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Around Taiwan in 6 hours: Ministry of Transportation plans faster train travel

High-speed rail extensions to Pingtung and Yilan will help

Train travel should become even faster around Taiwan.

Train travel should become even faster around Taiwan. (CNA photo)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — Traveling around Taiwan in six hours will be possible in the future thanks to extensions to the island’s only high-speed rail line and the introduction of faster trains on other lines, according to a Ministry of Transportation blueprint.

The government recently gave the go-ahead to extend the Taipei-to-Kaohsiung high-speed rail track further south to Pingtung, while a northern extension between Taipei City and Yilan County is also under consideration.

While having high-speed trains careening along the mountainous and sparsely populated east coast might be technically and commercially less viable, introducing faster services based on the current Puyuma and Taroko Express trains would also help with the project, CNA reported Friday (Jan. 3).

Central Taiwan would see its single track near the coast expanded to a double track to resolve current bottlenecks.

Transportation Minister Lin Chia-lung (林佳龍) wants to use the plan to promote the balanced development of the country’s various regions and increase the effectiveness of its transportation network, according to the report.

The plan would see travel times between Taipei and Hualien in the north and Kaohsiung and Taitung in the south shrink to less than 90 minutes. Under this scenario, it would be possible to travel from Taipei to Taitung in two hours and 20 minutes, including 23 minutes on the high-speed train from the capital to Yilan, 47 minutes from Yilan to Hualien, and just over an hour from Hualien to Taitung, the CNA report said.

The ministry reportedly still has to fine-tune the details before submitting the plan to the Cabinet for approval.