TAIPEI, Taiwan — The driver of a Taiwanese train involved in a fatal derailment last month had disengaged his train's speed governor just before entering a turn at almost twice the recommended speed and jumping the tracks, a government report said Monday.
The report didn't explicitly say why the driver took the step, but said the train's air compressor was acting abnormally, leading to a lack of pressure in the air cylinder and propulsion that came and went.
With the automatic train protection system disengaged, the driver was left to control the train by hand.
The report said the driver reported his action and a dispatcher questioned whether that was a good idea. Less than two minutes later, the train derailed after entering a turn where the speed limit is 75 kph (47 mph) at 141 kph (88 mph), the report said.
The driver is under investigation in the Oct. 21 accident that killed 18, making it Taiwan's deadliest railway disaster since a 1991 train wreck killed 30 people
The 6-year-old Japanese-built Puyuma trains were built to travel at 150 kph (93 mph) to ease transportation on rugged parts of the mountainous island's east coast. They are designed to tilt when going around curves, making journeys quicker and easing pressure on the road system crossing Taiwan's central mountain range.
The train was carrying more than 360 passengers. The crash injured about 190 people.