Train service in Puyuma accident area to fully resume Wednesday

Taipei, The section of track in Yilan County that was damaged in a deadly train derailment Sunday night will be repaired by Wednesday noon, allowing train services along Taiwan's east coast to be fully restored, according to the Taiwan Railways Administration (TRA).

The track handling southbound trains on the double-track line was damaged when Puyuma express train No. 6432 from Taipei to Taitung derailed as it entered a curve near Xinma Station in Su'ao Township at 4:50 p.m. Sunday.

All eight carriages of the tilting train flew off the track, causing the rails handling southbound traffic to twist out of shape.

The TRA has been operating a curtailed schedule in the area since 5 a.m. Monday, with trains running in both directions on the track that handled northbound trains after wreckage from the crash was cleared.

Work to repair the damaged rails on the southbound track began Tuesday and should be completed by the afternoon, after which work to repair the line's damaged electrical system will proceed, said Hsieh Ching-tien (???), chief of the TRA's Yilan operations section.

Hsieh anticipated that all of the work will be completed by Wednesday noon, allowing full train services on both the northbound and southbound tracks to resume.

At least 18 people were killed and 190 people were injured in the crash, according to the TRA.

The authorities have established that the train derailed because it was traveling at a speed of 140 kilometers per hour as it entered the curve where it derailed, nearly double the 75 kph limit for that section.

Why the train was moving so fast, however, is still being investigated, and as the investigation continues, the Puyuma trains will be checked, the TRA said.

Transportation Minister Wu Hong-mo (???) said Sunday that the trains would be checked but not grounded because pulling them out of service would adversely affect transportation services to the eastern counties of Hualien and Taitung.

Source: Focus Taiwan News Channel