Faulty Axle Counters Caused Train Delays over Holiday 台鐵列車計軸器故障 上萬旅客受影響

Over 10,000 passengers were affected by train delays during the Mid-Autumn Festival long weekend. Transportation and Communications Minister Wang Kwo-tsai blamed it on the axle counters malfunctioning, and Taiwan Railway said it will continue to improve.

Taiwan Railway is slowly enacting reforms. Over 10,000 passengers were affected by train delays during the Mid-Autumn Festival long weekend, leading to complaints. Transportation and Communications Minister Wang Kwo-tsai blamed problematic axle counters. In response, the New Power Party said a previous Taiwan Railway general inspection report issued by the Executive Yuan mentioned the need to inspect axle counters. However, the Ministry of Transportation and Communications failed to do so, and the NPP accused it of dereliction of duty.

Chiu Hsien-chih, Legislator (NPP): “The Ministry of Transportation and Communications hasn't even produced an inspection report on axle counters. Why did this occur? It said there was no backup plan. The minister said he doesn't know why this happened and he was so surprised. Excuse me, you're the minister. If there's no backup plan, then you're the one who needs to give an explanation.”

In April 2021, a Taroko Express train derailed in Hualien, killing nearly 50 people. The Control Yuan recently approved the impeachment of three people including Administrative Deputy Transportation and Communications Minister Chi Wen-jong. Legislators expressed their disapproval that implicated people showed no remorse and ended up being promoted. Family members of victims said the impeachment was overdue. When asked about the regulations for the corporatization of Taiwan Railway passing the third reading in the legislature, they said this is only the start of reforms and the issues of personnel and extreme organizational bloat need to be addressed in the future.

Victim's Family Member: “Our family members will never return, and we will feel this type of pain for the rest of our lives. An impartial supervisory unit without political intervention will definitely be the biggest help for Taiwan Railway's reforms.”

Chen Meng-hsiu, Lawyer: “Many of the items had already been removed from the list, resulting in this Taroko Express accident.”

Family members of victims of train accidents have repeatedly called for the establishment of an external supervisory mechanism with the participation of family members of victims. Taiwan Railway hasn't made any promises, but said it will discuss the opinions of family members of victims and legislators.