Sat, Mar 01, 2014 - Page 3 News List

Train pain for 60,000 continues

SEVERE DAMAGE:A previous deadline for operations to resume yesterday evening was pushed to this morning, as a deputy minister apologized to angry passengers

By Shelley Shan  /  Staff reporter

Nearly 60,000 train passengers saw their travel plans disrupted on the first day of the 228 Memorial Day long weekend, as broken electric on a section of railway between Jhongli (中壢) and Yangmei (楊梅) caused massive train delays yesterday.

The latest statistics from the Taiwan Railways Administration showed that as of 12am this morning, the disruption would have affected a total of 88 trains and an expected 57,000 passengers.

According to the administration, the incident began at 8:37am when a southbound Taroko Express train passed through the section between Jhungli and Pushin (埔心).

A power-conducting linkage ripped through the overhead wires, cutting off the electricity supply in the section between Jhongli and Yangmei.

The administration originally planned to completely resume operations on the track at 7:30pm yesterday. However, it announced last night that full operations would not resume until early morning today due to severe damage to the wires.

Deputy Minister of Transportation and Communications Frank Fan (范植谷) apologized to passengers for the inconvenience, adding that the administration’s train safety committee would start an investigation into the cause of the incident.

Meanwhile, 141 flight passengers and the crew of an Air Asia flight heading to Kota Kinabalu in East Malaysia yesterday returned safely to following the detection of a fire alarm signal on board the aircraft.

According to Taoyuan International Airport Corp, the signal was detected on the aircraft’s No. 2 engine at 9:46am and the pilot decided to return to Taoyuan.

The flight landed safely at Taoyuan airport at 10:10am.

The Civil Aeronautics Administration (CAA) said its preliminary investigation showed that the flight of the low-cost carrier based in Kuala Lumpur, flight number AK1519, experienced a malfunctioning fire alarm signal.

However, the aircraft’s engine did not catch fire, the CAA added.

The Aviation Safety Council also said that it will not launch an investigation into the incident because it did not meet the criteria that trigger flight accident investigations.

The Malaysian budget airline said its pilots made the decision to return to the airport for the safety of the passengers and crew.

The airline said that it had made arrangements for some of its passengers to stay in the hotel near the airport, adding that it would quickly arrange onward flights for the passengers.

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