TRA reforms progressing in wake of deadly train crash: MOTC

07/10/2021 06:29 PM
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Taiwan Railways Administration flags and the national flag outside Taipei Main Station, which also houses the railway operator
Taiwan Railways Administration flags and the national flag outside Taipei Main Station, which also houses the railway operator's headquarters. CNA file photo

Taipei, July 10 (CNA) The Ministry of Transportation and Communications (MOTC) said Saturday some progress has been made on the improvement of Taiwan's railway system, after a major train crash in April killed 50 people.

As part of the reform measures, Taiwan Railways Administration (TRA) Director-General Tu Wei (杜微) has been holding daily meetings with the company's maintenance workers to review the system's safety performance the previous day, the MOTC said.

Four coordination centers in northern, eastern, central and southern Taiwan have been established to facilitate horizontal communication among TRA's departments of machinery maintenance, transportation management, electricity supply, and construction, the ministry said.

It said safety checks and training have been completed, and work has resumed on all but two of the 204 construction projects near train tracks, which were suspended after the deadly accident in April.

In addition, the ministry said, it has decided to transfer some of its new infrastructure projects, like bridges, tunnels and train stations, from the TRA to the Railway Bureau, so the former could concentrate on the safety and maintenance of existing structures.

The TRA is also reviewing 25 systems that will be able to detect intrusions on train tracks, the ministry said, adding that 10 of them may be completed by the end of this year and 15 in 2022.

The TRA will be responsible for safety management of all construction sites, while an independent entity will carry out safety evaluations of the railway system, the MOTC said.

The ministry said it is also considering introducing track inspectors from next year to better monitor the condition of the rails.

The reforms were initiated in the wake of a train accident on April 2, in which a TRA Taroko Express hit a truck that had fallen onto the track, as the train was about to enter Qingshui Tunnel in Hualien County, eastern Taiwan.

The fact that the truck had easily tumbled down a steep incline and onto the railway line without being impeded by any barricades was an indication of TRA's lack of proper safety measures at its construction sites, critics said after the accident.

(By Yu Hsiao-han and Lee Hsin-Yin)

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