From Essolo，CC BY 2.0
Taipei, April 11 (CNA) The Cabinet-level National Development Council (NDC) on Tuesday approved a feasibility study on the construction of a 37.72-kilometer railway line to Hengchun Township in Taiwan's southernmost Pingtung County.
The railway will be built from Neishi Station in Pingtung County's Fangshan Township and include the building of seven new stations -- New Fangshan, Fenggang, Zhukeng, Haikou, Checheng, Wuliting and Hengchun, according to the study.
After completion of the new railway line, an express train from Xinzuoying Station, the southern terminus of Taiwan's bullet train (high-speed rail), to the planned Hengchun Station, from where it is about 10km to Kenting National Park at the southern tip of Taiwan, will take 90 minutes, while regular trains will take about two hours and 21 minutes.
About 8 million people visit Kenting National Park every year, according to the NDC.
Wen Tai-hsin (溫代欣), an official at the Railway Reconstruction Bureau under the Ministry of Transportation and Communications, said the proposed service would provide one train per hour during weekdays and two trains every hour on weekends and holidays.
The railway will initially be a single-track line, said Wen.
The estimated cost of the project is about NT$19.9 billion (US$649.48 million) with the earliest date of operation being June 2026, according to the study.
(By Chen Cheng-wei and Kuo Chung-han)