Taiwan High Speed Rail

Taiwan High Speed Rail

Infobox rail
railroad_name = Taiwan High Speed Rail
logo_filename = THSR.svg
logo_size =

map_caption =
marks = THSR
locale = Taiwan proper
start_year = 1998
end_year = present
predecessor_line =
successor_line =
gauge = RailGauge|ussg Standard gauge
length = 335.5 km
hq_city = Taipei, Taiwan
Chinese|t=台灣高速鐵路 "or" 臺灣高速鐵路
p=Táiwān Gāosù Tiělù
tp=Táiwan Gaosù Tiělù
w=T'ai2-wan1 Kao1-su4 T'ieh3-lu4
poj=Tâi-oân Ko-sok Thih-lō·
h=Thòi-vàn Kaû-suk Thiet-lu
t2=台灣高鐵 "or" 臺灣高鐵
p2=Táiwān Gāotiě
tp2=Táiwan Gaotiě
w2=T'ai2-wan1 Kao1-t'ieh3
poj2=Tâi-oân Ko-thih
h2=Thòi-vàn Kaû-thiet
The Taiwan High Speed Rail (zh-t|t=台灣高速鐵路, also known as the THSR) is a high-speed rail network that runs along the west coast of Taiwan. It is approximately convert|335.50|km|mi|0|sp=us, and runs from Taipei City to Kaohsiung City. It began operation on January 5, 2007.

Adopting Japan's Shinkansen technology for the core system, the THSR uses the Taiwan High Speed 700T train, which was manufactured by a consortium of Japanese companies, most notably Kawasaki Heavy Industries. [cite press release | publisher=Kawasaki Heavy Industries | date=2004-01-30 | title=New High Speed 700T for Taiwan Unveiled at Rollout Ceremony | url=http://www.khi.co.jp/sharyo/topic_final/jan_2004.html | accessdate=2006-04-21] The total cost of the project is currently estimated to be US$15 billion, [cite web | title=Plan Overview | work=Taiwan High Speed Rail | url=http://www.thsrc.com.tw/en/about/plan.asp | accessdate=2006-05-19] and is one of the largest privately funded transport schemes to date. Express trains capable of traveling at up to convert|350|km/h|mi/h|0|lk=on|abbr=on [ [http://www.tunnels.mottmac.com/projects/?mode=region&id=3377 Taiwan High Speed Rail Link - Mott MacDonald Project Page}] travel from Taipei City to Kaohsiung City in roughly 90 minutes as opposed to 4.5 hours by conventional rail, [cite web | title=Transportation | work=A Brief Introduction to Taiwan | publisher=ROC Government Information Office| url=http://www.gio.gov.tw/taiwan-website/5-gp/brief/info04_11.html | accessdate=2006-05-19] although local service THSR trains take approximately two hours when stopping at all stations en route. Currently, the CEO of Taiwan High Speed Rail Corp. is Dr. Chin-der Ou (歐晉德). Chairman of the Board is Nita Ing (殷琪).


Although informal planning began as early as 1980, the first formal plans for a high speed rail line linking the cities of Taipei and Kaohsiung were proposed in a Ministry of Transportation study in 1990.cite news|url=http://www.nytimes.com/2007/01/04/world/asia/04taipei.html?scp=1&sq=taiwan+high+speed+rail&st=nyt
title=Taiwan’s Bullet Trains Can’t Outrun Controversy|publisher= The New York Times|accessdate=2008-04-24|date = January 4, 2007
last= Bradsher
first= Keith
] They were then approved by the Executive Yuan in 1992 and the Legislative Yuan in 1993. The decision to pursue a Build-Operate-Transfer method was also approved. After a prolonged bidding process, the Taiwan High Speed Rail Corporation (THSRC) was formally established in May 1998.

The European InterCityExpress (ICE) was initially selected to form the core system of THSR; however, in 1998 the Eschede train disaster on the ICE, in which more than one hundred people died and another hundred were severely injured, combined with the Chi-Chi earthquake in Taiwan on 21 September 1999, led planners to choose Japan's Shinkansen technology instead of ICE due to Shinkansen's "UrEDAS" (Urgent Earthquake Detection and Alarm System, ) earthquake detection system, developed in 1992.

