Songshan Line opening today

By Abraham Gerber  /  Staff reporter

Sat, Nov 15, 2014 - Page 1

The Taipei MRT’s newly completed Songshan Line is an important addition to the capital’s transportation network, as it provides more transfer options, Taipei Mayor Hau Lung-bin (郝龍斌) said at the line’s inauguration ceremony yesterday.

Under construction since 2006, the line was originally scheduled to open last year, but was held up by the discovery of a Qing Dynasty-period archeological site near the line’s Beimen Station, Taipei’s Department of Rapid Transit Systems said.

President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九), Hau and other dignitaries yesterday toured displays of the discovered artifacts within Beimen Station, before stepping into an MRT train for a ride to the line’s Songshan terminal station.

“To maximize the ease of transferring between lines, Taipei’s MRT system was designed around three horizontal and vertical lines, with Songshan the final horizontal line,” Hau said, adding that with the opening, the city’s core MRT network is now completed.

With the exception of the airport MRT line being constructed by the Taiwan High Speed Rail Corp (台灣高鐵) to connect Taipei Main Station to Taiwan Taoyuan International Airport, all new lines called for in city plans would boast only a “medium level” passenger capacity, a step below the “high level” capacity of most of Taipei’s current lines, the department said.

Meanwhile, Hau clarified earlier remarks suggesting that Taipei independent mayoral candidate Ko Wen-je (柯文哲) winning the Nov. 29 election would lead to chaos in plans for the development of Greater Taipei’s public transportation system.

Hau, a member of the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT), said that a non-KMT mayor might have trouble communicating effectively with the mayors of New Taipei City and Keelung, calling on all candidates to state clearly their position on planned future MRT lines linking the three cities.

The Songshan Line is an extension of the Xindian Line, running through eight stations, most of them parallel to Nanjing E Road: Ximen, Beimen, Zhongshan, Songjiang Nanjing, Nanjing Fuxing, Taipei Arena, Nanjing Sanmin and Songshan.

With the opening of the extension, trains will no longer run directly between the Xindian and Tamsui stations.

Four stations along the line connect with other MRT lines: Ximen to the Bannan Line, Zhongshan Station to the Tamsui-Xinyi Line, Songjiang Nanjing Station to the Zhonghe-Xinlu Line, the newly renamed Nanjing Fuxing Station (formerly Nanjing East Road Station) to the Wenhu Line, as well as Songshan Station to the Taiwan Railways Administration’s Songshan Station.

The Songshan Line is to start service at 6am today, allowing free travel for EasyCard holders for one month, the Taipei City government said.

Additional reporting by CNA