daily menu » rate the banner | guess the city | one on oneforums map | privacy policy | DMCA | news magazine | posting guidelines

Go Back   SkyscraperCity > Infrastructure and Mobility Forums > Railways

Railways (Inter)national commuter and freight trains



Global Announcement

As a general reminder, please respect others and respect copyrights. Go here to familiarize yourself with our posting policy.


Reply

 
Thread Tools
Old January 14th, 2007, 07:22 PM   #141
kub86
Twinkie
 
Join Date: Aug 2004
Location: Seattle/Bellevue
Posts: 733
Likes (Received): 10

WOW! 90 minutes instead of 5 hours?? That's amazing. I hate high-speed tunnels though. Maybe it's just me but my ears pop and hurt while inside tunnels at high speeds... :/
kub86 no está en línea   Reply With Quote

Sponsored Links
Old January 15th, 2007, 06:59 AM   #142
spongeg
Registered User
 
spongeg's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2006
Location: Coquitlam/Rainbow Lake
Posts: 8,034
Likes (Received): 1739

has anyone here ridden it yet?

looks great - how big is taiwan? is it the size of england or smaller?
spongeg no está en línea   Reply With Quote
Old January 15th, 2007, 08:20 AM   #143
superchan7
EOS 40D
 
superchan7's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2004
Location: San Jose, CA, USA / Hong Kong, China
Posts: 2,098
Likes (Received): 23

Much, much smaller. Unlike England, Taiwan is sometimes not visible on smaller world maps.
__________________
I speak English / 我講中文 / Ich spreche deutsch / 3y3 5p34k L337
superchan7 no está en línea   Reply With Quote
Old January 15th, 2007, 08:55 AM   #144
Taipei Walker
心在臺灣
 
Taipei Walker's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2005
Location: Warszawa
Posts: 6,449
Likes (Received): 1255

Taiwan area: 35,801 square kilometers, it's bigger than Belgium (30,528 square kilometers), but smaller than the Netherlands (41,528 square kilometers) or Switzerland (41,284 square kilometers).
Taipei Walker no está en línea   Reply With Quote
Old January 15th, 2007, 12:16 PM   #145
advani_fan
******
 
advani_fan's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2005
Location: Chennai/Taipei
Posts: 116
Likes (Received): 1

anyone know how much a ticket would cost from Taipei to Kaohsiung? im flying between, but i would rather take this one for the experience
__________________
مرحبا. Hello. こんにちは 여보세요 . ciao Hallo 您好

arrivederci Goodbye adeus 再见 안녕 さようなら مع السلامه Auf Wiedersehen
advani_fan no está en línea   Reply With Quote
Old January 16th, 2007, 12:56 AM   #146
Taipei Walker
心在臺灣
 
Taipei Walker's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2005
Location: Warszawa
Posts: 6,449
Likes (Received): 1255

ticket prices from THSR official website:
http://www.thsrc.com.tw./en/travel/b...icket_info.asp
Taipei Walker no está en línea   Reply With Quote
Old January 18th, 2007, 08:00 AM   #147
spongeg
Registered User
 
spongeg's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2006
Location: Coquitlam/Rainbow Lake
Posts: 8,034
Likes (Received): 1739

ah thanks for the size issue

amazing such a little place has done so much
spongeg no está en línea   Reply With Quote
Old January 19th, 2007, 04:22 AM   #148
sumisu
ビール大好きです。ビルも好き
 
sumisu's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2006
Location: Toronto ON, Orlando FL
Posts: 604
Likes (Received): 12

dang... another country I've gotta add to my 'bullet trains of the world' tour... at least it's close to Japan.
__________________
Is as Gaillimh mé, ach i mo chónaí i dToronto anois.
sumisu no está en línea   Reply With Quote
Old January 19th, 2007, 08:08 AM   #149
DonQui
BANNED
 
DonQui's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2005
Location: The Free City-State of New York
Posts: 6,035
Likes (Received): 10

Taiwan, the world's newest high speed rail country, and another that makes the US look even worse with our pathetic answer to high speed, the ACELA.

DonQui no está en línea   Reply With Quote
Old January 19th, 2007, 10:22 AM   #150
superchan7
EOS 40D
 
superchan7's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2004
Location: San Jose, CA, USA / Hong Kong, China
Posts: 2,098
Likes (Received): 23

Quote:
Originally Posted by spongeg View Post
ah thanks for the size issue

amazing such a little place has done so much
It's a natural investment to further enhance transportation within the territory. Aside from the teething problems and party politics behind many of Taiwan's projects, it's a great scenic way to travel from north to south without flying at all or sitting for hours on slower trains.

