The Taiwan Railways Administration (TRA) should install barriers and detectors on slopes along the railways to avoid intrusion of foreign objects on railway tracks, a railway expert said yesterday.
The speed of a Mass Rapid Transit or a light rail system train is about 20kph to 60kph, and their risk of impact hazard is low, said National Kaohsiung University of Science and Technology electronics engineering professor Chang Chien Jia-jen (張簡嘉壬), who is also the director of the university’s railway technology center.
The high-speed rail system, on the other hand, can operate at up to 300kph, Chang Chien said.
As such, its slope protection system is integrated with the train system to minimize impact hazards, he said.
“The speed of TRA trains has increased from 80kph to 90kph to 130kph to 150kph. However, its trains are not integrated with slope detectors, which increases security risks,” he said, adding that the TRA should protect its railway tracks similar to the high-speed rail system.
Chang Chien said that the Taroko Express derailment on Friday and a Puyuma Express derailment in 2018 both happened at curves.
Both are tilting trains, which means that they can tilt to counter the centrifugal force when traveling through curves and do not need to slow down, he said.
“I would suggest that the TRA reconsider if it is necessary to require both express trains to slow down when passing through curves, particularly if the curve is blocking the driver’s line of sight,” he added.
In the short term, the railway agency should identify possible risk factors along the railway tracks, Chang Chien said, adding that barriers and slope detectors should be installed at high-risk sections.
The agency should install transponders at curves that would be integrated with automatic train protection systems, which would automatically slow down the train if a foreign object enters the railway tracks, he said.
In the long run, the agency should find ways to stabilize slopes, as detectors alone cannot prevent the intrusion of foreign objects, he said.
The TRA said it has budgeted NT$275 million (US$9.64 million) to install slope warning systems at 25 high-risk railway sections as part of a six-year plan to improve the safety of the railway system, adding that it plans to complete installing the systems next year.
No slope alarm system has been installed at the spot where Friday’s derailment occurred, the agency said.
“We have asked the TRA to consider if there are other sections where foreign objects could intrude,” in light of the accident, Deputy Minister of Transportation and Communications Wang Kwo-tsai (王國材) said yesterday.
A survey of young Taiwanese showed that only 36.5 percent of men and 19.6 percent of women believe marriage is important, a trend that academics say is key to the nation’s low birthrate. Yang Wen-shan (楊文山), an adjunct research fellow at Academia Sinica’s Institute of Sociology, yesterday announced the 12th round of results from a longitudinal survey of attitudes among young Taiwanese toward markers of adulthood. While few of the respondents, who were aged 28 to 32 when surveyed in 2017, found marriage to be important, 95.8 percent believed that being responsible for oneself should take precedence, data showed. Economic independence came in
SHRINKING FEMALE POPULATION: Last year, 107.74 boys were born for every 100 girls in Taiwan, which is a greater gender imbalance than in Japan and South Korea The Ministry of the Interior recorded 9,601 births in January, the first time the nation has produced fewer than 10,000 newborns in a single month, while different indicators showed that Taiwan might also be facing a population with increasingly fewer births, women and marriages. It comes after the ministry reported a record low 165,249 births last year, which was lower than the 173,156 deaths recorded last year. The nation experienced negative population growth for the first time last year, ministry data found. The number of births in January also dropped from a year earlier, when there were 12,510 births. In February, there were
The Hualien District Prosecutors’ Office has listed six people as suspects in a judicial investigation into a fatal train crash on Friday last week. Fifty people were killed and more than 200 were injured when the Taroko Express No. 408 train slammed into a crane truck that had slid onto the tracks near the entrance of Cingshuei Tunnel (清水隧道) in Hualien’s Sioulin Township (秀林). The office also summoned six officials at the Taiwan Railways Administration’s (TRA) Hualien Engineering Section for questioning about alleged illegal business operations and unsafe work conditions by Yi Hsiang Industry Co and Tung Hsin Construction Co, the two
KEEPING FOCUSED: Premier Su Tseng-chang was said to have commended Minister of Transportation and Communications Lin Chia-lung, but said the tragedy takes priority Minister of Transportation and Communications Lin Chia-lung (林佳龍) has submitted a verbal resignation in the wake of the Taroko Express No. 408 train crash two days ago, Executive Yuan spokesman Lo Ping-cheng (羅秉成) said yesterday. In a call, Lin told Premier Su Tseng-chang (蘇貞昌) that he wished to step down, to take responsibility for the deadliest accident involving a Taiwan Railways Administration (TRA) train in 40 years. As of press time last night, the Hualien District Prosecutors’ Office had revised the death toll from 51, which had been reported on the previous day, to 50, after DNA testing showed that what had