Taipei-The Taiwan Railways Administration (TRA) has filed a lawsuit against Japanese firm Sumitomo Corp. and its affiliate in Taiwan seeking NT$611 million (US$20.05 million) in compensation for damage caused by a deadly train accident that took place last year.
In a statement issued Thursday, the TRA said the lawsuit was filed at the Taipei District Court against Sumitomo, which won the bid to supply the Puyuma tilting train fleet in 2011.
Puyuma Express train No. 6432 derailed Oct. 21, 2018 in Yilan County while heading to Taitung from New Taipei, leaving 18 passengers dead and 288 injured.
According to an investigation report released by the Executive Yuan a little more than one month after the accident, although there was mismanagement on the TRA's part, the accident was caused by design flaws in the train itself. Notably, these included the air compressor system, which was partly responsible for the crash after Sumitomo failed to fix it, despite having been previously notified of the issue.
Although the train was speeding while negotiating a curve, its air compressor malfunctioned and failed to tilt the train, the report showed.
It also said that Sumitomo failed to put the TRA's remote monitoring system online, making it impossible to detect that the train's Automatic Train Protection (ATP) system had been deactivated by the driver.
Sung Hung-kang (???), who heads the TRA's Rolling Stock Department, said that as a contractor, Sumitomo never tried to help resolve the issue.
The amount that the railway administration is seeking is mainly to compensate the victims and also for the loss of its train, Sung said.
The TRA purchased 19 of the Puyuma locomotives from Sumitomo, with a total of 152 carriages. They were delivered in batches beginning in October 2012 and went into operation four months later.
Source: Focus Taiwan News Channel