After decades of martial law under the Nationalist party, Taiwan's public infrastructure lagged severely behind other countries (namely, the other Asian tigers) that developed at around the same pace.

So it's about time to embrace a new generation of infrastructure to keep up with the world and the ever-increasing mobility of people. Just look across the Taiwan strait and see how much China is investing in its transportation infrastructure! It is also truly impressive and [as obviously necessary] on a much larger scale.
__________________
I speak English / 我講中文 / Ich spreche deutsch / 3y3 5p34k L337
superchan7 no está en línea   Reply With Quote
Old January 28th, 2007, 11:13 AM   #151
trueapprentice
HK
 
trueapprentice's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2005
Posts: 1,082
Likes (Received): 0

Notes from a nervous passenger

Saturday, January 27, 2007



Taiwan hopes its new bullet train will prove to be something of an economic fast track, but the journey so far has been bumpy. Joshua Samuel Brown climbs aboard to tell the story
I t's 11am, three days after the official launch of Taiwan's High Speed Rail. I'm sitting uneasily in car four, watching the subtropical countryside whiz by at an unnerving speed. Adding to my general apprehension is the sound of an old woman in the seat behind me clipping her fingernails, the metallic "clack" of clippers juxtaposing strangely with the high-pitched whine of the bullet train gliding on new tracks.

Fifteen minutes out of Banciao and the train is already halfway between Taoyuan and Hsinchu stations. The digital sign over the front door of the car displays the words "current speed: 238 km/h" in Chinese and English, and we have yet to reach top speed.

Behind me the clacking continues, and I find myself praying for the old woman to run out of nails before we really pick up speed.

The HSR project has been big news in Taiwan for years, its construction dogged by charges of pork-barrel politics, corruption large- and small-scale and questions of competence since before even the first meter of rail was laid.

Early on there were fears that the vibrations might damage precision instruments used in semiconductor factories near to the railway, problems that were supposedly alleviated by changes in route and investment in vibration- dampening technology. As the project grew nearer to
completion, its opponents have publicly denounced it on grounds more tangible to the average citizen, namely safety. Possibly the most vocal opponent of the HSR is Taiwan's Consumers' Foundation.

Cheng Jen-hung, chairman of the foundation, gave Taiwanese journalists an early Chinese New Year present by issuing an imminently quotable, if not somewhat hyperbolic, warning to the people of Taiwan against taking the train.

"Cherish your life," Cheng solemnly advised during a news conference before opening week. "Don't be a guinea pig!"

It was not Cheng's warning that nearly prevented me from buying my ticket; that honor went to a malfunctioning ticketing machine, one of many reportedly plaguing the system. On the first day of operations, tens of thousands of Taiwanese queued up at automatic ticketing kiosks at every HSR station along the line, waiting to take advantage of the half-price tickets offered as part of a two-week confidence building period. Each kiosk was manned (defeating the purpose of automation, some might say) by a chirpy twentysomething, seemingly chosen for appearance, charm and language skills rather than experience with either trains or automated ticketing machines.

I bought my ticket in Taipei station at a kiosk manned by a charming young man named John.

John's conversation skills came in handy, enabling us to have a fine chat about the benefits of the HSR to Taiwan's economy, during what might otherwise have been a tense 15 minutes while I waited for the machine to relinquish my bank card. Finally the automated kiosk rejected the card without explanation, and John suggested I try cash. Moments later the machine (perhaps sensing my dislike for it) issued me the most unlucky of all possible seat reservations for a train leaving the next day - car four, seat 13.

With this inauspicious beginning in mind, I wisely decided to postpone the grittiest phase of my research into the potential hazards of high-speed rail travel; I did not head home and immediately Google the phrase "high-speed rail disaster," thus sparing myself from learning the extremely hideous details of the 1998 Eschede catastrophe (more about this later). Instead, I called up Linda Arrigo, a local activist and member of Taiwan's Green Party. I wanted an environmentalist's take on the HSR's impact on Taiwan. After all, anything that offers an alternative to driving has to be endorsed by Greenies, at least so I assumed.

But Arrigo told me that Taiwanese environmentalists were less enthusiastic about the train than I'd expected.

