Thu, Oct 13, 2005 - Page 11 News List

Xin-Beitou MRT line to get a magnetic upgrade

AFP , TAIPEI

Taipei city is considering the magnetically levitated (Maglev) train system which made its debut at the recently concluded Aichi World Exposition in Japan, a subway official said yesterday.

"The evaluation of the system is positive. It may fit our needs," Tom Chang (常岐德), chief of the city's government's Department of Rapid Transit Systems (DORTS), said.

If approved, the low-noise "Linimo" system would be introduced on the "Xin Bei Tou" (新北投) line on the capital city's rapid transit system, he said.

The 1.1km-long line, which links the city's major subway system with a popular hot spring site, was inaugurated in March 1997 but its operations have since been limited because of complaints from residents living along the track.

"Because of the complaints, both the speed of the train and the number of services have been cut," Chang said.

"The magnetically levitated system seems to be the only option if the level of train noise is to be effectively controlled," Chang said.

Price negotiations with the Japanese maker are underway, Chang said, declining to give details.

Local newspapers put the price tag at around NT$800 million (US$24 million).

Chang said if everything went well, installation could begin in January.

The city council was briefed on the proposal on Tuesday and the response was positive, he said.

"Linimo" -- short for linear motor railway -- is designed to operate at an average speed of 55kph.

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