Exiting MOTC head takes first Taroko Express train since crash

TAIPEI (The China Post) — Exiting Minister of the Ministry of Transportation and Communications (MOTC, 交通部) Lin Chia-lung (林佳龍) was among the first passengers to travel by train on the Taroko route on Monday.

Following two weeks of emergency repairs, the Taiwan Railways Administration (TRA, 台鐵) announced that the railroad is once again open to traffic.

Lin and Deputy Transport Minister Chi Wen-jong (祁文中) took the train 4102, departing from Yilan at 5:27 am and arriving at Hualien Station at 7:08 am. They wished to demonstrate their commitment to trains’ safety.

During a brief interview with the press, Lin, who will officially resign on Tuesday, revealed that the MOTC, along with many others, have spent the past 17 days invested in emergency repair work for the Qingshui Tunnel and tighten safety protocols of surrounding areas.

He added that the train ride today felt very smooth, and expressed hope to rebuild the image of the TRA in the hearts of Taiwanese people. He also wished that the MOTC can learn from this tragic accident and thoroughly reform and start again.

He especially thanked his colleagues who participated in the emergency repair work during this period, as well as the assistance of many relevant trade unions, to carry out safety examinations and put forward improvements.

Regarding his resignation, Lin said that as an administrative officer, he has to bear all responsibility, and thanked everyone for him the time to deal with the aftermath of the tragic accident.