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Rail connection to Tainan HSR station opens

2011/01/02 17:15:21

Taipei, Jan. 2 (CNA) The Shalun Branch Rail Line, which will cuttravel time between Tainan City and the high speed railway's TainanStation, opened Sunday, making connections to the station locatedsoutheast of the city more convenient.

Prior to the line's opening, the only public transportationoption for people in Tainan City who wanted to take the bullet trainwas a shuttle bus that took at least 50 minutes to get to thestation, located in a sparsely populated area southeast of the city.

Traffic jams in downtown Tainan at peak hours can make thejourney even longer, but the Taiwan Railway Administration (TRA) saidits new line would take the uncertainty out of the trip.

The spur line, which runs from the TRA's Zhongzhou Station to thenew Shalun Station next to the Tainan high speed rail station, willreduce travel time between Tainan City and the high speed rail stopto roughly 21 minutes.

There will be 70 shuttles running on the new line every day toensure smooth connections.

The oneway fare between Tainan City and Shalun Station will beNT$25, while the fare between the Zhongzhou Station and ShalunStation will be NT$15.

The TRA's first new branch in 30 years, the 6.52 kilometer Shalunline will help refresh the image of the nation's century-old railwaynetwork, said TRA Kaohsiung Transportation Branch Chief Lai Tai-yuan.

"The top-notch Intelligent Transport Systems our cars haveadopted allow passengers to get a sense of where they are while onthe move," Lai said.

Instant transfer information will be displayed through the LCDmonitors onboard, a passenger-friendly service similar to Tokyo'sYamanote Line, Lai said.

"The design on the train and on the platform is very neat, verydifferent from my impression of the TRA, " said Lisa Tai, a railwayfan who traveled Sunday from the Southern Taiwan Science Park Stationnorth of Tainan City to Shalun Station.

In addition to four colorful-painted trains featuring Tainan'snatural environment, the Shalun Line project included renovations tothe Zhongzhou Station and the addition of two new elevated stationsat Chang Jung Christian University and Shalun.

The TRA said that passengers can take the trains for free fromJan. 2 to Jan. 15.

According to the Railway Reconstruction Bureau, a similartransfer line between the high speed rail's Hsinchu Station anddowntown Hsinchu will also be available in October through the TRA'sexisting Neiwan Branch Line in Hsinchu County.

(By Lee Hsin-Yin)