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Around-Taiwan travel by Puyuma Express possible in 2020: Minister

Electrification of Chaozhou-Taitung track to be completed by Lunar New Year 2020

A Puyuma Express train at Shulin station (photo by 捷利)

A Puyuma Express train at Shulin station (photo by 捷利) (Wikimedia Commons photo)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) – Traveling all around Taiwan by Puyuma Express train should become possible in 2020, new Transportation Minister Wu Hong-mo (吳宏謀) said Saturday.

Wu, who only took up his new position on July 16, was speaking in an interview with the Apple Daily.

The Puyuma Express was launched as a new tilting express train in 2013, but because the electrification of Taiwan’s rail network had not been completed yet, the train service could not go right round the island.

In his interview, Wu announced that the electrification of the 123-kilometer segment between Chaozhou in Pingtung County and Taitung City in Taitung County would be brought forward from the end of 2020 to that year’s Lunar New Year.

A Puyuma train going the 1,064.5 km round the island would only need nine hours to complete the trip, compared to 14 hours for existing services, according to the Apple Daily.

While Wu did not rule out fare increases, he also said that those would not be possible without the necessary accompanying measures, such as upgrading the quality of service.

The expansion of the Puyuma Express network would boost tourism, while promotions geared toward senior citizens and young people were also in the works, the new minister said.