Airport rail line behind schedule

By Shelley Shan  /  Staff reporter

Fri, Feb 22, 2013 - Page 3

The long-awaited Taoyuan airport rail line might not be launched in October as scheduled because of delays in the installation of mechanical systems, the Bureau of High Speed Rail said yesterday.

The bureau initially planned to launch the service in June. The contractor for the mechanical systems later applied for an extension to the deadline, with the bureau agreeing to extend the deadline to October.

However, asked if the service would be launched on schedule, Bureau of High Speed Rail Director-General Chu Shu (朱旭) said that making it operational this year “would be a challenge.”

The bureau said the installation of the mechanical system was behind schedule by about 8.9 percent and that it would be difficult to complete the task and have it pass safety inspections by October.

Should the contractor fail to meet the deadline, it would face a fine of NT$12.5 million (US$421,000) per day based on the terms stated in the contract, the bureau said.

Bureau Deputy Director-General Chang Wu-Hsun (張武訓) said the bureau had already allowed the contractor to extend the deadline once.

He said that the contractor would need to provide substantial evidence that it could not to be blamed for the delay if it decided to apply for another extension.

The rail line is about 51km in length, from Taipei Railway Station to Huanbei Station (環北站) in Jhongli (中壢) which is close to the Taoyuan airport.

Meanwhile, the bureau confirmed that the Council of Economic Planning and Development last month approved a light rail project in New Taipei City’s (新北市) Tamsui District (淡水), adding that the construction would begin as soon as the Executive Yuan approves the project.

Based on the bureau’s plans, there would be two light rail routes in the district — the Green Mountain Line (綠山線) and the Blue Sea Line (藍海線).

The construction would be carried out in two stages.

The route in the first stage of construction would span 9.55km, including the entire Green Mountain Line and four stations on the Blue Sea Line. Construction in the second stage would involve a light rail route of 4.44km which covers the remaining six stations on the Blue Sea Line.

The bureau added that the first stage of construction is scheduled to be completed six years after the construction is approved by the Executive Yuan.

Construction of the second stage would be completed 11 years after the approval is issued.

The cost of the rail line is estimated to top NT$15.3 billion, which would be co-funded by the Ministry of the Interior and the New Taipei City Government, the bureau said.