The High Speed Rail bureau yesterday announced that the 345km line between Taipei and Kaohsiung is near completion, and will begin operations in October this year.
"So far, we have finished 54 percent of the overall project. But the construction [of the rail line] is 99 percent complete. The plan to launch the bullet train by October is still on track," said Ho Nuan-hsuan (
With a speed of 300kph and snaking its way through Taiwan's industrialized western plain, the giant rail line will cut travel time between Taipei and Kaohsiung down to 90 minutes.
The project, which began in 2000, employed more than 20,000 workers.
"It is a real feat. We didn't expect we would complete the project on time when we began four years ago," said Hsu Gui-lin (
The bureau and Taiwan High Speed Rail Corp (THSRC,
"We have a weephole every five meters and enough pumping systems to deal with a sudden rise in water levels," said T.C. Kao (高聰忠), vice president of the project.
Kao also said the building material can handle major earthquakes.
"We have conducted numerous tests. I am sure the [railway line] will be safe at any given moment," Ho said.
Meanwhile, faced with criticism that vibrations caused by the bullet train will affect chip manufacturing facilities at the Southern Taiwan Science Park, officials said three electronics makers in the park have taken quality control measures to avert potential problems.
According to Tai Chien (
As for United Microelectronics Corp's (
"These are just figures measured outside the factories. I know that producers in the science park will reduce the sound pressure from noise of the train on their own. All agree that these decibel levels outside the factories are acceptable," Tai added.