(Photo courtesy of the New Taipei City government)
Taipei, Sept. 20 (CNA) The goal of the project for a light rail system serving New Taipei's Tamsui District is to upgrade Taiwan's rail industry by building trains locally for the new rail system, the city's Department of Rapid Transit Systems said Tuesday.
Simon Chao (趙紹廉), head of the department, said that an upgrading of technical knowhow is the key to producing home-grown light rail trains.
It is not easy to push for the first local program to build such vehicles, he said, adding that challenges include the transfer of technology in the European design of cars, and tremendous coordination between the Taiwanese contractor and its European partner.
The Danhai light rail project is being carried out by Taiwan Rolling Stock Co. in Hsinchu County, in partnership with the Germany-based Voith Engineering Services, which is providing services in various sectors, including transportation and automation. The two companies have been commissioned to design, manufacture and test the rail system.
The model will help the Taiwanese company to learn the design and system integration abilities from the German company, the department said.
The transfer of technology will help domestic companies to establish a self-reliant rail industry and a supply chain of relevant parts and components, and will help cultivate more talent in the sector, it added.
For many years, Taiwan has relied on foreign companies to establish rail systems throughout the country, which has resulted in high costs of component procurements and maintenance, the department said.
In order to help upgrade the local railway industry, the project was contracted to a Taiwanese company and a foreign company responsible for the design of the carriages, the department said.
According to the initial plan, the bodies of the carriages, seats, air-conditioning, and lighting systems will be manufactured in Taiwan, it said, adding that the trains will be assembled in Taiwan.
The tram system's first phase encompasses 14 stops on two tram lines -- the Lushan (Green Mountain) Line, which has 11 stops, and the Lanhai (Blue Seaside) Line, which has three stops.
The Lushan Line starts from the Hongshulin metro station and runs along Zhongzheng East Road, Provincial Highway No. 2, Binhai Road and Shalun Road, and ends near the Danhai New Town project.
The Lanhai Line, meanwhile, shares the 1.21-km section of track and three stops with the Lushan Line before going in the other direction on Binhai Road and ending at Fisherman's Wharf by the Tamsui River.
The first phase of the project is expected to be completed by the end of 2018. The first car will be tested on the line in November and all 15 carriages will be manufactured by August 2017.
(By Sunrise Huang and Elaine Hou)