Railway accident affects 57,000 passengers on day 1 of holiday
Central News Agency
2014-03-01 01:16 AM
Taipei, Feb. 28 (CNA) Taiwan's railway system was hit Friday by the most serious electrical accident it has suffered in recent years, affecting 57,000 passengers. On the first of a three-day holiday marking the anniversary of the 228 Incident, a Taroko express train's pantograph -- the equipment on its roof that collects power from an overhead cable - pulled down and broke the electric cable it was attached to. The train was traveling on the railway line that runs from western Taiwan's Changhua County to eastern Taiwan's Hualien County. The accident occurred at 8:37 a.m. on the section between Zhongli and Puxin in Taoyuan county. It caused a power failure to the rail line, prompting the Taiwan Railway Administration (TRA) to send 52 personnel to fix the glitch. The accident is the most serious electrical accident the railway system has suffered in recent years. Of the 57,000 passengers affected, at least 4,800 qualified for compensation, according to the TRA. Under the TRA refund policy, passengers on express trains can claim a full refund for a train delay of at least 45 minutes. On Friday, one of the passengers affected, said he boarded a Taipei-destined local train in northern Taiwan's Hsinchu County, but the train departed the station 35 minutes behind schedule. Then it "stopped at every two or three stations and each stop lasted more than 40 minutes," he said, noting that the train only reached Taoyuan three hours after its departure. The journey between Hsinchu and Taipei usually takes only 75 minutes. Due to severe damage to the electric cables, the TRA said the repair work will have to continue until the early hours of Saturday. But the first train on Saturday is expected to be able to set off on schedule, the TRA said. In 2007, a signal system breakdown at the TRA's Qizu Station in Keelung affected 71 trains, causing delays for about 100,000 passengers. (By Angela Tsai and Elizabeth Hsu)
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