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Premier directs all agencies to action following progress report on train crash rescue

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Premier Su Tseng-chang on Monday visited the Taiwan Railways Administration's (TRA) disaster command center to receive a progress report on the rescue efforts underway in the wake of the derailment of Taroko Express No. 408 on Friday. The premier instructed all ministries and agencies to see to the care and assistance of victims' families and the injured. He also ordered an expert evaluation to ensure the affected line's safety before service is restored. Premier Su further directed the TRA to continue enhancing the oversight and improvement of slope-adjacent railway, and even more importantly to acquire advanced equipment to sharpen its already strong technological edge in forward-looking sensors for trains, distance signaling and a network to monitor areas surrounding tracks. The TRA must as well immediately evaluate ongoing construction projects for potential dangers to public safety to prevent such a tragedy from ever occurring again, he said.

The painful aftermath of the accident should provide lessons for the future, the premier said. Inspections of areas prone to track-obstructing debris, the continued enhancement and improvement of susceptible railway, and the implementation of stronger safety measures must be carried out.

The independent Transportation Safety Board has already opened an investigation and will provide a professional assessment of the facts of the case, Premier Su said. As for such issues as determining legal responsibility, he instructed the Ministry of Justice and related agencies to take the lead. The premier pledged the government to restore the people's confidence in Taiwan's railways, as well as usher the TRA into a new era. Working step by step, the government will fulfill its responsibility to the nation, he said.

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