Saturday, January 29, 2011

New train improves connections between Tainan and high speed rail

from Railway Gazette Int'l

Tainan has nominally had a high speed rail station for four years, but the station is on the outskirts of town. Until this month a single bus that took at least fifty minutes from downtown Tainan was the only transit connection to the station. But that changed on January 14 when the Shalun line opened, running from Zhongzhou Station on the new Shalun Station with an additional new station at Chang Jung Christian University. Shalun Station is connected to Tainan's high speed rail station by a 34m walkway. It appears that most trains will start actually start at Tainan Main Station, although some trains will start in north Tainan County.

The line is part of plans by Taiwan's Railway Administration to use its normal speed trains to improve travel within regions and within metro areas and to help people connect with the high speed train for intercity travel. It was fairly expensive to build. In the 1990's, transportation projects in Taiwan had a tendency to spend more on corruption than actual construction. Things improved immensely during the past decade, leading to the completion of the Taipei metro and other important transportation projects. Let us hope that the high cost of this line is a hold-over from the past or a result of unusual technical difficulties, not an indication of future trends.