A fully electrified South Link Line is to begin operations on Sunday, shortening the travel time between Kaohsiung and Hualien by 39 minutes.
The line along the southeastern coast and through the Huadong Valley (花東縱谷) is Taiwan’s only main railway line that is not fully electrified.
The government in 2013 began the project to electrify the line on two sections, between Chaojhou (潮州) and Fangliao (枋寮) railway stations in Pingtung County, and Fangliao and Taitung’s Jhiben (知本) stations.
The 25km section between Chaojhou and Fangliao has been in operation since December last year.
Once electrified services starts on the remaining 98km to Jhiben, the travel time for an express train from Kaohsiung to Taitung would be shortened by about 27 minutes to about two hours, whereas the travel time between Kaohsiung and Hualien would be shortened by 39 minutes to about four hours, the Taiwan Railways Administration (TRA) said.
The line’s transport capacity would increase by 7 percent on weekdays, and 13 percent on weekends and holidays, it said.
The number of diesel-powered trains operating on the line would be reduced from 36 to 18, the agency added.
Minister of Transportation and Communications Lin Chia-lung (林佳龍) and members of the Legislative Yuan’s Transportation Committee yesterday traveled to Taitung to inspect the testing of electrified trains.
Democratic Progressive Party Legislator Liu Chao-hao (劉櫂豪), who represents districts in Taitung and is one of the committee’s conveners, said that the new train link and increased transit bus services would greatly enhance the quality of tourism along the east coast.
The TRA has purchased new trains from Japan, which are scheduled to be delivered in the middle of next year, Liu said, adding that the trains would also increase travelers’ comfort.
There would be a 50 percent discount on tickets for the line’s trains from Wednesday next week to Jan. 3, Lin added.
It would now be possible to travel around the nation in about nine hours, if services by the TRA and the high-speed railway are used, and in less than 12 hours on TRA trains, Lin said.
TENSE SITUATION: If the storm does not bring rain, Taiwan might have to wait until next month amid water scarcity in the center and south, an expert said Typhoon Surigae is to bring rain to the nation’s east coast and mountainous areas in central and southern Taiwan from Wednesday to Friday, the Central Weather Bureau (CWB) said yesterday. As of 2pm yesterday, the typhoon’s center was 1,170km southeast of Oluanpi (鵝鑾鼻), Taiwan’s southernmost tip. The radius of the storm was 280km, and it was moving northwest at 9kph, with a maximum wind speed of 198kph. The bureau forecasts that the storm would switch to a northerly direction when approaching the east coast of Luzon Island in the Philippines on Wednesday, CWB forecaster Lin Ding-yi (林定宜) said, adding that Surigae would
SEEKING CLARITY: Some members of the US delegation asked KMT legislators in a meeting to address their party’s position on the so-called ‘1992 consensus,’ sources said A US delegation tasked by US President Joe Biden to reaffirm the country’s commitment to its partnership with Taiwan yesterday wrapped up a three-day visit to Taipei. Former US senator Chris Dodd, former US deputy secretaries of state Richard Armitage and James Steinberg, and US Department of State Office of Taiwan Coordination Director Dan Biers departed at 11:20am on a private jet. The members of the delegation, all friends of Biden, arrived on Wednesday and met with President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文), Premier Su Tseng-chang (蘇貞昌) and other government officials. During the three-day visit, the delegation also met with six members of the Legislative
Taipei’s street names should reflect a “Taiwanese spirit,” Taipei Mayor Ko Wen-je (柯文哲) said in an online video released yesterday, in which he asked why many of them are named after locations in China. In a three-minute video uploaded to a Facebook page called “Taiwanese Uncle Ko Wen-je” (台灣阿北柯文哲), the mayor suggested changing the names of Taipei streets. The page’s banner was a photograph of Ko on Jade Mountain’s (玉山) main peak. The page was closed at about noon, about four hours after it was made public. Ko said that street names in the capital named “Ningxia,” “Tibet,” “Beiping” — an old name for
‘AN EXCUSE’: The intent of Beijing’s incursions was ‘intimidation and coercion,’ a senior US official said, adding that China was using the US to justify its actions Chinese carrier drills and stepped-up incursions into Taiwan’s air defense identification zone in the past few weeks are meant to send a message to Washington to stand down and back off, security sources in Taipei said. The increased activity — which China, unusually, described as “combat drills” on Wednesday — has raised alarm in both Taipei and Washington, although security officials do not see it as a sign of an imminent attack. Rather, at least some of the exercises are practicing “access denial” maneuvers to prevent foreign forces from coming to Taipei’s defense in a war, one official familiar with Taiwan’s security