A railway section in Taiwan’s eastern county of Hualien has resumed services on Monday, 17 days after a train derailment left 49 dead and dozens more injured.
The train conductor sounded the horn and slowed the train as it passed by the tunnel, where the deadly train crash occurred. Transport minister Lin Chia-lung, who handed in his resignation after the accident, was also aboard the train.
No one wanted an accident as severe as such to happen and the reform of the Taiwan Railways Administration must not stop, Lin said. He felt relieved to see that restoration work of the site had been completed, adding that he will also visit churches and temples in Hualien to pray for blessings.
Due to the earthquake the night before, employees of the ministry worked till late at night to ensure the safety of the train services.
“Before I leave, I will make sure that normal and safe operation will be resumed in Hualien, and that the ministry will have implemented a mechanism to coordinate with and care for victims’ families,” Lin told reporters earlier last Friday.
The TRA thanked the public for its assistance and stressed that employees have worked day and night to restore the site. Trains will also operate at a slower speed of 40 kilometers per hour during the first two months of service resumption.
The department stressed that it will continue the corporatization of its operation to improve its financial structure and organizational effectiveness. It will utilize its current advantages to promote growth in the transport industry, as well as provide reliable, safe and comfortable services to the public.
A six-year-old girl, the youngest victim of the accident, used to like playing in the water. Her family thus decided to scatter her ashes in the sea and conducted the ceremony on Sunday. The service was held with the assistance of the Funeral Services Association of Taiwan and the whale-watching industry.
Her sister, who suffered a heavy blow to her head, is now in stable condition.
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