Government to study extension of high-speed rail to Pingtung
Jan 13, 2017MarketComments Off on Government to study extension of high-speed rail to Pingtung
Taipei-The government will study the feasibility of three different options in extending the high-speed rail line to Taiwan's southernmost Pingtung County, a Bureau of High Speed Rail official said on Friday.
The bureau made the announcement after Pingtung County Magistrate Pan Meng-an (???) proposed that the high-speed rail system go beyond its final terminus of Zuoying Station in Kaohsiung to serve Pingtung and improve the country's transportation network.
The high-speed rail shares Zuoying Station with the Taiwan Railways Administration (TRA), which runs more than two dozen commuter trains between its Xinzuoying Station and the towns of Pingtung and Chaozhou in Pingtung County a day.
There are also faster Tzu-chiang express trains that go as far as Chaozhou, but they usually stop at the main Kaohsiung Station rather than Xinzuoying Station, making connections with the high-speed rail line less convenient.
In response to Pan's appeal, the bureau said it would study three options, according to Allen Hu (???), head of the bureau under the Ministry of Transportation and Communications.
The first would be to run one or two high-speed rail trains per hour to Pingtung and Chaozhou on the same route used by the TRA on slightly modified tracks.
Travel time would be similar to the roughly 32 minutes it takes Tzu-chiang express trains from Xinzuoying to Pingtung and the roughly 48 minutes needed between Zuoying and Chaozhou, said Hu, who did not provide an estimate of how much this option would cost.
The second option would be to build a separate high-speed rail track parallel to the current TRA rail line with the help of tunnels in certain spots, Hu said.
This option would cost about NT$90 billion (US$2.85 billion) and result in service 9 minutes faster to Pingtung Station than the Tzu-chiang express train, he said.
The third option would be a completely new line, which could involve demolishing and rebuilding bridges and cost more than NT$100 billion, he said.
The feasibility study will cover technical and legal issues, market demand, land acquisition, operating costs, and the project's environmental impact.
It took 18 months to finish a similar study for the current high-speed rail system before its construction, but there's no timetable for this particular study, Hu said.