Thousands of passengers affected after industrial accident cuts power to High Speed Rail

Thousands of passengers were left temporarily stranded in Kaohsiung City and Tainan City after an industrial accident caused a high voltage tower to collapse, cutting power to High Speed Rail services between Tainan and Zuoying stations on the eve of the four day Tomb Sweeping Festival long weekend, today, Friday, April 1.

passengers stranded at HSR station after power failure
Passengers at Tainan HSR Station

At around 3:35 pm, contractors were using a wrecking ball to demolish a silo at a disused Southeast Cement Company plant adjacent to the high speed rail track in Nanzi District, Kaohsiung City, when a cable connected to the silo to control the direction of its fall snapped. The silo collapsed in the opposite direction, hitting and overturning an excavator, and knocking down a tower supporting 69,000 volt power cables. Fortunately nobody was injured in the accident.

collapsed silo and power tower at Southeast Cement Company demolition site
Collapsed cement silo and power tower.

The accident cut the power supply to several substations, affecting the Taiwan High Speed Rail power supply between Tainan and Kaohsiung City. Trains were stopped at Tainan Station and Zuoying Station, and passengers reported being temporarily stuck in trains with no air conditioning until the doors were opened manually.

Services between Tainan City and Kaohsiung City were suspended, and passengers had to line up for buses for up to two hours, or transfer to Taiwan Rail to complete their journeys. The amount of passengers was compounded due to the accident occurring at the end of the last working day preceding the four-day Tomb Sweeping holiday.

Taiwan High Speed Rail quickly organized a fleet of buses to ferry passengers between Tainan City Station and Zuoying Station.

Power supply was fully restored at 10:40 pm, and HSR services resumed at 11:00 pm.

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