Fri, Jul 21, 2017 - Page 3 News List

Fallen power cable disrupts TRA lines

MORNING MESS:It took three hours to restore full service between Keelung and Sijhih, causing delays to a total of 54 trains and more than 14,000 passengers

By Shelley Shan  /  Staff reporter

Workers yesterday repair broken electrical cables near Keelung’s Cidu station after a fallen cable delayed train services between Keelung and Sijhih for three hours.

Photo courtesy of Taiwan Railways Administration

The journeys of more than 14,000 Taiwan Railways Administration (TRA) passengers were delayed yesterday morning due to a downed power cable in Keelung’s Cidu District (七堵).

The cable fell at about 6:18am between Sihjiaoting Station (四腳亭) in New Taipei City’s Ruifang District (瑞芳) and Cidu, cutting the electrical supply to the section of rail between Keelung and New Taipei City’s Sijhih District (汐止).

A train on the Sihjiaoting-Cidu section at the time suffered damage to its pantograph, the train-top device that channels power through contact with the cable, the agency said, adding that another train was dispatched to collect the passengers on the stopped train.

The incident during morning rush hour cause great disruption to northbound and southbound trains between Keelung and Sijhih.

Two-way train service was not fully restored until 10:18am, the agency said.

A total of 54 trains were delayed, affecting about 14,280 passengers, the TRA said, adding that passengers whose trains were delayed for more than 45 minutes would be entitled to a full refund.

An investigation is to determine whether the incident occurred because of an intrusion of a foreign object, the railway said.

The TRA said that it is already planning to replace its current electrical cables with thicker ones as part of efforts to prevent damage by foreign objects.

In related news, the National Communications Commission yesterday said the government would work to improve cellphone reception issues along several TRA lines, including the North Link Railway, South Link Railway, and lines connecting Yilan County and Hualien and Hualien with Taitung.

The government aims to complete improvement to reception along east coast rail lines by the end of next year, commission spokesperson Weng Po-tsung (翁柏宗) said.

The commission would speed up construction of telecom facilities along railway lines by hosting monthly meetings of telecoms and representatives from the TRA, the Railway Reconstruction Bureau and other government agencies, Weng said.

The meetings would provide updates on the project and encourage discussions of possible solutions to thorny issues, he said.

The most challenging part of the project is trying to improve reception inside railway tunnels on east coast rail lines, most of which were constructed a long time ago and lack space to install telecommunications and electrical facilities, the commission said.

Acquiring properties to construct base stations and install electrical wires is another issue that needs to be addressed, as well as water that leaks through cracks in tunnel walls also creating problems, it said.

The commission said it has asked telecoms to start planning to build facilities to improve reception along the South Link Railway, which has yet to be electrified.

The Railway Reconstruction Bureau has been told reserve space for telecommunications facilities that would be used to improve reception, it said.

Many telecoms have managed to enhance reception inside railway tunnels by installing base stations at the entrances of the tunnels, the commission said.

“We hope that train passengers can at least still text and call people on their cellphones while the trains are in tunnels,” Weng said.

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