Mon, Jun 08, 2015 - Page 3 News List

Bureau makes case for direct Taipei-Yilan line

By Shelley Shan  /  Staff reporter

The Railway Reconstruction Bureau (RRB) yesterday said a straight rail line connecting Taipei and Yilan was urgently needed as the current railway would only be able to handle 40 percent of passenger demand by 2031.

The section between Nangang and Cidu (七堵) on the Taipei-Yilan Railway is a bottleneck that is preventing efforts to increase passenger traffic along the east coast, the bureau said, adding that the section serves not only Keelung-Taipei commuters, but passengers traveling between the west and east coasts too.

There is no room for additional services along the Nangang-Cidu section during peak hours, which limits the number of trains that can be added to the current schedule.

The passenger load between the west and east coasts during holidays is expected to rise from about 145,000 per day at present to about 251,000 in 2031.

If nothing is done to ease the bottleneck, then three out of five passengers will board an east coast train without a confirmed seat —or about 1.49 million passengers a year, the bureau said.

A straight Taipei-to Yilan line could ease holiday traffic congestion on the Chiang Wei-shui Memorial Freeway (Freeway No. 5), it said. At present, driving from Taipei to Yilan on the freeway takes 110 minutes on holidays, the bureau said. With more tourists headed to the east coast during holidays, drivers could spend up to 150 minutes on the freeway, while local roads in Yilan and Jiaosi (礁溪) would become gigantic parking lots, it said.

The bureau wants to build a 53km-long rail line from Taipei’s Nangang District (南港) to Toucheng (頭城) in Yilan County, which would require new stations at Shuangsi (雙溪) and Wushi Harbor (烏石港) and renovations to theee existing stations.

The bureau is drafting its plan for the proposed line, which is due by the end of this month.

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