Taipei, Jan. 21 (CNA) The first section of the Circular Line in the Greater Taipei mass rapid transit (MRT) system will officially begin operations Jan. 31 with a formal opening ceremony at Shisizhang Station, the Taipei City Department of Rapid Transit Systems (DORTS) said Tuesday.
The opening ceremony at 10 a.m. will be hosted by mayors Ko Wen-je (柯文哲) and Hou Yu-ih (侯友宜) of Taipei and New Taipei, respectively, the two cities that the Circular Line will serve, the DORTS said.
The train service will begin formally at 2 p.m. on Jan. 31 and will be free for one month, according to the DORTS.
The first section of the new line runs 15.4 kilometers, from Dapinglin to New Taipei Industrial Park through Xindian, Zhonghe, Banqiao and Xinzhuang, without having to go through Taipei.
With the opening of the Yellow Line, as it also called, the MRT network in Taipei and New Taipei will comprise six color-coded lines, with 131 stations.
Passengers will be able to reach the 131 stations in the network through a transfer system at 18 stations designed to ease congestion during rushing hours, the DORTS said.
The first section of the new Circular Line is the second automated line in the MRT system, after the Wenhu Line, and will be served by 17 medium-capacity trains made by Hitachi Rail Italy, according to the DORTS.
The trains are 68.5 meters long, each with four cars and a capacity of 650 passengers, the DORTS said.
The design on the yellow exterior is distinctive of French architect Emmanuelle Moureaux, who specializes in large-scale projects, according to the DORTS.
The Ministry of Transportation and Communications carried out its final inspection of the first section of the Yellow Line on Jan. 5, and on Jan. 16 it gave approval for formal operations to begin, saying that all the major issues had been fixed.
On Jan. 19, the new section opened for free test rides, which will continue daily between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. until the line officially starts operations.