TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — The Taipei District Court on Thursday (Dec. 9) ruled against a NT$612.11 million (US$22.09 million) compensation claim by the Taiwan Railways Administration (TRA) against Japan’s Sumitomo Corporation over a 2018 crash which killed 18 people.
The Japanese group had supplied the Puyuma Express tilting train which derailed on Oct. 21, 2018, in Yilan County while on its way from Taitung to Taipei, killing 18 and injuring about 200.
While appeals are still possible, the court ruled that the design flaws alleged by the TRA were not the main cause of the accident, CNA reported. These problems included the air compressor system and Sumitomo's alleged failure to put a remote monitoring system online, making it impossible to know that the driver had deactivated the automatic train protection (ATP) system.
Sumitomo argued that the air compressor problems on the day of the accident resulted from a lack of maintenance and the TRA's failure to repair or replace the necessary parts. The main responsibility of the derailment lies with the driver for failing to respect the speed limit on a curve near Xinma Station, according to attorneys for the Japanese company.
In October, train driver Yu Chen-chung (尤振仲) was sentenced to four years and six months in prison for negligent homicide, as he had switched off the ATP, allowing the train to reach a speed of 141 kilometers per hour where 75 kph was the maximum limit. The Taiwan High Court is processing his appeal against the sentence, CNA reported.