Train derails after landslide on Taiwan’s east coast: passengers evacuate in tunnel

The driver of an intercity express train and six passengers suffered minor injuries after a train derailed following a landslide at the entrance of a tunnel on Taiwan’s east coast line late this afternoon, Friday, June 21.

According to reports, the Ziqiang Express EMU 3,000 express train, service number #229, was hit by rocks as it passed through the Heren Tunnel between Heren and Chongde Stations in Hualien County’s Xiulin Township at 4:50 pm.

Pictures and video uploaded to social media showed passengers disembarking from the train in the tunnel, and making their way through slushy mud and fallen rocks at the tunnel entrance.

passengers exit tunnel through slush and fallen rocks
Pictures uploaded to social media.

According to Taiwan Railways Corporation, there were 525 people aboard the train. A local shuttle train was dispatched to pick up the passengers. Trains traveling through the section are reduced to single line bi-directional traffic, so some delays may be expected. According to the preliminary investigation it is known that the second car of the train derailed as a result of the accident.

The most serious injury sustained appears to be a fractured hand suffered by the 52-year-old driver, named Chen. Chen was evacuated from the tunnel at 6:24 pm.

The area where the accident happened has been the scene of several landslides and rockfalls since a major earthquake struck April 3. Thousands of aftershocks have shaken the area since, including a magnitude 4.6 tremblor shortly after noon today. This afternoon also saw the area inundated with heavy rain.

On April 11, a train was derailed by a rockfall very close by to today’s incident.

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