The opening of the express train service linking Taipei to Taiwan Taoyuan International Airport will be postponed to March because of testing delays, the Ministry of Transportation and Communications said yesterday.
“We encountered many difficulties in the integrated testing of the system and re-evaluated the date of the launch,” Deputy Minister of Transportation and Communications Tseng Dar-jen (曾大仁) told a press conference in Taipei.
“Unfortunately, it will not happen by Dec. 31 this year,” he said. “We estimate that the system would meet the standards to begin operation in March next year, and we will work with the Taoyuan Metro Corp to reach that goal.”
Photo: Huang Li-hsiang, Taipei Times
Yesterday’s announcement marked the fifth postponement of the line’s launch.
Bureau of High Speed Rail Director-General Allen Hu (胡湘麟) said that the bureau had completed 42 of the 43 items to be tested, adding that various problems emerged when it was time to test the system’s ability to operate based on a train timetable.
For example, the system would show that a train was at a certain section of the track, when that section was actually empty, he said.
The suspension of the wireless transmission also led to the emergency braking of the rail system, he said, adding that all these problems show that the system could not operate reliably.
“The contractor in charge of testing the rail system [Tokyo-based Marubeni Corp] lacks the ability to integrate the system for the testing,” Hu said.
“It is proven to be unable to effectively and efficiently resolve its disputes with its subcontractors. All these factors have also delayed the progress in testing,” he said.
According to Hu, the integrated testing from A9 station in New Taipei City’s Linkou District (林口) to station A21 in Taoyuan’s Jhongli District (中壢) was completed in last month, which was about 35km.
The same test for the stretch of line from Taipei Railway Station to Linkou is scheduled to be completed next month, he said.
Apart from the integrated testing, Hu said that the system still needs to undergo a pre-revenue service running (PRSR) test for at least three months and simulative drills.
He said that the PRSR test must be attended by both the contractor in charge of the testing as well as Taoyuan Metro Corp, whereas the simulative drills will be enforced by the metro company.
The reliability must reach 99 percent for seven consecutive days, or the testing must start from the top, he added.
To expedite the testing process, the bureau had reached a consensus with the metro company to enforce the PRSR test on the Linkou-Jhongli section of the route first, provided that the testing must be conducted safely and cover all the items on the test list, he said.
As problems in integrated testing had led to the delay in the launch of the Airport Rail system, Hu said that the bureau will also seek restitution from Marubeni.
Marubeni’s penalty for failing to finish testing the system by the deadline reached NT$2.54 billion (US$77.5 million) in April, which is the cap of the penalty stated in the contract.
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