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Japanese manufacturer apologizes for Taichung MRT train malfunction

Taiwan’s Taichung pushes back launch of MRT Green Line for two months

Commercial operations of Taichung MRT Green Line suspended due to train malfunction. 

Commercial operations of Taichung MRT Green Line suspended due to train malfunction.  (CNA photo)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — The Japanese manufacturer of the trains used in the Taichung mass rapid transit (MRT) system apologized Monday (Dec. 21) for a major malfunction that led to the suspension of commercial operations on the Green Line.

Last month, trial runs of the city's first MRT line were halted due to an abnormality reported on one of the trains. An initial examination found that a coupling connecting the two-carriage train was broken.

At the time, the train's manufacturer, Kawasaki Heavy Industries of Japan, said that the problem had never occurred before and that the couplings from all of the 18 trains running on the line would be removed. It also promised to send the couplings to a third-party manufacturer to check for defects.

After holding a meeting with experts, the Taichung City Government decided to postpone commercial operations on the Green Line, which were scheduled to begin on Dec. 19. Mayor Lu Shiow-yen (盧秀燕) said the government believes the reason for the breakdown has not been conclusively determined and that more investigation is needed.

During a press interview on Monday, Kawasaki representative Hideki Ukita apologized for the postponement of the MRT operation. He confirmed that the malfunction was caused by an assembly defect and that it is being fixed.

Ukita pointed out that Kawasaki will also replace the Chinese-made couplings with French-made ones. He said the company expects to finish replacing all 36 couplings by Feb. 2 and complete the necessary fatigue tests before Feb. 9.

Meanwhile, the Taipei City Department of Rapid Transit Systems (DORTS), the developer of the Taichung MRT system, said a trial run for the Green Line could begin sometime after Feb. 2. However, the exact timetable will be determined by the Taichung City Government, Liberty Times cited it as saying.