TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — Taiwan’s first EMU3000 train from Japan was unloaded at Hualien on Friday (July 30), with service along the east coast set to begin by the end of the year.
Residents of the sparsely populated counties of Hualien and Taitung often complain about limited transportation opportunities between their regions and the capital Taipei. This is particularly noticeable when tourists and families take to the road in large numbers, such as the Lunar New Year holiday.
If the trial runs are good, the new trains will increase capacity on east coast routes by more than 40%, CNA reported. The Taiwan Railways Administration (TRA) ordered 600 train cars from Japan’s Hitachi Rail, with delivery slated for completion in 2024.
The first of the trains had been scheduled to arrive in June, but COVID-19 and Typhoon In-Fa caused a postponement until Friday. Meanwhile, due to virus restrictions, train fans were kept away from a ceremony at Hualien City’s port attended by Transportation Minister Wang Kwo-tsai (王國材) and by Japan’s deputy representative in Taiwan Hoshino Mitsuaki (星野光明).
Greeting his audience in Mandarin, Taiwanese and Amis, Hoshino expressed the hope the new intercity train would help foster friendship between the two countries. Wang emphasized how electrification of the round-the-island rail network was completed last year, followed by the procurement of new trains.