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Fatal derailment to disrupt rail traffic on Taiwan's east coast for 7 days

Crash on 1st day of 4-day holiday, 5-train carriage stuck inside tunnel

Rescue teams at work on the Taroko Express in Hualien 

Rescue teams at work on the Taroko Express in Hualien  (CNA photo)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — The train track in Hualien County where at least 50 people died in a derailment Friday morning (April 2) will take seven days to repair, according to officials.

The crash happened on the main eastern railway line at the start of a four-day Tomb Sweeping Festival holiday.

A construction vehicle reportedly rolled down a slope and was hit by a Taroko Express train on its way from New Taipei City to Taitung. Several of the eight carriages were badly deformed, with five of them stuck inside the Daqingshui tunnel.

One pylon fell, and 400 meters of cable was damaged, the Taiwan Railways Administration (TRA) said. Train traffic in both directions on the east coast will continue on a more westerly line, CNA reported.

The TRA asked passengers still planning to travel to Yilan and Hualien to check beforehand whether their train was still running. By 2 p.m. Friday, 16 trains and 6,398 travelers had been affected by the disaster.