Taiwan’s Puyuma Express, Taroko Express to use two drivers after deadly derailment

Puyuma Express and Taroko Express will be driven by two drivers starting from Oct. 30

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A Puyuma Tze-Chiang Limited Express train (Photo from Flickr user billy1125)

A Puyuma Tze-Chiang Limited Express train (Photo from Flickr user billy1125)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) – Taiwan’s Minister for Transportation and Communications (MOTC), Wu Hong-mo (吳宏謀) said that both the Puyuma Express and Taroko Express will be driven by two drivers starting from Oct. 30, reported CNA.

Wu said that the change in policy is to help avoid human errors in the future, and to rebuild trust in Taiwan’s railway system.

The decision comes after Puyuma Express No. 6432 derailed at Xinma Station, Yilan County on Oct. 21, leaving 18 dead and 210 injured. The train was travelling at high speed and a range of technical issues were reported in the lead-up to the incident.

Wu said that the railway has sufficient staff to deal with the additional drivers, and will ramp up training for the future. He went on to say that TRA had employed 1,900 people in recent years, and they hope to employ a total of 3,000 within the next two or three years.

Most of Taiwan’s train routes previously employed 2 drivers, but after a wave of retirements in 2012, some were switched to a single driver, reported Apple Daily.

According to TRA, the railway currently has 1,113 qualified drivers, and 234 assistants.

Wu’s comments were made during a press conference in Taipei, when it was announced that Chang Chen-yuan (張振源), Political Deputy Minister of MOTC will take over as head of the Taiwan Rail Administration (TRA).