TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — It will take only 13 minutes to travel the 50-kilometer route from Nangang, Taipei, to the northeastern city of Yilan by Taiwan High Speed Rail (HSR) if a proposed extension from Taipei becomes a reality, according to an initial plan by the Railway Bureau.
A direct railway route from Taipei through the Central Mountain Range to Yilan has been a topic of discussion for more than 10 years, but the concept is still being assessed by the authorities, UDN reported on Wednesday (Oct. 23). In addition to the direct railway route, Minister of Transportation and Communications Lin Chia-lung (林佳龍) recently directed related officials to include the HSR extension in the assessment process.
Thus, there are currently two proposals under assessment: a direct railway route from Nangang to Toucheng in Yilan County and the extension of the HSR from Nangang to Toucheng and then to Yilan City. According to the initial assessment report, the construction of the direct railway route to Toucheng would cost NT$66.8 billion (US$2.2 billion), and the HSR extension through Toucheng to Yilan is estimated to cost a total of NT$95.5 billion, UDN reported.
In terms of peak hour passengers, the Taipei-Yilan direct railway would be able to carry about 18,000 passengers an hour. Meanwhile, the HSR extension would be capable of carrying 14,400 to 18,000 passengers an hour.
As for the traveling time, the HSR extension would allow trains to reach Yilan City from Nangang in 13 minutes, whereas the direct railway would require about double that amount of time, the report said. At the present time, the TRA’s Puyuma Express takes about one hour.
Railway Bureau Deputy Director General Yang Cheng-chun (楊正君) said that the initial assessment report will be submitted to the Ministry of Transportation and Communications (MOTC) and that the construction costs and traveling times are still being examined.