TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — Transportation Minister Lin Chia-lung’s (林佳龍) resignation offer in the wake of the Hualien train derailment that killed 49 people has been accepted and will take effect on April 20, reports said Thursday (April 15).
After a truck rolled down a slope to end up on the tracks, a Taroko Express train was unable to break in time, leading to the deaths of 49 people, including the conductor, his deputy, and three foreign citizens, while more than 200 people were injured. The incident happened on the morning of April 2, at the beginning of a four-day holiday, when hundreds of people were traveling for vacation or to join their relatives.
Lin tendered his resignation to take political responsibility, with Premier Su Tseng-chang (蘇貞昌) approving it and setting the date for April 20, UDN reported Thursday. Traffic through the tunnel on Taiwan’s east coast is expected to resume on that day.
Su and Lin held a meeting Tuesday (April 13) to discuss the issue, with the premier briefing President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) the following day, according to a government spokesman, who added the search for a successor had started.
The investigation into the derailment has focused on a ream of allegedly illegal practices by the contractor who reportedly failed to switch on the emergency brake on his truck. As a result of the incident, the Taiwan Railways Administration (TRA) has faced growing calls for thorough reform.