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Service on South-Link railway line suspended until Sept. 2

2013/08/31 21:57:54

Taipei, Aug. 31 (CNA) Service on the railway line between Pingtung and Taitung in southern Taiwan has been disrupted by a train derailment and is not expected to resume until Sept. 2, Taiwan Railway Administration (TRA) said Saturday.

Four cars on the Tze-Chiang Express train remained stuck inside a tunnel in Pingtung, where the train hit a mudslide earlier in the day during a heavy downpour, TRA Deputy Director-General Lu Chieh-shen said.

"It's difficult to do any repairs because the tunnel is located in a remote area that is inaccessible by road," which means the South-Link Line will have to remain closed for at least two days, Lu said.

"We hope that by Sept. 2, the first service of the day can depart on schedule," Lu said.

The express train, traveling at 90 kilometers per hour, rammed into the mudslide at the entrance of Pingtung Fangshan No. 2 tunnel, resulting in a decoupling between the fifth and sixth cars and derailment of the second to fifth cars, the TRA said

Four cars -- the third to sixth -- are still stuck in the tunnel, according to the TRA.

The TRA said 17 of the 250 passengers on board were injured.

The passengers on the train were stranded near the scene of the accident for hours after but have since been rescued.

Meanwhile, the Suao-Tongao section of the Suhau Highway along eastern coast of the island has been closed with effect from 6:20 p.m. Saturday as precautionary measure amid heavy rain and strong winds, the Directorate General of Highways said.

The freeway, which connects Yilan and Hualien, is prone to landslides.

The agency said it cannot yet decide when the highway will be reopened.

(By Wang Shu-fen, Worthy Shen and Elizabeth Hsu)
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