Maker of train in Taiwan crash finds design flaw

TOKYO/TAIPEI • The Japanese manufacturer of a train that derailed in Taiwan killing 18 people said it had discovered a design flaw that failed to alert the central control system that an automatic safety feature had been turned off.

On Oct 21, a train in Yilan in Taiwan's north-east came off the rails on a curve while travelling at almost 149kmh, nearly twice the speed limit, the head of a Taiwan government investigation team has said.

Eighteen people were killed and 187 injured in the island's worst rail crash in decades.

Nippon Sharyo official Naoki Sato said the firm's probe into the crash found a flaw in the blueprint for wiring the connection of the train's automatic train protection safety system to the control station.

There is no problem with the safety system itself, which is designed to automatically apply the brakes when the train exceeds the speed limit, Mr Sato said.

He said the flawed blueprint was used in 19 train sets built for Taiwan, including the one that crashed. Any decision on whether to fix the wiring was up to the Taiwan rail authority, which owns the trains.

The Taiwan Railways Administration said it has asked Nippon Sharyo for a more detailed explanation.

It was not immediately clear whether the remaining 18 trains were in operation.


A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on November 03, 2018, with the headline 'Maker of train in Taiwan crash finds design flaw'. Print Edition | Subscribe