"Anytime you concrete over open space you get a negative environmental effect," she said. "Animal migration is hindered and groundwater systems are disrupted. Personally, I don't think environmental concerns were a priority in the building of the HSR."

Surprisingly, Arrigo said the most negative impact of the HSR would be not to the environment, but to the socio- economic structure of the towns the train passed through. "Essentially, what you have with the HSR is a series of airports in areas that until recently were zoned for agricultural use. These areas are already magnets for heavy business and residential development. Though much has been written about how the HSR is based on the Japanese model, in Japan the lines were built through urban centers. The Taiwan HSR bypasses them."

Back at home, a quick glance at Google Earth showed that Arrigo was correct, at least as far as geography and population density is concerned.

The HSR track - straight in most sections - stands in sharp contrast to the smooth noodle map of Taiwan's road system. Whereas the highways generally follow the curvature of the coast, jutting in and out of city centers, the HSR line carves a path from Banciao (on the outskirts of Taipei) to Zouying (on the outskirts of Kaoushiung) without actually passing through any major cities.

Sure enough, I discovered the next day that station names along the HSR are a bit misleading. Hsinchu's station turned out to be in Jhubei ("North Hsinchu"), 15 minutes by taxi from the city center. And Taichung's station was again as far from the actual city itself, in a small hamlet called Wurih. At every station along the line, the story was the same - big-city satellites in the early stages of massive development. While the HSR promises to bring prosperity and development throughout Taiwan's west coast, it's probable that all the trappings - traffic and urban sprawl, to name a few - will follow.

But surely a little urban sprawl, not to mention the US$15 billion (HK$117 billion) estimated price tag of the project so far, is fair trade for the speed of travel that the HSR brings to Taiwan? The answer dependends on how much one likes rice paddies versus how fast one wishes to travel.

Less subjective is the matter of speed itself. While it's fun to throw around numbers such as "287 km/h," the hair- raising speed the train reaches on the flat-out 28-minute burn between Hsinchu and Taichung, can the speed of the Taiwan HSR be put in easier to grasp terms?

Well, consider the work of Jackie Chan, Hong Kong's favorite son. Roughly speaking, the average Jackie Chan movie is 90 minutes long. This seemingly irrelevant piece of information is more illuminating than it might at first seem, for over the past decade a number of luxury bus lines operating in Taiwan have installed personal LCD monitors in each extra-wide seat. More often than not, these are used to screen Jackie Chan movies.

Generally speaking, a bus trip between Taipei and Hsinchu is just long enough to watch an average Jackie Chan movie (and the bus usually beats a normal Taipei-Hsinchu train by about five minutes).

In the same period of time, the fastest bullet train will do the Banciao- Kaoushiung run, leaving a traveler just enough time to watch Police Story on his laptop. The same traveler going by the speediest luxury coach would be forced to endure Police Story and both of its sequels before emerging bleary- eyed into the smoggy sunlight of Taiwan's southernmost city.

In other words, the bullet train is way faster.

There are clearly still some bugs in the system, my own experience with the bank-card hungry ticket machine being one of many. Some have been mere booking errors: the initial days of operation were filled with complaints of double booking of seats. One mishap was comical - on the first day of service, one passenger reported that an automated ticketing machine poured out a mountain of NT five-cent coins in lieu of a train ticket. But most disconcerting were the more ominous snafus that occurred during the first week: doors failing to open at stations and a short-circuiting air-conditioning system that caused one car to fill up with fumes, horrifying passengers.

This segues into the most important question of all: is Taiwan's bullet train safe? There's something about moving so fast while still attached to the ground that gives some people the willies. Paul, a photographer friend of mine living in Taichung, says he's dubious, and it's more than just gut feeling.

"I've seen the inspectors coming by and checking out the loose rock that's slid out from the track bed," he tells me as we drive around the railway looking for a good place to get a shot of passing trains. "That sort of thing scares the hell out of me. If it goes five years without having a major accident, then I'll consider taking it. Until then, I'm fine with the slow train."

High-speed rail systems in general have a far lower rate of derailment incidents than normal trains. The problem is that when an accident does occur the results are disastrous.

On June 3, 1998, a high speed train en-route from Munich to Hamburg derailed in Lower Saxony and the results were horrific. One derailed carriage slammed into the concrete piling supporting an overhead bridge, obliterating it and causing the bridge to collapse. Of the 287 passengers onboard the ill-fated train, 101 were killed and 88 were severely injured.

