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August 09, 2011

Taiwan considers direct Taipei - Toucheng link

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TAIWAN's Railway Reconstruction Bureau (RRB) has submitted two route proposals to the government for a direct line between Taipei and Toucheng on the island's east coast.
At present Taiwan Railway Administration (TRA) services from Taipei to east coast cities run northeast from the capital through New Taipei City and Rueifang, before following the Pacific coast south towards Toucheng.

Under the first option, which would cost at least $NT 50.6bn ($US 1.74bn), the line would follow a direct alignment inland from the Nangang district of Taipei, shortening the route from 72km to 39km and cutting Taroko Express journey times from 59 minutes to 33 minutes. The second option would take the line through Dasi in Yilan County and is less costly at $NT 39.6bn, but would be 49km long and offers a journey time of 39 minutes.

According to the RRB, the first option would encounter difficult groundwater and geological conditions, which could be avoided by routing the line through Dasi. It will be at least 15 months before plans for either alignment can be submitted for an environmental impact assessment, and construction could take up to 11 years.

The RRB has prepared an alternative plan to upgrade the coastal line for higher speeds. This would cost around $NT 34bn, but would reduce the length of the line by only 12km and journey times by 12-16 minutes.

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