Sat, Jan 06, 2007 - Page 1 News List

High speed rail commences operations

EXCITEMENT Ticket sales problems notwithstanding, public interest in the nation's first bullet train was high, while a protest in Taichung nearly turned into a physical clash

By Jessie Ho and Jackie Lin  /  STAFF REPORERS

Foundation chairman Cheng Jen-hung (程仁宏) expressed regret over the protest, saying that it was a pity to see their "soft persuasion" efforts tainted by political color.

Cheng said that in consideration of its volunteers, the foundation would halt its on-site persuasion and launch a second-stage activity by collecting consumers' endorsement on the Internet.

"After gathering the public's opinions, we'll visit the Minister of Transportation and Communications soon to express our opinion and demand that the government clarify safety guarantee regulations for passengers," he said.

Still, the presence of a French driver, Patrick Poulenas, controlling the Japanese-designed bullet train yesterday reflected the checkered history of the project, first conceived in the 1990s and based on the Eurotrain of Alstom-Siemens. But in 1998 THSRC -- reportedly on the order of then-president Lee Teng-hui (李登輝) -- awarded the core contract to Japan's Taiwan Shinkansen Consortium to design the trains, as well as the signalling, electrification, and control systems.

Poulenas and his 39 compatriots, along with 13 German drivers operate the trains, but THSRC hopes local drivers will replace them within 18 months.

Additional reporting by AFP

also see story:

Editorial: Here's to a safe rail system

This story has been viewed 13230 times.

Comments will be moderated. Keep comments relevant to the article. Remarks containing abusive and obscene language, personal attacks of any kind or promotion will be removed and the user banned. Final decision will be at the discretion of the Taipei Times.

TOP top