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Switch malfunction causes high-speed rail delays

TAIPEI -- Taiwan's high speed rail line was hit by major delays Monday morning after a track switch malfunctioned in northern Taiwan, leaving thousands of passengers in limbo for up to three quarters of an hour.

Taiwan High Speed Rail Corp. (THSRC) said the delays occurred after a switch located between Taipei Station and Banciao Station signaled that something was wrong at 6:59 a.m. The section was closed for maintenance until 8:09 a.m.

A total of 21 trains, carrying more than 10,000 passengers in both northbound and southbound directions, were delayed for between six to 43 minutes.

Passengers on the four trains that arrived late at their destination by 30 minutes or more are entitled to a 50 percent refund, THSRC said.

The Bureau of Taiwan High Speed Rail (BOHSR) under the Ministry of Transportation and Communications, which oversees THSRC operations, said the track switch that malfunctioned Monday was actually a new part installed at the end of July to replace another switch that failed in the same location.

It was the 30th track switch malfunction since the line began operations in early 2007, and Bureau Director-General Hsu Ju said further investigation is needed to understand why there have been so many glitches.

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