The Puyuma Express train will be launched on Feb. 6, the Taiwan Railways Administration (TRA) said yesterday.
TRA transportation department chief Du Wei (杜微) said testing of the first set of the new tilting train was nearly complete.
He said the train would be used to transport passengers heading to the east coast for the Lunar New Year holiday, adding that the second set was still under testing.
Each train consists of eight carriages, he said.
The first service is scheduled to depart from Shulin (樹林) Train Station at 9:40am on Feb. 6. The train will enable the TRA to add 56 trains during the nine-day holiday and provide an additional 2,000 seats daily.
Du said cabins No. 4 and No. 5 offer eight sets of table seats, with each accommodating four passengers. Two of the four passengers at the table seats would have to sit facing opposite the direction in which the train is heading.
Du said those wishing to buy tickets for the table seats must purchase four tickets at a time, adding that the TRA only accepts orders online or at station ticket counters.
“The seating arrangement in the cabins makes it easier for friends or family members to talk each other or play poker,” Du said. “Some people might feel uncomfortable if they sit next to or face a stranger the whole journey.”
However, Du said the TRA would accept orders from non-group travelers if there were still seats left in these two cabins within three days before departure.
Those heading to the east coast during the holiday can start booking tickets on Tuesday next week.
To ease congestion at peak hours, the TRA also announced it will offer four night express services on Feb. 7, Feb. 8, Feb. 15 and Feb. 16.
On Feb. 7 and Feb. 8, the night train will depart from Shulin at 11:28pm and arrive at Hualien at 2:35am.
The trains running on Feb. 15 and Feb. 16 will depart from Hualien at 11pm and arrive in Shulin at 1:50am.
Passengers taking the night trains will get a 30 percent discount, the TRA said.