For comparison's sake, two-thirds of the 97 passengers on the iconic Hindenburg not only survived, but escaped with relatively minor injuries. Had the train not been at less than 50 percent passenger capacity, fatalities would have been far worse. Had the accident occurred just two minutes earlier, before the train bound for Munich had already passed, the results might well have been unthinkable.

Rather than mull over such grim statistics, consider instead that Japan's Shinkansen, the world's best-known bullet train and on which Taiwan's HSR is based, boasts a near-impeccable safety record. In operation since 1964, the Shinkansen has recorded only one derailment, caused by an earthquake in 2004 and resulting in no fatalities. There have been bullet train-related deaths in Japan, but except for one (some poor soul whose arm became caught in a door), all were the result of people jumping in front of, or off, speeding trains. You can't blame fatalities such as those on poor design.

And where design is concerned, Taiwan's HSR is a thing of beauty - certainly the trains are. At first glance, the interiors of the carriages look about the same as regular trains, save that the cars are cleaner and the seats recline a bit further. But then you notice the smell. It's a familiar odor but one that's hard to place. It's the one you might remember from childhood drives in the new family car.

From the outside the differences are obvious, with uniformly sleek orange- striped cars and Kawasaki-built engines with aerodynamically-curved noses. Though the front ends of the engines are not quite as angular as those of the newer Japanese bullet trains, they still scream that they are built for speed. As for comfort, the designers again deserve kudos. Even at top speed, the train rides about as smoothly as the Hong Kong Airport Express.

Only the blur of the passing landscape and the wind shriek give a true indication of what land speeds approaching 300 km/h look and sound like.

Speed and comfort aside, the key component is public confidence. Compared to that of the Japanese, the Taiwanese temperament leans toward easygoing when it comes to pricey public works projects and malfunctioning ticket machines. But they are far less likely to forget a headline-grabbing disaster such as that in Germany a decade ago. Whether Taiwan's HSR proves boon or boondoggle depends largely on whether it can replicate the Shinkansen's safety record.

Meanwhile, the board of directors of the Taiwan HSR Corp, aware of how a multitude of small-scale hiccups in the first two weeks might be interpreted by a dubious public, has announced that the half-price ticket period will be extended until the end of the month. It would appear the spin doctors still have more work to do.
trueapprentice no está en línea   Reply With Quote
Old January 29th, 2007, 07:40 PM   #152
hkskyline
Hong Kong
 
hkskyline's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2002
Posts: 86,932
Likes (Received): 18202

Over two million callers jammed the automated hotline of the Taiwan Railway
29 January 2007
The China Post

Over two million callers jammed the automated hotline of the Taiwan Railway Administration (TRA) over a two hour period yesterday trying to buy train tickets for the Chinese New Year holiday, according to the TRA.

The TRA began selling train tickets yesterday for travel along the western route February 17 onwards and immediately received a heavy flow of callers flooding its automated ticket sales system.

Complaints were voiced as people experienced difficulty buying tickets whether through the phone or online, citing slower-than-usual processing times.

Local media reported that some customers had to wait thirty to forty minutes for the system to register their purchase.

The heavy sales volume forced customers to wait when picking up their tickets at the train station.

Normally people who purchase tickets through the phone or online can pick up their tickets a half hour later at the train station.

But customers yesterday were advised to arrive at the train station two to three hours after their purchase.

TRA officials said that the slow processing speeds were due to the heavy volume being experienced by the system server, which is maintained by Chunghwa Telecom.

A request to accelerate the system speed has been forwarded to Chunghwa Telecom, said TRA officials.

TRA officials said that some 280,000 tickets had been sold by 9 a.m. yesterday.
__________________
Hong Kong Photo Gallery - Click Here for the Hong Kong Galleries

World Photo Gallery - | St. Petersburg, Russia | Pyongyang | Tokyo | Istanbul | Dubai | Shanghai | Mumbai | Bangkok | Sydney

New York, London, Prague, Iceland, Rocky Mountains, Angkor Wat, Sri Lanka, Poland, Myanmar, and much more!
hkskyline no está en línea   Reply With Quote
Old January 30th, 2007, 03:26 AM   #153
ignoramus
Registered User
 
Join Date: Jun 2004
Posts: 3,020
Likes (Received): 4

Quote:
Originally Posted by hkskyline View Post
Over two million callers jammed the automated hotline of the Taiwan Railway
29 January 2007
The China Post

Over two million callers jammed the automated hotline of the Taiwan Railway Administration (TRA) over a two hour period yesterday trying to buy train tickets for the Chinese New Year holiday, according to the TRA.

