A Puyuma Express train ground to a stop on Dec 3, that's two days after a steel pile fell and hit a Taroko Express train in Hualien. A series of accidents have prompted lawmakers to demand the resignation of the TRA's director.
Taiwan Railways' new 24-hour emergency hotline, 1933, is up and running. According to Taiwan Railways Administration Director Tu Wei, this is a step in the right direction for safety reform. Taiwan Railways has had a slate of safety issues in recent days, and lawmakers are calling for Tu's resignation.
Tu Wei, Director, Taiwan Railways Administration: “If I am responsible for the bureau's issues, I don't think I would try to shirk my responsibilities.”
Following the construction accident at Fulong that resulted in a steel pile falling and hitting a Taroko Express train, the head of the local public works department and a section chief were removed. The Railway Bureau, meanwhile, was found responsible for the rail car separation incident that took place on the same day. The Taiwan Railway Labor Union is very upset no one was held responsible.
Chen Shih-chieh, Chair, Taiwan Railway Labor Union:＂This is the Railway Bureau's fault. Why isn't the transportation and communications minister upset about it? This is discrimination, and it is a huge blow to the morale of Taiwan Railways workers.＂
In a statement, the bureau admitted it subcontracted the construction work out but said the cause of the separation is still being investigated and it won't shirk its responsibilities. Two days after the two accidents, a Puyuma Express train suffered a malfunction.
Puyuma Express Passenger: “Everyone is waiting. We don't know when the train will get going again.”
Taiwan Railways says the stoppage was caused by a malfunctioning ground sensor that has been fixed, and an investigation is pending.