TAIWAN’s governing Executive Yuan has officially approved construction of the Taipei MRT Circular Line East Section, an important phase helping to achieve the city government’s vision of a 49.3km circular railway around the capital.

Crossing both Taipei City and New Taipei City, construction of the MRT Circular Line has been divided into four sections: Phase 1, which opened in January 2020, the Phase 2 South Section, the Phase 2 North Section and the Phase 2 East Section. A groundbreaking ceremony for the Circular Line Phase 2 North Section was co-hosted by Taipei City mayor, Mr Chiang Wa-an, and his New Taipei City counterpart, Mr Hou You-yi on March 18.

The government decision to approve the East Section came 11 days later on March 29 and the Department of Rapid Transit Systems (Dorts) says construction of the 13.25km link will cost $NT 102.49bn ($US 3.36bn). Detailed design work is expected to begin soon, with construction likely to begin within two years and be completed within nine-and-a-half years.

Dorts adds that the section will have a total of 10 underground stations. This will include interchange stations with four other MRT lines and the line is expected to alleviate traffic bottlenecks at Neihu Technology Park.

The East Section will also share approximately 15% of the maximum inter-station traffic volume with the Wenhu line. It is estimated that the travel time from Xiangshan station to Neihu Technology Park will be reduced from 32 minutes to 14 minutes and to 12 minutes from Shilin to the technology park compared with 39 minutes previously.

An aerial view of a train negotiating an elevated section of the already operational part of the Taipei MRT Circular Line. Photo credit: Shutterstock/Chen Min Chun

The East Section will begin at Jiannan Road on the Circular Line North Section. After crossing Jingye 3rd Road and running along Lequn 2nd Road, the line will turn onto Ruiguang Road before turning west into Yangguang Street. After crossing Highway 1, it will enter Jiuzong Road and pass the Chengmei Bridge before running from Nangang Road to an interchange with the Songshang-Xindian line at Taiwan Railways’ Songshan station. Next it will cross Songshan Road to an interchange with the Bannan Line at Yongchun station. After following Songde Road, it will then pass Xingya Junior High School and Bo Ai Elementary School, before turning onto Songren Road and reaching an interchange with the Tamsui-Xinyi Line at Xiangshan station. The East Section line next continues south through Highway 3 Jia Wanfang Interchange and crosses the Jingmei River to reach Xinguang Road, connecting with the Circular Line South Section at Taipei Zoo.

According to Dorts, after the Circular Line’s East, North and South sections are completed, and combined already operational Circular Line Phase I, the line will have 14 interchanges with other metro, light rail, Taiwan Railways mainline and Taiwan High Speed Rail lines, as well as connecting with 16 radiating MRT routes.

For detailed data on metro projects in Asia and around the world, subscribe to IRJ Pro.