The TRA began selling train tickets yesterday for travel along the western route February 17 onwards and immediately received a heavy flow of callers flooding its automated ticket sales system.

Complaints were voiced as people experienced difficulty buying tickets whether through the phone or online, citing slower-than-usual processing times.

Local media reported that some customers had to wait thirty to forty minutes for the system to register their purchase.

The heavy sales volume forced customers to wait when picking up their tickets at the train station.

Normally people who purchase tickets through the phone or online can pick up their tickets a half hour later at the train station.

But customers yesterday were advised to arrive at the train station two to three hours after their purchase.

TRA officials said that the slow processing speeds were due to the heavy volume being experienced by the system server, which is maintained by Chunghwa Telecom.

A request to accelerate the system speed has been forwarded to Chunghwa Telecom, said TRA officials.

TRA officials said that some 280,000 tickets had been sold by 9 a.m. yesterday.
Should post in the Taiwan thread instead. This thread's about THSRC.
ignoramus no está en línea   Reply With Quote
Old January 30th, 2007, 04:55 PM   #154
oogabooga
Pakistan Zindabad!
 
oogabooga's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2004
Location: Karachi, New Jersey
Posts: 9,686
Likes (Received): 1457

Quote:
Originally Posted by trueapprentice View Post
Notes from a nervous passenger

Saturday, January 27, 2007



Taiwan hopes its new bullet train will prove to be something of an economic fast track, but the journey so far has been bumpy. Joshua Samuel Brown climbs aboard to tell the story
I t's 11am, three days after the official launch of Taiwan's High Speed Rail. I'm sitting uneasily in car four, watching the subtropical countryside whiz by at an unnerving speed. Adding to my general apprehension is the sound of an old woman in the seat behind me clipping her fingernails, the metallic "clack" of clippers juxtaposing strangely with the high-pitched whine of the bullet train gliding on new tracks.

Fifteen minutes out of Banciao and the train is already halfway between Taoyuan and Hsinchu stations. The digital sign over the front door of the car displays the words "current speed: 238 km/h" in Chinese and English, and we have yet to reach top speed.

Behind me the clacking continues, and I find myself praying for the old woman to run out of nails before we really pick up speed.

The HSR project has been big news in Taiwan for years, its construction dogged by charges of pork-barrel politics, corruption large- and small-scale and questions of competence since before even the first meter of rail was laid.

Early on there were fears that the vibrations might damage precision instruments used in semiconductor factories near to the railway, problems that were supposedly alleviated by changes in route and investment in vibration- dampening technology. As the project grew nearer to
completion, its opponents have publicly denounced it on grounds more tangible to the average citizen, namely safety. Possibly the most vocal opponent of the HSR is Taiwan's Consumers' Foundation.

Cheng Jen-hung, chairman of the foundation, gave Taiwanese journalists an early Chinese New Year present by issuing an imminently quotable, if not somewhat hyperbolic, warning to the people of Taiwan against taking the train.

"Cherish your life," Cheng solemnly advised during a news conference before opening week. "Don't be a guinea pig!"

It was not Cheng's warning that nearly prevented me from buying my ticket; that honor went to a malfunctioning ticketing machine, one of many reportedly plaguing the system. On the first day of operations, tens of thousands of Taiwanese queued up at automatic ticketing kiosks at every HSR station along the line, waiting to take advantage of the half-price tickets offered as part of a two-week confidence building period. Each kiosk was manned (defeating the purpose of automation, some might say) by a chirpy twentysomething, seemingly chosen for appearance, charm and language skills rather than experience with either trains or automated ticketing machines.

I bought my ticket in Taipei station at a kiosk manned by a charming young man named John.

John's conversation skills came in handy, enabling us to have a fine chat about the benefits of the HSR to Taiwan's economy, during what might otherwise have been a tense 15 minutes while I waited for the machine to relinquish my bank card. Finally the automated kiosk rejected the card without explanation, and John suggested I try cash. Moments later the machine (perhaps sensing my dislike for it) issued me the most unlucky of all possible seat reservations for a train leaving the next day - car four, seat 13.

