Two employees of the Taiwan Railways Administration (TRA) were killed yesterday afternoon after being run over by a train. One of them was close to retirement. According to the police, victim Ho Zhu-cong (何諸聰), 65 years old, was about to retire on Oct. 14, while fellow worker Huang Ming-xing (黃閔星), 40, worked as a technician for the TRA for almost seven years. Their families had trouble believing their deaths were the result of technical problems.
Ho Jin-cong (何金松), brother of Ho Zhu-cong, suspected irregularities when he was informed of the death of his brother by the funeral parlour rather than the TRA.
Huang reportedly has two children who are currently in elementary school.
The deputy head of the TRA's Longjing station, surnamed Zhang, said that there are five technicians in total and when one of them takes a day off another two are responsible for railway inspection. Ho and Huang were responsible for maintaining the railroad switches of the railway system. Longjing stationmaster Chen Zheng-dao (陳政道) stated that after leaving the train station, technicians must give locational updates constantly; he was alerted after the two never checked in.
The accident occurred yesterday afternoon and is similar to a case that happened eight years ago in Hualien on March 18, 2006. On that day, five TRA technicians were run over by a Tze-Chiang (自強) limited express at midnight, with TRA secretary Hsu Da-wan (徐達文) along with seven managers apologising. They were later given demerits.
Based on the initial investigation, it seems that yesterday's train 112 was behind schedule, and the two technicians estimated they had sufficient time to do maintenance jobs since they thought train 112 had already departed. According to the analysis of experts, frequent delays of TRA trains are common for technicians and they did not notice potential danger. The two technicians went to the southern part of the railway to carry out track maintenance work. The delayed train 112 hit the two technicians head-on.
TRA Undersecretary Lu Jie-shen (鹿潔身) indicated that the route changes are necessary from time to time, and the Railway Safety and Investigation Committee normally notices such problems. However, since only one person supervises the railway system, all five technicians should take responsibility for the deaths. Along with the Department of Occupational Safety and Health, the Railway Safety and Investigation Committee will continue investigating the reasons for the incident.