On Feb. 6th, 2016 at 3:57 am, just before Chinese New year, a Richter scale 6.4, depth 16.7 kilometers shallow earthquake happened in Meinong District, Kaohsiung City causing earthquake alarm from HSR Zuoying Station to north of Changhua Station to ring, effecting approximately 156.5 kilometers of HSR route. In Guiren District, Tainan County, the seismic intensity even reached 398gal (equal to Richter scale 7), resulting in severe damage in HSR Tainan and Chiayi sections. Damages to the system included alignment and structural damage in multiple OCS systems of the East / West main line, distortion of the rod of tension-balancing devices, rupture and displacement of balance weight blocks, rupture of the overhead ground wire insulators, fracture of cantilevers, fracture and distortion of lever arms, deformation, fracture and falling of wires and droppers, etc. so greatly impacted HSR operation. In consequence, THSRC cancelled all operation between the interval of Taichung Station and Zuoying Station on Feb. 6th and addition to instantly recalling all domestic OCS maintenance staff (a total of 104 people including 12 from supporting vendors), THSRC also mobilized all OCS maintenance vehicles within the area of Chiayi to Zuoying to put full power into repairing the damages in order to re-open the HSR line and relieve the crowd of Chinese New Year holidays. After going through 24 hours around the clock of full repairing operations and bearing dramatic temperature changes of day and night, the maintenance team completed repairing Tainan section and full power transmission of OCS operations at 6:50 in the morning of Feb. 7th and could finally catch a breath.
Before re-opening operation on Feb. 7th, the rail patrol car discovered multiple new deteriorated and broken damages in Chiayi section that were not significantly exposed possibly induced by the operation of two trains per hour between Taichung and Chiayi starting from 4pm the day before. Subsequently, THSRC instructed all maintenance crew to prioritize repairing Chiayi section with long ladders and utilize the OCS maintenance vehicles to repair and patrol other affected area in order to avoid missing potential flaws that were not revealed. With another 12 hours of repairing operation, the HSR system restored full range of normal operation at 6pm on Feb. 7th.
Instantly after the happening of the earthquake, BOHSR Director General Hu led associates to accompany Minister Chen of MOTC two days in a row to HSR Taichung Station to inspect the passenger dispersing situation. Then on Feb. 7th, the inspection party traveled to the Chiayi section to inspect on repair work of the OCS system. During the holidays, associates of BOHSR has continued to contact THSRC on-duty maintenance personnel to grasp updated system damage and repairing information. In addition, BOHSR requested THSRC to continuously improve inspection and repairing operations procedures for natural disasters in order to carry out actual supervision work.