Trial runs on the first line of Taichung’s MRT rail system could be further delayed after the Taichung City Government asked for more comprehensive safety checks following a malfunction.
Trial runs on the Green Line began on Nov. 16, but were suspended after one of the trains on Nov. 21 reported a malfunction at the Taichung High Speed Rail Station terminal.
Taichung Mass Rapid Transit Corp (TMRTC) the same day said that all services would be suspended until the problem is resolved.
Photo courtesy of the Taichung City Government
Kawasaki Heavy Industries, the train’s manufacturer, said that a US-made coupling connecting two carriages had broken, which the company said had “never happened before.”
Kawasaki and the Taipei Department of Rapid Transit Systems, which is overseeing the project, have over the past week inspected 36 couplings on the MRT system’s 18 trains, 30 of which had no defects, the Taipei City Government said on Monday.
As removing the remaining six couplings proved difficult, the department said that it would replace them with new ones that had passed safety checks, the company said.
However, one of the six couplings broke when a train was being moved at a maintenance depot, the company said.
The broken coupling had fractures similar to the one that broke previously, and raised questions whether there were systemic issues with the component, it added.
The Taichung City Government has asked the department to conduct more safety checks and propose solutions, which could delay the resumption of trial runs and the formal launch of the line, which was originally scheduled for Dec. 19, the company said.
Taichung Mayor Lu Shiow-yen (盧秀燕) said the safety reports submitted by the department were not sufficiently detailed and she has instructed it to conduct more tests.
The department has to address whether there are systemic issues with the component and the trains, Lu said, reiterating that the MRT service would not resume until all problems have been resolved to the city government’s satisfaction.
“We will not resume operations just for the sake of it. Safety is our first priority” she said.
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