The travel time between Taipei and Taitung could be shortened to three-and-a-half hours after more Puyuma Express trains enter service and the railway line between Hualien and Taitung is electrified, Taiwan Railways Administration (TRA) officials said yesterday.
Railway Reconstruction Bureau Director-General Chou Yung-hui (周永暉) said the electrified Hualien-Taitung line is scheduled to be opened by the end of June, adding that testing of service on the line would begin next month and go on for about three months.
TRA Transportation Department head Du Wei (杜微) said the 17 Puyuma Express tilting trains could go straight from Taipei to Taitung.
Since Taitung-bound passengers will no longer need to switch to diesel-powered trains at the Hualien Railway Station, the estimated travel time between Taipei and Taitung would drop from four-and-a-half hours to three-and-a-half.
TRA’s schedule is to be overhauled in July to reflect the addition of the new trains, Du said.
“Travelers from Taipei can expect a Puyuma Express train to Hualien every 30 minutes during peak hours, including Friday evening, Saturday morning and Sunday afternoon,” he said.
The interval for Tzuchiang-class express trains, the top class, during non-peak hours could also be reduced, from 37 minutes to 30 minutes, he said.
TRA officials said the number of the Tzuchiang-class trains to Taitung could be increased from 14 per day to 20 on weekdays and 25 on weekends after the electrification project is completed.
The railway administration’s transport capacity to Hualien will be raised by 23 percent to 25 percent, while that to Taitung will go up by 13 percent to 40 percent.
The Puyuma Express tilting train service between Taipei and Hualien began on Feb. 6 last year.
Additional reporting by staff writer