Actual construction began in March 2000 and running tests started in January 2005. In late October 2005, Taiwan High Speed Rail passed its targeted speed of 300 km/h (186 mph) to 315 km/h (197 mph) during testing.

Trial runs between Banciao (Taipei) and Zuoying (Kaohsiung), opened to the public on January 5, 2007. [cite web| title=Taiwan's high-speed rail system to start trial services next week| url=http://www.iht.com/articles/ap/2006/12/28/asia/AS_GEN_Taiwan_High_Speed_Rail.php| accessdate=2006-12-28] The HSR platforms at Taipei Main Station opened on March 2, 2007., [cite web| title=Taiwan 'Shinkansen' debuts| publisher="Yomiuri Shimbun"| url=http://www.yomiuri.co.jp/dy/business/20070106TDY01003.htm| accessdate=2007-01-06] bringing the entire line into operation.

Some of the same Japanese companies won another project in December 2005 to build a high speed rail link to Taiwan Taoyuan International Airport, with the exception of the signaling system which has been awarded to Westinghouse Rail Systems.


Critics point out that the project costs $15 billion, or about $650 for every man, woman and child on Taiwan. Funded by private means, it is billed as the largest Build-Operate-Transfer project in known history, but the development corporation THSRC consistently failed to meet its funding targets on time. The project has also been dogged by allegations of poor quality construction, claims of unresolved safety concerns (due to three derailments during the tests in early November 2006) by THSRC oppositions, and the one year long delay. [cite news | first=Shelley | last=Shan | pages=2 | title=Kuo sets deadline for inspection | date=May 4, 2006 | publisher=The Taipei Times | url=http://www.taipeitimes.com/News/taiwan/archives/2006/05/04/2003306050 ]

Supporters of the project believe THSR will help relieve traffic congestion along the heavily traveled western corridor, while having the advantages of greater safety, high transit volume, low land occupancy, energy economy and low pollution. For example, "The New York Times" reported, "Passengers who travel on a fully loaded train will use only a sixth of the energy they would use if they drove alone in a car and will release only one-ninth as much carbon dioxide, the main gas linked to global warming."

As of March 2008, the THSR employed 54 Taiwanese drivers and 35 from overseas, most of whom were French nationals. A pressing problem in the future will be training and hiring sufficient drivers. The THSR estimates it will need about 100 Taiwanese drivers to reach its target of round-trips. [cite news
title= In Taiwan, change comes speedily
publisher= Asahi Shimbun
date= March 18, 2008

Despite pre-opening doubts, the rail line has reduced much of the Western Taiwan domestic air traffic due to its popularity.


All trains stop at Taipei, Banciao and Taichung stations, but there are several service patterns for other stations. [cite web|url=http://www.thsrc.com.tw/en/ticketing/timetable.asp|title=THSR Timetable, effective November 9, 2007|accessdate=2007-11-05]

* Train numbers 1xx: Taipei to Zuoying, stops at Banciao, Taichung only
* Train numbers 2xx: Taipei to Zuoying, stops at Banciao, Taichung, Chiayi, Tainan
* Train numbers 3xx: Taipei to Zuoying, stops at Banciao, Taoyuan, Hsinchu, Taichung
* Train numbers 4xx: Taipei to Zuoying, stops at all stations, local service.
* Train numbers 5xx: Taipei to Taichung, stops at all intermediate stations, local service.

Standard and business cars compartments are available aboard each train, with the latter offering wider seating, individual audio entertainment systems and power outlets for portable electronics in each seat.cite web | title=Business Class | work=Taiwan High Speed Rail | url=http://www.thsrc.com.tw/en/travel/onboard/t_class.asp | accessdate=2007-02-04]

The system's operating hours are from 6:00AM to 12:00 midnight. [cite news
title= High speed rail should review service: bureau
date = April 23, 2008
publisher= Taipei Times - archives
last= Shan
first= Shelley


