Train commuters between Taipei and Keelung can expect enjoy faster service after the system expands the railroad tracks between Nangang (南港) in Taipei and Cidu (七堵) in Keelung from a double-track to a triple-track system.
Taiwan Railway Administration (TRA) Director-General Frank Fan (范植谷) said that at present, all southbound trains on the west coast depart from Cidu and all eastbound trains via the North Link on the northeast coast depart from Shulin (樹林) in New Taipei City (新北市).
Both southbound and eastbound trains have to go through the Nangang-Cidu section, making it difficult to deploy additional train services during peak hours, he said.
Expanding the double-track system to a triple-track system would increase the capacity for trains in the Nangang-Cidu section. The addition of a third track could help shorten the intervals between trains, lower the waiting time for passengers and reduce the number of train delays.
It had estimated that the expansion project could be completed by December next year, at a cost of about NT$2.74 billion (US$94.57 million).
“The goal is that trains can be dispatched every 10 minutes during peak hours between Taipei and Keelung,” Fan said.
The TRA has ordered 296 EMU800-Model train coaches to meet increasing demand for commuter train services, which are scheduled to be delivered to Taiwan in September next year, Fan said, adding that passengers commuting between Taipei and Keelung could start boarding the new trains in March 2013.
At present, trains operating between Taipei and Keelung are dispatched every 14 minutes on average. The Tzuchiang-class express trains complete the journey from Taipei to Keelung in 39 minutes.
The triple track system could allow the TRA to increase the number of commuter trains and reduce the interval from 14 minutes to 10 minutes. The travel time for passengers of the Tzuchiang-class express trains would also be decreased from 39 minutes to 35 minutes, the TRA said.
Meanwhile, train commuters can soon start boarding the trains at Fujhou (浮洲) station in New Taipei City, which is scheduled to become operational by the end of this month. Fujhou is one the train stations that the TRA has planned to install in the nation’s four largest metropolitan areas to improve service.
Aside from Fujhou, the TRA is planning to add Jhangshuwan (樟樹灣) station in Sijhih (汐止), five new commuter stations in Greater Taichung, two more in Greater Tainan and five more in Greater Kaohsiung.