Taiwan’s Pingtung high-speed rail line to avoid airport and open in 2029

Ministry of Transportation has chosen elevated line from Zuoying to Pingtung City

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The Ministry of Transportation has chosen a route for the high-speed rail to Pingtung.

The Ministry of Transportation has chosen a route for the high-speed rail to Pingtung. (By Central News Agency)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) – The new high-speed rail route from Kaohsiung to Pingtung will avoid the center of Taiwan’s largest southern city as well as its airport when it opens by the end of 2029, according to the selection made by the Ministry of Transportation Friday (September 27).

The government announced last September 10 it would extend the country’s single high-speed rail line, which runs between Taipei City’s Nangang District in the north and Kaohsiung City’s Zuoying District in the south, to Pingtung.

Both Premier Su Tseng-chang (蘇貞昌), who announced the decision, and President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) have their roots in the agricultural southern county, which also attracts many tourists to its beaches.

Four different routes had been on offer, with the ministry reaching a decision Friday afternoon, the Central News Agency reported.

The winning line will start at the existing Zuoying terminal station and run for 17.5 kilometers on an elevated track slightly north and then east to Pingtung City’s Liukuaicuo Station. The choice was also the cheapest, at NT$55.4 billion (US$1.78 billion), according to CNA.

Other possibilities had been an elevated line from the Qiaotou science park to Liukuaicuo, or an underground line right through the center of Kaohsiung with an extra station there, or a route heading south with a stop at the city’s Xiaogang International Airport and turning east to the Pingtung County township of Chaozhou, further south than Pingtung City, which would not have a station under this scenario.