Original estimates foresaw an initial daily ridership of 180,000, which would grow to 400,000 by 2036. [cite news |url=http://taiwanjournal.nat.gov.tw/ct.asp?xItem=15627&CtNode=122 |title=High-speed rail bidders confident |publisher=Taiwan Journal |date=1997-05-09 |accessdate=2007-07-13] The initial ridership estimate was later reduced to 140,000 per day [cite news |url=http://taiwanjournal.nat.gov.tw/ct.asp?xItem=20798&CtNode=118 |title=High-speed rail to give birth to new towns |publisher=Taiwan Journal |date=2004-07-23 |accessdate=2007-07-13] . Actual initial ridership did not match these projections. In September 2007, six months after opening, THSR carried 1.5 million passengers monthly, translating to about 50,000 passengers daily. However, operation of high-speed service did not start at full capacity, as train frequency was ramped up progressively from an initial 19 per direction per day, with 88 to be reached eventually:

In its first year, THSRC made revenues of NT$14 billion by selling 15.79 million tickets. With more circulations and a seat occupation increased from 44.72% in 2007 to around 60%, THSRC expects to double its revenue in 2008cite news |url=https://www.taipeitimes.com/News/biz/archives/2008/01/18/2003397822 |title=THSRC aims to double revenues |publisher=Taipei Times |date=2008-01-18 |accessdate=2008-09-06] . By August 9, 2008, 2007 full-year revenues were equalledcite news |url=http://www.thsrc.com.tw/tw/about/news/news_content.asp?id=303 |language=Chinese |title=台灣高鐵營運服務再傳捷報!高鐵2008年票箱收入超越2007全年,7月單月營收亦再創歷史新高。 |publisher=THSRC |date=2008-08-12 |accessdate=2008-09-06] .


Thirteen Taiwan High Speed Rail stations were planned in the western corridor, with eight stations already open in Taipei, Banciao, Taoyuan, Hsinchu, Taichung, Chiayi, Tainan and Zuoying. Five more stations (in Nangang, Miaoli, Changhua, Yunlin and Kaohsiung) will be built in future years.

*Nangang Station: underground, located in Nangang
*Taipei Main Station: underground, located in downtown Taipei City, shares the station with Taiwan Railway Administration
*Banciao Station: underground, located in Banciao, shares the station with Taiwan Railway Administration
*Taoyuan Station: underground, located in Jhongli, near Taiwan Taoyuan International Airport
*Hsinchu Station: elevated, located in Lioujia, Jhubei, near Hsinchu Science Park
*Miaoli Station: elevated
*Taichung Station: elevated, located in Wurih
*Changhua Station: elevated
*Yunlin Station: elevated
*Chiayi Station: elevated, located in Taibao
*Tainan Station: elevated, located in Gueiren
*Zuoying Station: ground level, located in Zuoying District, Kaohsiung City, joint station with Taiwan Railway Administration's new Zuoying Station, line terminus until extension to downtown Kaohsiung Station is built.
*Kaohsiung Station: underground, downtown Kaohsiung City, joint station with Taiwan Railway Administration's new Kaohsiung Station.

In popular culture

The Amazing Race 12

Taiwan High Speed Rail was significantly shown during CBS' 12th season of its around-the-world, multiple Emmy Award-winning hit reality show "The Amazing Race".

Depiction in train simulators

A Taiwan High Speed Rail simulator, known as "", was developed by Taiwan-based company Actainment and produced by the Japanese publisher Ongakukan in 2007. The software was released on the PlayStation 3 system in Asia (Hong Kong, Taiwan & Singapore) and later in Japan as part of the popular Train Simulator series.




ee also

*Rail transport in Taiwan
*High-speed rail


Further reading

*cite book | first=Christopher P. | last=Hood | year=2006 | title=Shinkansen – From Bullet Train to Symbol of Modern Japan | chapter= | editor= | others= | pages= | location=London | publisher=Routledge | id=ISBN 0-415-32052-6 (hb) or ISBN 0415444098 | url= | authorlink= (pb)

External links

* [http://www.thsrc.com.tw/en/index.htm Taiwan High Speed Rail Corporation Official Website]
* [http://www.hsr.gov.tw/homepage.nsf/homepage-eng?OpenFrameset Bureau of High Speed Rail, Ministry of Transportation and Communications]

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