Thu, Apr 18, 2019 - Page 2 News List

More demerits for ex-TRA directors over derailment

PENDING APPROVAL:The Executive Yuan has yet to green light the list of TRA employees to be punished over the incident and the demerits they would receive

By Shelley Shan  /  Staff reporter

Three former director-generals of the Taiwan Railways Administration (TRA) are expected to receive heavier administrative penalties in connection with the derailment of a Puyuma Express train in Yilan County on Oct. 21 last year, Minister of Transportation and Communications Lin Chia-lung (林佳龍) said yesterday.

The ministry on Monday last week had expanded the list of TRA personnel to receive punishments to 30, including train driver Yu Cheng-chung (尤振仲).

Lin, who took office on Jan. 14, had made it clear that he felt the punishments initially handed out by the Railway Bureau were too light, and last month he rejected a second round of punishments recommended by the bureau on the grounds that no changes had been made to the original disciplinary measures.

Lin yesterday said that following the agency’s investigation, the penalties were being increased, although the ministry was still waiting for the Executive Yuan to approve the revised list of TRA personnel subject to punishment.

Yu had turned off his train’s automatic train protection (ATP) and failed to operate within the speed limit, which then caused the last protection front to lose its effect and led to the derailment, Lin said.

He confirmed former director-general Frank Fan’s (范植谷) penalty would be raised by one minor demerit to a major demerit and two minor ones, and former director general Chou Yun-hui (周永暉), now director-general of the Tourism Bureau, would receive two minor merits, up from one.

Fan is now chairman of the CR Classification Society.

Jason Lu (鹿潔身), who was director-general at the time of the derailment, would receive one major demerit and one minor one, up from just the major demerit, Lin said.

Yu would receive one major demerit and two minor demerits, and would be banned from operating the trains, although he could transfer to its maintenance department, the TRA said.

Yu is on a leave of absence, awaiting a trial, the TRA said.

Should Yu seek to retake the train operator’s license exam, he would first have to pass physical and mental health evaluations given by the Civil Aeronautics Administration.

Lin said that the ministry has instructed the TRA to seek restitution from the manufacturer of the Puyuma Express trains, Nippon Sharyo, a subsidiary of Central Japan Railway Co, so that the public as well as victims and their families can see the TRA’s determination to face the problem and rebuild its image.

Asked if Chou and Fan would be removed from their current positions, Lin said that there would be corresponding measures in that regard as well.

Additional reporting by staff writer

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