Evidence shows ill-fated Taiwanese train pushes front part of service vehicle into tunnel

Train and front part of vehicle rammed against walls of tunnel, causing derailment

Evidence shows ill-fated Taiwanese train pushes front part of service vehicle into tunnel

(CNA photo)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — Evidence obtained by the Taiwan Transportation Safety Board (TTSB) revealed that the Taiwan Railway Taroko Express train derailment accident on April 2, which was caused by the train colliding with a service vehicle, pushed the front part of the vehicle into the Qingshui Tunnel, according to CNA.

The accident caused 50 deaths and over 200 injuries.

The TTSB obtained footage from the train's CCTV and downloaded evidence from the automatic train protection system (ATP) as well as the train control and monitoring system (TCMS) in an effort to reconstruct the crash.

The board previously stated that when the driver of the ill-fated southbound train spotted the service vehicle after emerging from the Heren Tunnel, the distance between it and the train would have been a little more than 200 meters. With the train traveling at high speed, the driver would have had less than 10 seconds to react.

Under such circumstances, even immediate, sharp braking would not have been enough to avoid a collision.

According to the evidence collected by the TTSB, the train hit the vehicle at a speed of 125 kilometers per hour, the impact of which caused the chassis of the vehicle to fall outside of the tunnel while the train pushed its detached front end into the Qingshui Tunnel, which has its entrance only 20 meters from the collision site. Once inside the tunnel, the train and the vehicle fragment rammed against the walls, causing the train to derail.

The TTSB is expected to give a further account of the accident on Tuesday afternoon (April 6), which will address when the service vehicle slid onto the track, whether the vehicle had working hand brakes, and whether the vehicle's braking system generally functioned well.

The accident caused cars four through eight of the train and half of car three to be stuck in the tunnel. Over 500 meters of track and 400 meters of conductor rail were damaged, while 150 meters of the overhead contact system were pulled off.

Repair to the impacted railway and related facilities is expected to be completed by April 8. However, as a safety inspection on the tunnel’s structure is being conducted, the affected railway section is expected to reopen by April 20 at the earliest.

Updated : 2021-04-10 19:59 GMT+08:00