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TTSB calls for improvements following Taichung MRT crash findings

06/20/2024 10:23 PM
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File photo courtesy of a private contributor May 10, 2023
File photo courtesy of a private contributor May 10, 2023

Taipei, June 20 (CNA) The Taiwan Transportation Safety Board (TTSB) on Thursday suggested multi-level government reforms be implemented following its investigation into the Taichung metro incident last May, in which a train collided with a crane boom on the tracks, killing one and injuring 15 others.

The TTSB held a conference that day to reveal its findings on the accident and said the accident was mainly caused by improper operation of the crane.

It also said the Taichung City government and the central government did not have a strong enough mechanism to manage construction projects around metro lines and stations.

The recommendations

The TTSB suggested six improvements to stop similar accidents from occurring in the future.

The first was ensuring construction companies abide by safety rules regarding the use of cranes.

The second was to design better crane removal protocols, given that the boom was from a construction crane being taken apart.

Next, the TTSB recommended the Ministry of Transportation and Communications review and amend regulations regarding construction projects near metro infrastructure. Construction companies should also be required to submit proposals on how they plan to conduct high-risk operations around metro systems, it said.

The TTSB also suggested the Taichung City government deploy officials to evaluate such construction projects.

The fifth recommendation was that emergency brake systems be implemented in metro stations, along with better communication protocols for MRT employees.

Lastly, TTSB suggested establishing clear post-accident protocols to help make sure no one is left stranded under a train after an incident.

CNA photo May 10, 2023
CNA photo May 10, 2023

The incident

On May 10, 2023, a Taichung MRT train traveling between the city's Feng-le Park and Daqing metro stations at around 12:27 p.m. was involved in an accident.

A crane boom, which collapsed as it was being removed from the 31st floor of a nearby building under construction, fell in front of Feng-le Park station at 12:27:03 p.m., landing on parts of the noise barriers surrounding the MRT line.

Although the boom did not fall directly onto the tracks, it still created an obstruction.

Taichung's MRT network only has an intrusion detection system on the track itself. This means that unless a foreign object lands on the tracks or emergency equipment is disturbed, an emergency response will not be triggered.

The boom which caused the accident was not detected because it fell short of hitting a track.

After the train left for Daqing Station at 12:27:29 p.m., although a station manager gestured for the train to stop at 12:27:31, the train crashed into the boom at 12:27:46 while traveling at 43.7 kilometers per hour.

The situation was made more severe because it took about 20 seconds after the system's emergency brakes were pulled via the computer in the traffic control center for the train to stop.

Moreover, the automated train's emergency brake was locked inside a panel and the entire system lacked a brake function that could be triggered on station platforms in case of an emergency.

(By Wang Shu-fen and James Lo)

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File photo courtesy of a private contributor May 10, 2023
File photo courtesy of a private contributor May 10, 2023
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