TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — A meeting between Transportation Minister Wang Kwo-tsai (王國材) and local politicians resulted in a high degree of consensus about the location of the future Yilan high-speed rail station, reports said Wednesday (Nov. 17).
The relative measure of agreement followed a fifth proposal from the ministry after arguments over four different earlier versions, UDN reported. The existing high-speed rail system features one line from Taipei City in the north to Kaohsiung City in the south, but plans are to extend that line from Taipei to Yilan in the northeast and from Kaohsiung to Pingtung in the far south.
Politicians in Yilan organized a visit by Wang Wednesday in order to emphasize the need for a quick decision on the issue, as they see the railway line and the new station as essential to unlock the country’s sparsely populated east coast and promote its economic development.
The latest ministry proposal moved the Yilan high-speed rail station 350 meters to the south near the Yilan County Government Building, apparently in order to avoid having trains slowing down in order to negotiate a sharp turn present in other versions, UDN reported.
The new track would also stop short of the Lanyang River, removing the need to build a bridge for the high-speed trains to reach the township of Luodong. Under the new proposal, the line would be 59.3 kilometers long and cost NT$188 billion (US$6.76 billion), according to a report by CNA.
Wang said the latest option would also leave open the possibility of extending the line further along the east coast to Hualien County south of Yilan, and eventually to Taitung County, where it could link up with the west coastline once it has been extended to Pingtung, according to some proponents.