Oct 24, 2018 Politics Comments Off on Union refutes TRA account of events leading up to train crash
Taipei, The train driver who admitted to turning off the automatic train protection (ATP) system on a Puyuma express train that later derailed, killing 18 people, reported his decision to train dispatchers, the Taiwan Railway Labor Union said Wednesday, refuting the version of events given by Taiwan Railways Administration (TRA) officials earlier in the day.
Union official Wu Chang-chih (???) said the union had accessed the communication records and found that the train driver, Yu Cheng-chung (???) did report that the ATP had been turned off, though later than he should have.
Wu said Yu reported the matter after the train passed Luodong Station, during discussions with dispatchers, after the train's power system was checked at Yilan Station, 9km north of Luodong.
TRA has acknowledged the train was having power problems before arriving in Yilan and that it stopped there for repairs.
Yu had told prosecutors he turned off the ATP near Daxi Station, 30 km north of Luodong.
The southbound train from New Taipei to Taitung derailed near Xinma Station, 10 km south of Luodong, as a result of traveling too fast, which could have been avoided if the ATP had been turned on, prosecutors said.
However, the TRA has claimed the driver never told dispatchers he had turned off the ATP, suggesting he was negligent.
In response, Wu urged the TRA to make public all related communication records.
Wu also said it was common practice for drivers to turn off the ATP to check if the train's power system was operating normally.
Further, he said there have been multiple malfunctions with air compressors on Puyuma trains over the past year, which are to blame for unstable power supply.
Wu said he experienced the same problem when driving the derailed train No. 6432, three months ago.
Wu also said he was surprised to learn there was no remote monitoring of ATP status at the dispatcher's end, adding that he only learned that was the case when TRA Director-General Lu Chieh-shen (???) gave a briefing at a legislative session earlier in the day.
Wu urged the TRA to draft standard operation procedures for how to handle ATP-related malfunctions within a week.
Lu said the TRA introduced a remote monitoring system for ATPs on all its trains in 2010, but the system was not used on Puyuma trains because the data sent back was unreadable.
TRA is currently asking the company that provides the system to improve the situation, he said.
Source: Focus Taiwan News Channel
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