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Earthquake prompts Taiwan rail review follows earthquake

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DESIGN OF the ú8bn ($13.2bn) Taiwan high speed rail project is under scrutiny following last month's major earthquake in the centre of the island.

The 345km line between Taipei in the north and Tsoying in the south, includes 257km of viaducts and bridges. Last month's earthquake caused a number of similarly designed road structures to collapse and shocked engineers as ground movements were much larger than allowed for in the country's design codes.

A spokeswoman for Taiwan High Speed Rail Corporation told NCE International: 'THSRC's project teams are currently reviewing the effects of the earthquake with regards to the effects of seismic forces actually measured and the effects of ground movement.'

She added: 'The northern and southern contracts will not be affected and work on these will proceed as programmed. But the contracts in the central area where the earthquake occurred require further study.'

The new railway, which will run at a maximum speed of 350km/h, was expected to be complete by 2005. The spokeswoman said it was still 'too early' to say how the design review would impact the project's cost and programme.

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