Over 8,700 TRA passengers impacted by cable duct fire in Keelung

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TAIPEI (CNA) – More than 8,700 train passengers experienced delays Friday morning as the result of a cable duct fire in Keelung, according to Taiwan Railway Administration (TRA).

At about 2:40 a.m., the cable duct, located around 400 meters from Keelung Train Station, in northeastern Taiwan, was found on fire, impacting the movement of trains, the administration said.

After receiving a report about the fire, which triggered signal irregularities, a maintenance crew was dispatched to the scene and put out the blaze at around 3:10 a.m., TRA said.

Once the fire was extinguished, the maintenance crew tried unsuccessfully to repair signal operations, irregularities in the operation of which were causing delays of 15-30 minutes for trains traveling between Keelung and Qidu Friday morning, the TRA said.

The TRA said Friday afternoon that it is not clear when the signal irregularities will be fixed.

As of 10:30 a.m., a total of 8,710 passengers on 33 trains commuting between Keelung and Qidu had been impacted, according to Keelung Station. No updated information about the number of affected passengers was immediately available as of Friday afternoon.

However, trains to Yilan and Hualien and southbound trains to Kaohsiung from Keelung were running normal Friday morning, the TRA said.

Local media reported that the train delays also inconvenienced passengers from a cruise ship which docked in Keelung, who were taking a train trip to Taipei. The report said the train delays prompted many cruise line passengers to take taxis to Taipei.

Head of Keelung Train Station Huang Hsuen-chia (黃學甲), told the press that it remains unclear how the cable duct caught fire but railway police have launched an investigation into the incident.

Based on evidence the police have so far collected, sabotage cannot be ruled out, Huang said.

By Wang Chao-yu and Frances Huang