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Taiwan High Speed Rail Corp. turns away from Japanese train suppliers

Company reportedly looking at European alternatives

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Taiwan is reportedly turning away from Japan to look at new high-speed train suppliers. 

Taiwan is reportedly turning away from Japan to look at new high-speed train suppliers.  (CNA photo)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — The Taiwan High Speed Rail Corporation (THSRC) is turning to alternative suppliers as prices quoted by Japanese companies for new trains are “unreasonable,” CNA reported Saturday (March 5).

At a board meeting last week, THSRC reportedly made the decision to seek a supplier outside Japan, though it did not confirm or deny reports that it's looking for new trains in Europe. Countries manufacturing high-speed trains include France, Germany, Spain, Italy, Canada, and China, though the latter has already been excluded as a possibility, according to CNA.

The Taiwanese company is in the process of evaluating the technology, handling, repair, and financial details of potential suppliers. The transition from Japanese to European systems is an important point of discussion but does not pose any grave issues, officials said, naming the example of the Taipei MRT's Wenhu Line, which switched from trains supplied by France's Matra to Canada's Bombardier without problems.

The THSRC’s current 34 trains were made in Japan by Kawasaki Heavy Industries, Nippon Sharyo, and Hitachi, Ltd. with adaptations to suit Taiwan’s climate, environment, and regulations.