Just yesterday, high-speed rail service was suspended for nearly four hours in Taiwan. It was later found out that this delay was caused by a signalling system error at Greater Taichung station. In the end, this caused the cancellation of nearly 44 trains. It is believed to have affected nearly 35,000 passengers. This is the first time these high-speed rails were forced to close due to this reason. Despite this fact, many people are worried that this will be an on-going problem.
Taiwan High Speed Rail said that this signalling problem was found around 5:04 a.m. It was at this time that staff went to check the standing of the route before they dispatched the very first train service for the day. Usually, the system shows the railway is completely clear. This time, however, it showed a train on the track between TK130 and TK193. These are milestones that are actually within the Greater Taichung Station’s operating zone.
Due to the way the system is set up, this irregularity would have stopped all trains from being launched on this route. Thus, the company decided to scrap every train services before 9:30 a.m. This way they would have time to find out what caused this glitch in the first place.
The assistant vice president of Taiwan High Speed Rail, John Chen, said that the irregularity was found and handled. He went on to explain that the problem was with the electronic interlocking system located at the rail switch. This system has been installed at nine places along this route. The Greater Taichung Station’s interlocking system had just been fixed prior to this incident. He did go on to defend this system by saying that trains could not operate at these speeds without this system in place. Thus, it may have caused some delays here recently, but overall it saves people a lot of time.
Either way, a number of people had their plans disrupted due to this system glitch. Taiwan High Speed Rail offered to help customers whose trains were delayed or cancelled. They did this by giving passengers a refund. The company went on to add that their tickets can be refunded up to one year after the arranged travel date. The people who did use their tickets can still receive a coupon for boarding another high-speed rail on a different travel date free of charge.
Young Chengpchung, who is the division director of the Bureau of High Speed Rail within the Ministry of Transportation and Communications, said that he is totally satisfied with how Taiwan High Speed Rail dealt with this incident. He went on to say that they have requested the company investigate the root cause of this event. This way the event isn’t repeated in the future. Other than this, the company did a great job at handing out refund tickets and making sure everyone was happy.
The truth is that mishaps like this are going to happen from time to time. No matter how good the company is, there is just no way around it. What really shows the true colours of a company is how they deal with these events when they take place.