With this inauspicious beginning in mind, I wisely decided to postpone the grittiest phase of my research into the potential hazards of high-speed rail travel; I did not head home and immediately Google the phrase "high-speed rail disaster," thus sparing myself from learning the extremely hideous details of the 1998 Eschede catastrophe (more about this later). Instead, I called up Linda Arrigo, a local activist and member of Taiwan's Green Party. I wanted an environmentalist's take on the HSR's impact on Taiwan. After all, anything that offers an alternative to driving has to be endorsed by Greenies, at least so I assumed.

But Arrigo told me that Taiwanese environmentalists were less enthusiastic about the train than I'd expected.

"Anytime you concrete over open space you get a negative environmental effect," she said. "Animal migration is hindered and groundwater systems are disrupted. Personally, I don't think environmental concerns were a priority in the building of the HSR."

Surprisingly, Arrigo said the most negative impact of the HSR would be not to the environment, but to the socio- economic structure of the towns the train passed through. "Essentially, what you have with the HSR is a series of airports in areas that until recently were zoned for agricultural use. These areas are already magnets for heavy business and residential development. Though much has been written about how the HSR is based on the Japanese model, in Japan the lines were built through urban centers. The Taiwan HSR bypasses them."

Back at home, a quick glance at Google Earth showed that Arrigo was correct, at least as far as geography and population density is concerned.

The HSR track - straight in most sections - stands in sharp contrast to the smooth noodle map of Taiwan's road system. Whereas the highways generally follow the curvature of the coast, jutting in and out of city centers, the HSR line carves a path from Banciao (on the outskirts of Taipei) to Zouying (on the outskirts of Kaoushiung) without actually passing through any major cities.

Sure enough, I discovered the next day that station names along the HSR are a bit misleading. Hsinchu's station turned out to be in Jhubei ("North Hsinchu"), 15 minutes by taxi from the city center. And Taichung's station was again as far from the actual city itself, in a small hamlet called Wurih. At every station along the line, the story was the same - big-city satellites in the early stages of massive development. While the HSR promises to bring prosperity and development throughout Taiwan's west coast, it's probable that all the trappings - traffic and urban sprawl, to name a few - will follow.

But surely a little urban sprawl, not to mention the US$15 billion (HK$117 billion) estimated price tag of the project so far, is fair trade for the speed of travel that the HSR brings to Taiwan? The answer dependends on how much one likes rice paddies versus how fast one wishes to travel.

Less subjective is the matter of speed itself. While it's fun to throw around numbers such as "287 km/h," the hair- raising speed the train reaches on the flat-out 28-minute burn between Hsinchu and Taichung, can the speed of the Taiwan HSR be put in easier to grasp terms?

Well, consider the work of Jackie Chan, Hong Kong's favorite son. Roughly speaking, the average Jackie Chan movie is 90 minutes long. This seemingly irrelevant piece of information is more illuminating than it might at first seem, for over the past decade a number of luxury bus lines operating in Taiwan have installed personal LCD monitors in each extra-wide seat. More often than not, these are used to screen Jackie Chan movies.

Generally speaking, a bus trip between Taipei and Hsinchu is just long enough to watch an average Jackie Chan movie (and the bus usually beats a normal Taipei-Hsinchu train by about five minutes).

In the same period of time, the fastest bullet train will do the Banciao- Kaoushiung run, leaving a traveler just enough time to watch Police Story on his laptop. The same traveler going by the speediest luxury coach would be forced to endure Police Story and both of its sequels before emerging bleary- eyed into the smoggy sunlight of Taiwan's southernmost city.

In other words, the bullet train is way faster.

There are clearly still some bugs in the system, my own experience with the bank-card hungry ticket machine being one of many. Some have been mere booking errors: the initial days of operation were filled with complaints of double booking of seats. One mishap was comical - on the first day of service, one passenger reported that an automated ticketing machine poured out a mountain of NT five-cent coins in lieu of a train ticket. But most disconcerting were the more ominous snafus that occurred during the first week: doors failing to open at stations and a short-circuiting air-conditioning system that caused one car to fill up with fumes, horrifying passengers.

This segues into the most important question of all: is Taiwan's bullet train safe? There's something about moving so fast while still attached to the ground that gives some people the willies. Paul, a photographer friend of mine living in Taichung, says he's dubious, and it's more than just gut feeling.

