The Taiwan Railways Administration (TRA) is next year to start changing some of its antiquated power facilities, with the cost of the four-year project expected to top NT$8 billion (US$280.30 million).
While the launch on Dec. 20 of electrified train services on the South Link Line — which was the nation’s last unelectrified railway line — marked a significant milestone, the agency yesterday said that some of its power facilities have reached the age of retirement after having been used for more than four decades.
The agency has been gradually retiring some of the high-risk power system facilities since 2015, it said.
As of the end of this year, it has changed 1,260km of main overhead wires, TRA electricity section chief Cheng Chih-ming (鄭志銘) said, adding that the new wires have increased structural tension by 22 percent and reduced the number of incidents caused by broken overhead wires.
The agency also increased the capacity of the transformers in nine of the substations along the line from 15 megavolt-amperes to 25 megavolt-amperes, Cheng said.
Workers’ ability to repair and maintain the wires have vastly improved through the use of 17 newly purchased overhead line maintenance vehicles, he added.
Cheng said the agency would spend NT$8 billion in the next four years to replace some of the critical infrastructure in its power system.
Traditional wires in the underground tunnel connecting New Taipei City’s Sijhih (汐止) and Fuchou (浮洲) railway stations — which stretches a total of 52km — would be replaced with conductor rail wires, he said.
The agency would also purchase two high-speed overhead line inspection vehicles, which can quickly convert collected information into quantitative data, he said.
“Our long-term goal is to develop an Internet-of-Things system to manage the facilities related to the railway system,” Cheng said. “Using a smart system would allow us to quickly locate a malfunctioning current transformer or a protective relay.”
“This would reduce our maintenance costs and enable us to run a safer and reliable train service,” he added.
Maintenance workers in the agency would also undergo training focused on life-cycle management systems for railway facilities, in which they would learn to better identify facilities that need replacement and propose changes, Cheng said.
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