Airport metro to delay until March 2016, says BHSR
The Taipei- Taoyuan airport metro line will be unable to open its services to the public until at least March 2016 because of technical problems and construction delays, transport authorities announced yesterday.
The Bureau of High Speed Rail (BHSR) said the metro system cannot begin operation by the end of this year as previously promised because it has yet to achieve the level of stability required, and overall construction has been three and a half months behind schedule.
The BHSR said it has reached a consensus with the Taoyuan government that the goal now is to begin operations for the new metro line as soon as March next year.
The completion of the much anticipated metro system linking Taipei and Taiwan Taoyuan International Airport has previously seen multiple delays since construction began in 2006.
According to the BHSR, the system has received approval in testing for 42 items, but it has not reached the required standard of 97.5 percent in overall stability.
The stability level for trains running between the Linkou and Zhongli stations has reached the required standard, but there will be a delay of more than five minutes for trains running between the Taipei and Zhongli the bureau said.
Stability testing for the system has found problems such as trains dispatched from Taipei were misguided to the wrong tracks; wireless signals were cut off resulting in emergency braking of the trains; and there were problems with the software upgrades for the signaling system.
Apart from the stability problems, the system was also hit by an accident on Aug. 17 during which a work vehicle derailed because of signal compatibility problem. A 10-meter section of the track was damaged in the accident, according to the Central News Agency.
The BHSR said the contractor has to be blamed for the stability problem, and will have to pay damages for the delay. According to the contract, the contractor will have to pay NT$12 million for every single day of delay and the maximum will be NT$2.5 billion, plus damages for other losses.
The metro system will offer two kinds of train services: one running from Taipei to the airport without stopping, and the other stopping at all stations along the line. The former will take 35 minutes, and the latter 70.
The BHSR said the trains will be dispatched at an interval of six minutes during initial services.