Taiwan High Speed Rail(HSR) Project
Along with the development of economy, the rapid growth on transportation needs and increasing values of time has led the trend to construct high-speed rails in many countries worldwide. In Taiwan, the mileage between major cities is all within 400 kilometers. When various transport systems appear to be saturated, it is the best time to develop the high-speed transport system. As a result, our government has started aggressively to promote the High Speed Rail Project.
The line of Taiwan HSR is about 345 km in length with ten stations along it, including Taipei, Taoyuan, Hsinchu, Miaoli, Taichung, Changhua, Yunlin, Chiayi, Tainan and Kaohsiung. The average distance between these stations is about 38 km. Three stabling yards are established in Hsichih (汐止, Taipei), Wujih (烏日, Taichung) and Tsoying (左營, Kaohsiung) for trains overnight parking, cleaning and preparation. In addition, a main workshop is set up in Yentsao (燕巢, Kaohsiung); a depot is built in Hsichih and two civil/electrical engineering maintenance bases are founded in Liuchia (六家, Hsinchu) and Taipao (太保, Chiayi).
The speed on HSR is designed as 350 km per hour. Trains are designed with headway of four minutes in peak hours. The travel time is 90 minutes from Taipei to Kaohsiung, shortening 150 minutes. It is equivalent to the time consumed for taking airplanes (including the time for check-in and waiting), and is about one third or one fourth of the time needed by the existing narrow-gauge railway trains or the highway- running cars. Each HSR train has 989 seats and the line has a capacity of 300,000 seats per day, making its traffic capacity 30 times the air transportation, 4 times the narrow-gauge railway and 2.5 times the freeway.
The HSR has turned out to be the key mode of transportation in the Taiwan western corridor. It will also connect with the metropolitan MRT systems and the existing railway to shape a high-efficiency rail transit network, and to restrain the growth of private car ownership, and alleviate traffic congestion in highways and parking problems in urban areas.
Taiwan government encouraged private enterprises to participate this project in BOT mode. As a result, the Taiwan High Speed Rail Corporation (THSRC) signed the Taiwan High Speed Rail Construction and Operation Contract and Station Area Development Contract with Ministry of Transportation and Communications (MOTC) on July 23, 1998. The THSRC was thus officially authorized with a 35-year concession of HSR construction and operation and a 50-year concession of station specific zone developments.
The project was estimated to cost $16.5 billion U.S. dollars. The items committed by the government will cost $3.4 billion U.S. dollars accounting for 20.6% of the total cost. Private investment will be $13.1 billion U.S. dollars accounting for 79.4% of the total cost. Items committed by the government include land acquisition, planning, design, supervision and civil work for understructures in Taipei sections. Private investment includes civil works, stations, track work, electrical and mechanical system, maintenance bases, and financial cost.
To share the benefits with government, the THSRC promises to appropriate parts of yearly earnings to government for HSR further development and construction. The amount is 10% of the earning before tax every year during the HSR operating concession period regardless of the performace of the Concession Company. The accumulated amount cannot be less than $3.4 billion U.S. dollars.
According to the law, the Ministry of Transportation and Communication(MOTC) shall process “Supervision on completion” and “Commissioning Inspection” for the important facilities of the system before approving the system to start service . Supervision on completion of all works has been done and THSRC has amend the deficiencies that might affect safety issue before the completion of Commissioning Inspection. The MOTC has done the commissioning inspection and approved the system. The Taiwan high speed rail starts service in 5 Jan. 2007.