Travelers can start booking tickets for Taiwan Railways Administration’s (TRA) new tourist train on April 1, the railway operator said at a product launch yesterday.
Reporters were invited onboard to check out one of the new trains, which was equipped with a dining car, a lounge car and business-class train cars.
The agency started renovating the Chukuang-class train cars, which have been in use for almost 18 years, in March last year and spent about NT$79 million (US$2.56 million) to convert them into tourist train cabins, said TRA Director-General Chang Cheng-yuan (張政源), who served as conductor for the day.
Photo: Peter Lo, Taipei Times
The agency now has 20 business-class train cars, six dining cars and three lounge cars.
It is also partnering with ezTravel to market the service, Chang said.
Families and companies planning a group tour can take advantage of the tourist train service, which would fit their needs perfectly, Chang said, adding that international visitors could board the train and experience the rail tour themselves.
The train also offers other services and facilities, including charging stations for smartphones, karaoke lounges and nursing rooms.
Speaking of the agency’s diversification plans, Chang said the TRA is to set up an asset development center next month, in line with its objective to have non-railway-related businesses account for 50 percent of its revenue by 2024.
Ticket sales accounted for about 80 percent, or NT$23 billion, of its revenue last year, while non-railway related businesses contributed NT$4.56 billion, TRA data showed.
One of the agency’s recent successes is turning an old facility — the Sinfong Railway Station in Hsinchu County — into a profit-generating machine by leasing the old station building to Starbucks Coffee.
The agency is also finding other ways to better utilize its assets, such as outsourcing management of businesses at Taipei Railway Station to Breeze Center Corp under a renovate-operate-transfer business model.
Additionally, the TRA has a property in Taipei’s Nangang District (南港) that is open to bidding from interested developers, while a hotel inside New Kaohsiung Railway Station is soon to be completed.
Proposed legislation in the US outlines three conditions in which Washington would be authorized to protect Taiwan were China to invade, a report said yesterday. US Representative Ted Yoho this month said he would introduce a Taiwan Invasion Prevention Act, which would authorize US military force if China were to invade Taiwan-controlled areas, including its outlying islands. According to a version of the bill obtained by the Chinese-language Liberty Times (the sister paper of the Taipei Times), the bill lists three conditions in which a US president would be authorized to use military force to protect Taiwan: If China uses military force
The Supreme Court on Tuesday found four men guilty of attempted murder in the 2017 stabbing of Spanish surfer Ignacio Prio on a Pingtung County beach in the final ruling in the case, sentencing them to three-and-a-half to six years in prison. The defendants had appealed their convictions for attempted murder in the first and second rulings, which had also led to prison sentences ranging from three-and-a-half years to six years. The then-42-year-old Prio went to Jialeshui Beach (佳樂水) near Kenting (墾丁) on March 31, 2017, was attacked after he asked four men to remove their fishing lines from an area
Two new commuter trains are scheduled to be launched in January next year, the Taiwan Railways Administration (TRA) said yesterday. The acquisition of EMU-900 commuter train cars is part of the railway operator’s plan to replace 589 train cars that have been in operation for more than three decades. The agency has also placed orders to buy 600 intercity train cars. The first batch of 20 EMU-900 cars is to be delivered to the nation in September, although delivery might be delayed until October due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the agency said. The batch would be formed into two trains of 10
‘IMMORAL, INSINCERE’: Huang Kun-huei said that Ma was ‘distorting history’ in claiming that Lee Teng-hui laid the foundation for the so-called ‘1992 consensus’ Former Presidential Office secretary-general Huang Kun-huei (黃昆輝) on Saturday rejected former president Ma Ying-jeou’s (馬英九) claim that former president Lee Teng-hui (李登輝) had been a proponent of Beijing’s “one China” principle. Lee, who served as president from 1988 to 2000, died in Taipei on Thursday last week. After visiting the Taipei Guest House on Saturday to pay his respects to Lee, Ma posted on Facebook that “28 years ago on this day” Lee hosted a session of the now-defunct National Unification Council, during which he passed a resolution on the “one China” principle. That resolution became the basis of the Chinese Nationalist Party’s