A planned tram-train rail system between Keelung and Taipei’s Nangang District (南港) is likely to span 19km and have nine stations, the Ministry of Transportation and Communications said on Friday.
The system would use existing Taiwan Railway’s Administration (TRA) tracks and stations, Railway Reconstruction Bureau Secretary-General Wen Tai-hsin (溫代欣) said in a briefing to President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) on the proposed project.
The project is aimed at extending Taipei’s railway system to Keelung with a light-rail line, making travel between Taipei and Keelung easier and giving commuters more options.
“The Democratic Progressive Party [DPP] government is determined to bring the MRT [Taipei Mass Rapid Transit] to Keelung,” Tsai said during the meeting.
The MRT already connects Taipei with Taiwan Taoyuan International Airport, Tsai said, adding that the new tram line would connect Keelung with Taipei, New Taipei City and Taoyuan.
Trams would depart every 20 minutes during off-peak hours, according to the proposal.
The TRA already runs up to three trains per hour between Taipei and Nangang during off-peak periods and, if the proposed system goes ahead, there would be six trains every hour between the two destinations.
The commute time between the two terminal stations is expected be between 30 and 40 minutes.
Passenger capacity between Keelung and Taipei can also be increased with the new system, Wen said.
The Keelung tram system would be built using a European light-rail system that has a capacity of 400 passengers and a top speed of 70kph, he said, with stations and carriage designs to be based on the MRT system, DPP Legislator Tsai Shih-ying (蔡適應) said.
“The Keelung tram would have new stations and new tracks, but some would overlap with the TRA’s existing structures,” he said.
A new transit terminal would be built in Taipei so that commuters arriving from Keelung can easily transfer to the MRT.
The project is expected to cost more than NT$8 billion (US$261.22 million) and could become operational by 2022.
Wen said ticket prices have not been set because construction plans are yet to be finalized.