The Taiwan Railways Administration (TRA) said it is to begin a 10-year plan to overhaul its fleet by phasing out old trains and purchasing new ones.
The agency said it plans to spend about NT$107.7 billion (US$3.43 billion) on acquiring 1,307 new cars.
It said that by 2024, it will have purchased 127 locomotives, 600 carriages for its intercity train service, 520 cars for commuter trains and 60 cars for diesel-powered trains.
At present it has about 2,200 train cars, one-fifth of which have been in service for more than 30 years. Some of the Chukuang-class train cars have been in use for more than 40 years, it said.
The overwhelming number of old trains presents challenges to both its operation and to maintenance work, the TRA said.
On average, the TRA serves more than 600,000 passengers per day, and some of the old trains must be used to ensure that it has enough capacity to meet the daily demand, the agency said.
The TRA said it plans to buy the new trains as a one-time acquisition, although delivery will be spread out over a 10-year period.
As the new trains enter service, some of the older cars used for Tzuchiang-class or the Chukuang-class express trains will be decommissioned, the railway said.
The new trains will be able to meet demand on the rail line connecting Hualien and Taitung after the TRA completes construction of a dual-track system, the agency said.
The higher-horsepower engines of the new trains should help improve punctuality of the system, the TRA added.
It only plans to buy 45 locomotives for diesel-power trains because the South Link Railway is scheduled to be completely electrified in 2020, the agency said.
Under its previous purchasing program, launched in 2001, the TRA spent NT$35.97 billion on 184 intercity cars and 428 commuter cars, with the final cars to be delivered in July.
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