The Central Japan Railway Co plans to provide Taiwan High Speed Rail Corp (THSRC, 台灣高鐵) with technology to aid the running of its bullet-train operations, including earthquake response measures, Japanese media reported yesterday.
The companies will sign a contract within the next few months, Kyodo news agency said, quoting sources close to the matter.
Central Japan Railway is considering giving the Taiwanese firm its know-how on disaster control, as well as on the maintenance and inspection of train cars, tracks and signals, Kyodo said.
Japanese train firms, facing the risk of massive earthquakes, have introduced cutting-edge systems to automatically control operations in case of major quakes.
It will be the first time that the Japanese company strikes such a deal with a railway company abroad, it said.
Taiwan has been using bullet trains based on a Japanese model, marking Japan’s first successful export of its high-speed trains.
In response, THSRC spokesman Ted Chia (賈先德) said that in the long run, “it is a positive direction” to collaborate with Central Japan Railway in upgrading technologies and exporting the bullet-train system to countries like the US, Brazil and Vietnam, which is the Japanese firm’s goal.
Last year, THSRC, which operates the nation’s only high-speed rail line, reached consensus with Central Japan Railway to take the high-speed rail system overseas.
This was possible because THSRC was the first company outside Japan that adopted the Japanese firm’s bullet-train system, and the company has proven that the system works very well, Chia said.
However, “no further progress has been made,” Chia said.
“It will be premature to talk about signing a commercial technology license agreement with Central Japan Railway,” Chia said by telephone.
THSRC has been successfully running bullet-train systems for years, including Central Japan Railway’s disaster warning system and automatic train control system, Chia said.
Focusing on its home business, the board of THSRC last year approved a plan to buy 48 new cars for ￥18.39 billion (US$194.51 million) from Japan’s Kawasaki Heavy Industries Ltd and Toshiba, to boost bullet-train passenger capacity.
The company said passenger traffic rose 12.7 percent in 2011 from the previous year, and three new stations will join the high-speed rail system within the next few years.
Twenty-four cars have arrived for testing before starting operation in the second half of the year. The remaining cars will be delivered next year and in 2015, Chia said.
THSRC said it is the norm for the company to exchange talents and operational experience.
THSRC made a net profit of NT$1.68 billion (US$56.22 billion) in the first six months of last year, after turning its first profit in 2011, during which it had NT$5.78 billion in net income. The high-speed rail operator launched its service in 2007.