The Ministry of Transportation and Communications (MOTC) has budgeted approximately NT$6.1 billion (US$185.9 million) to renovate train stations from Hualien to Kaohsiung and to provide facilities for cyclists at some of the stations.
Railway Reconstruction Bureau (RRB) Deputy Director-General Chou Yung-hui (周永暉) said yesterday renovations would be made at 29 train stations between Hualien and Taitung.
“We have also identified Sincheng (新城), Hualien, Shoufeng (壽豐), Ruisuei (瑞穗), Yuli (玉里), Kuanshan (關山) and Taitung as having ‘classic’ stations, because they are close to some of the famous scenic routes along the East Coast,” Chou said.
Sincheng, for example, was chosen because it is the closest station to Taroko Gorge, he said.
Chou said that renovations at the seven “classic” stations would focus on incorporating the imagery of the nearby tourist attractions. As a large number of bicyclists are expected to use these stations, Chou said that the infrastructure might need some changes to make life easier for them.
“In the future, bicyclists will be able to repair their bikes, check out information online and take showers at these seven stations,” Chou said. “There will be escalators or elevators inside the stations to help them carry their bikes. The stations could also be given a special exit for bikers only.”
“There will also be a bicycle rental service inside the stations,” he said.
Chou said that to increase the overall efficiency of the railway system, the bureau is planning to spend NT$2.5 billion building a 5km railway overpass connecting Hualien and Jian (吉安).
Hualien and Jian are currently connected by a single-track railway system.
Chou said the renovation project would be partially funded by the Executive Yuan’s budget for investment in public infrastructure.
About NT$3.76 billion is expected from the bureau’s annual construction project.
The bureau plans to start the renovations in May and the entire project is scheduled to be completed by 2014.
Renovations at the stations in Kuanshan and Sincheng are scheduled to be completed by next year.