Kaohsiung light rail may not begin as planned
Taiwan’s first light rail system, located in Kaohsiung, might not be able to start trial operations by the end of August as more tests and paperwork are needed, city officials said Friday.
It might take another month for system operators to go through further reviews in order to apply for final approval from the Transport Ministry, said Chen Horngyih, the city’s deputy secretarygeneral a day earlier.
A 13 member review board organized by the Kaohsiung City Government examined the tram line in early August and found 21 issues that must be addressed before the southern Taiwan city can reach the next stage for light rail operation.
The issues involve platform and corner designs at the stations, as well as further checks on traffic signals at crossroads.
An approaching Typhoon Goni could be another factor delaying related procedures, officials said.
Kaohsiung began construction of the first phase of its light rail system, which will run on a circular route, in June 2013.
The first phase of the project, which cost NT$ 16.54 billion (US$522.45 million), includes an 8.7-kilometer tram line built along the Kaohsiung Harbor and 14 stops.
The light rail system, the first to enter service in Taiwan, has been designed and built by Spanish company Construcciones y Auxiliar de Ferrocarriles, S.A. and runs with no wires above the trams.
New Taipei is also building a light rail system, after breaking ground on the system in Danshui Township in September 2014.
Railway Electrification Brings
Travel time by train between Pingtung and Chaozhou is expected to be cut by 15 minutes starting Sunday, making it easier for residents in Pingtung County to commute to Kaohsiung.
The Chaozhou project involves a 19-kilometer-long rail line from Pingtung station to Chaozhou station, and the objective of the project is to expand the PingtungChaozhou route into an electrified double track line, according to the Railways Reconstruction Bureau, the agency responsible for the project.
The railway between Pingtung main station and Chaozhou station is also elevated enabling traffic around the stations to flow more smoothly, where 24 level crossings and six underpasses and overpasses will be eliminated, said the bureau.
With the completion of the project, travel time from Pingtung station to Chaozhou station will be trimmed down from 34 minutes to 19 minutes.
Commuting between Kaohsiung and Pingtung will be made easier as trains will run every ten minutes on a daily basis, added the bureau.
Tung A-cheng, Pingtung station’s station agent, said that while the line will open on Sunday, the double track will not open before next Wednesday as the track switchover has to be completed first, and major schedule changes will be made in October.
A view of the Pingtung Train Station is shown, yesterday. Taiwan Railways Administration said its Pingtung-Chaojhou ( ) double-track electrification project is nearing completion and should be ready for passengers on Aug. 23. It will trim travel time from Pingtung Station to Chaozhou Station from 34 to 19 minutes, according to the Taiwan Railways Administration.