The Taiwan Railway Administration has started to repair railway tracks that have been damaged between Taitung and Hualien during the strong earthquakes on Sept. 17 and 18. Highway buses are now available to carry passengers commuting between Taitung and Hualien in the meantime. MOTC Minister Wang Kwo-tsai arrived to Dongli Station to inspect the damages.
The 6.8 magnitude earthquake on Sept. 18 caused the canopy to collapse at the Taitung Dongli Station and the 6th car of the Tzechiang Express Train no.420 to derail. Several sections of the railway tracks in Taitung got twisted as well and trains could no longer pass. The Taiwan Railway Administration has formed an emergency task force to repair the tracks and damages.
Feng Hui-sheng, Deputy Director, TRA: “The tracks were buckled and warped. We will repair the tracks and in the meantime arrange re-routing services for passengers during this period of time. Everything seems to work together nicely so far since the morning. ”
Wang Kwo-tsai, Minister of Transportation and Communications: “Repairing the eleven warped track sections should be straightforward, but fixing the three bridges is a bit complicated since safety concerns are involved. Preliminary evaluation showed that full bridge repair would take over a month.”
The TRA announced that starting on the 19th, highway buses are available to carry passengers traveling from Hualien to Taitung. Buses leave at the start of each hour from 6 in the morning until 8 in the evening. Many people lined up at Yuli Station in Hualien early in the morning.
Reporter: “Is it inconvenient for you?”
Student: “Yes, a little bit. I just apply for late attendance to class in the afternoon.”
Reporter: “How long does it take to get to Hualien Station now? How much time in addition?”
Bus Driver: “It depends, since we have to stop at each station. About half an hour more.”
Repair has been going on at Yuli Bridge in Hualien as several huge cracks also appeared across the bridge.