau had hoped.

The improvements include more thorough grouting and other minor repairs.

Deputy Minister of Transportation and Communications Chen Chun-ching (陳純敬) apologized to the public for having to postpone the launch date again, adding that the ministry would see if any government official or the contractor should be held responsible for the continuing delay.

Chen added that the contractor has experience as a freeway builder, but it has also missed deadlines in the past.

Chen said that all these improvements did not mean the overpass has structural issues.

The ministry will announce a new date for the launch after reviewing the time needed to complete construction, he said.

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