Staff members at Taiwan High Speed Rail Corp’s (THSR) Taoyuan Station cheered on Tuesday after a baby was born at a high-speed rail station — the first birth at one of the rail system’s stations since it went into operation in January 2007.
Station employees also visited the baby boy at the Taoyuan General Hospital yesterday and gave him a limited-edition miniature high-speed train to wish him a healthy and prosperous future.
However, the Taiwan High Speed Rail Corp has decided not to give the newborn a lifetime travel pass.
“The company does not encourage pregnant women to give birth on a high-speed train or at a station since it is unable to provide the most suitable environment for them to deliver their babies,” the corporation said, adding that it nonetheless sought to help passengers who experienced discomfort while on board to receive the best care as quickly as possible.
The mother, Wang Fan-tan (王凡丹), boarded northbound train No. 656 with her husband, Chen Sen-yung (陳森勇), at Greater Kaohsiung’s Zuoying Station at 1pm on Tuesday, about two weeks before her due date.
Wang planned to be admitted into an obstetrics clinic in New Taipei City’s (新北市) Banciao District (板橋) to prepare for the birth of her child, but she started experiencing contractions a few minutes before the train was due to make a stop at the Taoyuan Station.
After hearing an announcement by the train conductor looking for medical professionals on the train, Ko Mei-ing (柯梅英), a Taipei-based midwife, volunteered to help.
Ko found that Wang’s water had broken and suggested that she be rushed to the nearest hospital.
Upon the train’s arrival at Taoyuan Station, paramedic Hsu Chia-li (徐嘉莉) and several staff members and firefighters lifted Wang onto an emergency stretcher.
However, as Wang did not seem to be able to wait any longer, they decided to deliver her baby at the station at 2:50pm.
“This is our second child. I thought bringing my wife to the hospital two weeks before her expected due date would be long enough. Who could have known that this baby would be so eager to come into this world?” Chen said.
Taoyuan Station deputy stationmaster Ko Yung-cheng (柯庸正) said all the station employees and passengers who witnessed “the joyful arrival of the baby” were happy for the couple.
“It is the first time since the THSR system began operating seven years ago that a passenger has given birth at a rail station. Although the process was rather intense, luckily the mother and the child are both doing well,” he said.