The first set of tilting trains arrived at the port of Keelung from Japan yesterday morning. The trains are to be used to serve passengers on the East Coast Line after three months of testing.
The new tilting train, named the “Puyuma Express,” is scheduled to be operational before the Lunar New Year holiday next year.
“Puyuma” means “united” in the language of Taitung County’s tribe of the same name. The name was chosen after the Taitung County Government and the Taiwan Railway Administration (TRA) launched a contest to name the new train.
The 16 train cars that arrived yesterday drew the attention of railway enthusiasts, who had waited at the pier before the ship arrived to capture the historic moment with their cameras.
The body of the new train car is mainly white, with red lines on the side of the car, as well as on the front of the locomotive. The red lines symbolize the totems of the nation’s Aboriginal tribes.
The railway service’s brand “TRA” is presented in cursive writing on the side of the train.
TRA Director-General Frank Fan (范植谷) said the new tilting train was built using an aluminum alloy and is equipped with seats that allow passengers to sit face-to-face, with a table in between them. Mothers and disabled passengers can access nursery rooms and multiple-use toilets on the trains.
Fan said the remaining 120 train cars are scheduled to be delivered by the end of next year. They could all be used to transport passengers during the Lunar New Year holiday in 2014, he said.
The TRA said the Puyuma Express could reach a maximum operating speed of 150kph, which would make it faster than the Taroko Express, the TRA’s existing tilting-train service.
With more new tilting trains and the electrification of the East Coast Line, the administration estimates that the line’s capacity will greatly expand in 2014, adding that the number of trains services to Hualien and Taitung could increase by more than 10 a day.