More than 10,000 train passengers were affected by delays during the morning rush hour yesterday caused by a broken brake hose on an empty Tzuchiang Express train in Taipei, the Taiwan Railways Administration (TRA) said yesterday.
The agency said the train malfunctioned in the tunnel between Taipei Railway Station and Wanhua (萬華).
The incident was reported at 8:17am and the agency managed to maintain two-way operations on a single railway track while workers towed the train from the tunnel.
Two-way railway service returned to normal at 9:31am.
The agency estimated that the delay affected about 10,000 people traveling during the morning peak hours.
The incident follows another three days ago, in which about 17,000 passengers were affected after train services broke down because of a damaged voltage insulator in the electric cable lines in the New Wugu Tunnel in New Taipei City (新北市).
Many commuters expressed dissatisfaction over the way the agency handled the emergency, saying it was not the first time that a mechanical problem had caused a system breakdown.
Chen Cheng-pao (陳鉦保), section chief at the TRA’s rolling stock department, apologized to the public for the inconvenience.
He attributed the breakdown to problems with a brake hose between carriages No. 5 and No. 6.
He added that the EMU-300 railcar that got stuck had been in service for 25 years.
Chen said the agency still needs to ascertain whether the brake hose malfunctioned because it got hit by an unknown object or because of wear and tear.
“Generally speaking, the age limit for a TRA train is 30 years. In this case, the train has many old parts and is about to be retired,” he said.
Following yesterday’s incident, Chen said the agency would examine 24 EMU-300 trains that are currently in service to see if they might have the same problem.
All railway sections are asked to have backup train carriages ready to be able to quickly respond to an emergency situation, he said.
The agency said Puyuma Express train carriages and EMU800 trains are scheduled to arrive by the end of this year and the end of 2015 respectively, allowing the agency to gradually replace some of its old trains.