By Shelley Shan / Staff reporter
The Taiwan Railways Administration （TRA） yesterday said it has yet to decide if passengers should be asked to undergo security inspections before boarding trains, following the explosion of a lithium-ion battery in a passenger’s luggage on a Puyuma Express train on Monday night, the first battery explosion of its kind in a TRA cabin.
The incident happened at 8:12pm on Monday on a northbound train from Taitung to Shulin （樹林）, the agency said.
Two passengers in the No. 3 cabin smelled the smoke coming from their luggage stowed in the overhead luggage rack, quickly took down the luggage and put out the fire using a fire extinguisher on the train, the agency said.
Other passengers in the cabin evacuated to other cabins and all passengers were asked to disembark at Hualien Station, the agency said.
The fire did not injure any passengers, or damage the seats or cabin.
A Railway Police Bureau probe said the fire was caused by a mobile power bank.
A blast in July last year on a northbound TRA commuter train injured 25 peop博客來le. The suspect allegedly ignited a home-made bomb in a suicide attempt.
Asked if the agency would consider implementing security inspections for railway passengers, TRA Transportation Department chief Chang Ching-song （張錦松） said that mobile power banks and lithium-ion batteries are not considered explosive devices and the agency can only ask passengers not to store such devices in large luggage.
Such devices should be stored in handbags or in easily accessible locations so people can respond quickly if they detect any abnormalities, he said.
Whether railway passengers should be asked to go through security inspections for safety purposes requires further discussion, he added.
“Railways and buses are part of the mass-transport system, in which passengers need to have quick access to their belongings,” he said.
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