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High-speed rail service faces 3rd postponement

High-speed rail service faces 3rd postponement

The opening of the north-south high-speed railway project will most likely be postponed for a third time after the Taiwan High Speed Railway Company failed to submit its inspection report to the Ministry of Transportations and Communications by the Friday deadline.
Service was supposed to begin in October 2005, but after two delays because of construction issues, the government insisted earlier this year that operations between Kaohsiung and Banciao, just south of Taipei, would begin October 31 this year.
That schedule is now in jeopardy after the High Speed Railway Company held back an inspection report on the system from Lloyd's Register of Shipping that found over 3,700 flaws in the system, according to various Chinese-language newspaper reports yesterday.
A United Evening News report said that even if the report had been submitted on time, the ministry's own evaluation committee would still have not come to a conclusion on the system's safety and readiness until after October 25, the date when the committee was expected to convene.
In a statement released last night, however, the High-Speed Railway Company said the delay was because the surveyor asked the company to perform seven to 10 days of uninterrupted tests so that the certification process could be completed.
In tests it had been performing since August 1 to prepare the railway for passenger service, the company said it had been training personnel, performing multiple test runs, and conducted repeated inspections, making it difficult for the certification company to fulfill its duties.
The THSRC said it would comply with this condition imposed by the Independent Verification & Validation certification process as soon as it had completed its own test runs and inspections.
The statement made no mention of when the certification process would be completed, saying only that it would respect the process to make sure the trains were safe for passengers.
TVBS television news station reported that the THRSC has incurred NT$74 billion in losses because of the system's repeated delays.
The NT$380 billion high-speed railway linking Taipei and Kaohsiung is the largest construction project to be built under the "build-operate-transfer" model in the world. The THRSC will operate the railway line for 35 years before transferring it to the government.


Updated : 2021-10-16 22:12 GMT+08:00