Five high-ranking officials at the Taiwan Railways Administration (TRA), including Deputy Director-General Ho Hsien-lin (何獻霖), were given demerits yesterday because of lengthy train delays resulting from an electrical failure.
Ho was given a demerit for failing to fulfill his duty of superintending rail services, while the four other officials were disciplined for failing to ascertain that maintenance and repairs had been carried out properly, the TRA said in a statement.
The four officials are Chiu Kuo-sung (邱國松), head of the Taipei Mechanical Depot; Hsieh Yao-yu (謝曜宇), head of the Taipei Construction Depot; Liu Tsan-huang (柳燦煌), head of the Locomotive Department; and Chen Shih-chi (陳仕其), head of the Engineering Department.
The punishments were based on the results of a TRA Railway Safety and Investigation Committee probe into the train delays that occurred on Feb. 28, the statement said.
According to the report, the incident was caused by a major disruption to the power supply on the TRA’s Western Line — its main line — due to a faulty pantograph on an express train running from Changhua County to Hualien County via Taipei.
A pantograph is the device mounted on the roof of electric trains to connect the train with the overhead electrical cables.
The fault occurred when the support gear that protects the pantograph’s collector head — the part that comes in contact with the power lines — fell off because of loose screws. A derailing switch at Pusin Station in Taoyuan County was also faulty, causing the train to sway more than normal.
Eventually, the faulty pantograph pulled down the overhead power lines, causing 138 trains to be delayed, affecting more than 60,000 passengers.
In addition to the disciplinary measures imposed on the five officials, punishments will also be imposed on other personnel responsible, the TRA said.