"I've seen the inspectors coming by and checking out the loose rock that's slid out from the track bed," he tells me as we drive around the railway looking for a good place to get a shot of passing trains. "That sort of thing scares the hell out of me. If it goes five years without having a major accident, then I'll consider taking it. Until then, I'm fine with the slow train."

High-speed rail systems in general have a far lower rate of derailment incidents than normal trains. The problem is that when an accident does occur the results are disastrous.

On June 3, 1998, a high speed train en-route from Munich to Hamburg derailed in Lower Saxony and the results were horrific. One derailed carriage slammed into the concrete piling supporting an overhead bridge, obliterating it and causing the bridge to collapse. Of the 287 passengers onboard the ill-fated train, 101 were killed and 88 were severely injured.

For comparison's sake, two-thirds of the 97 passengers on the iconic Hindenburg not only survived, but escaped with relatively minor injuries. Had the train not been at less than 50 percent passenger capacity, fatalities would have been far worse. Had the accident occurred just two minutes earlier, before the train bound for Munich had already passed, the results might well have been unthinkable.

Rather than mull over such grim statistics, consider instead that Japan's Shinkansen, the world's best-known bullet train and on which Taiwan's HSR is based, boasts a near-impeccable safety record. In operation since 1964, the Shinkansen has recorded only one derailment, caused by an earthquake in 2004 and resulting in no fatalities. There have been bullet train-related deaths in Japan, but except for one (some poor soul whose arm became caught in a door), all were the result of people jumping in front of, or off, speeding trains. You can't blame fatalities such as those on poor design.

And where design is concerned, Taiwan's HSR is a thing of beauty - certainly the trains are. At first glance, the interiors of the carriages look about the same as regular trains, save that the cars are cleaner and the seats recline a bit further. But then you notice the smell. It's a familiar odor but one that's hard to place. It's the one you might remember from childhood drives in the new family car.

From the outside the differences are obvious, with uniformly sleek orange- striped cars and Kawasaki-built engines with aerodynamically-curved noses. Though the front ends of the engines are not quite as angular as those of the newer Japanese bullet trains, they still scream that they are built for speed. As for comfort, the designers again deserve kudos. Even at top speed, the train rides about as smoothly as the Hong Kong Airport Express.

Only the blur of the passing landscape and the wind shriek give a true indication of what land speeds approaching 300 km/h look and sound like.

Speed and comfort aside, the key component is public confidence. Compared to that of the Japanese, the Taiwanese temperament leans toward easygoing when it comes to pricey public works projects and malfunctioning ticket machines. But they are far less likely to forget a headline-grabbing disaster such as that in Germany a decade ago. Whether Taiwan's HSR proves boon or boondoggle depends largely on whether it can replicate the Shinkansen's safety record.

Meanwhile, the board of directors of the Taiwan HSR Corp, aware of how a multitude of small-scale hiccups in the first two weeks might be interpreted by a dubious public, has announced that the half-price ticket period will be extended until the end of the month. It would appear the spin doctors still have more work to do.
Looks like Mr. Joshua Samuel Brown needs to grow some balls! People like this guy are ready to piss all over any great achievment by any country anywhere in the world. Regardless of how many people benefit from such projects, there will always be sceptics. Hopeless cynics who have nothing better to do than to criticize every infrastructure project.
oogabooga no está en línea   Reply With Quote
Old January 31st, 2007, 12:20 AM   #155
superchan7
EOS 40D
 
superchan7's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2004
Location: San Jose, CA, USA / Hong Kong, China
Posts: 2,098
Likes (Received): 23

It's fine to be sceptical. However, boycotting it or persuading other people not to use it is unacceptable unless there is a record of safety problems.

THSR hasn't proven itself yet; that takes time. But for the time being, it seems fairly safe to use.
__________________
I speak English / 我講中文 / Ich spreche deutsch / 3y3 5p34k L337
superchan7 no está en línea   Reply With Quote
Old January 31st, 2007, 10:12 AM   #156
Jean Luc
BANNED
 
Join Date: Mar 2006
Location: Sydney
Posts: 460
Likes (Received): 15

AFAIK there has never been a fatality on a high speed train whilst running on dedicated high speed lines anywhere in the world.

The accident involving the ICE train in Germany in 1998 occurred on a conventional (non-high speed) line, so it could have involved a regular train instead of an ICE.

In France the only deaths involving the TGV have occurred on conventional lines too, often at level crossings where a motor vehicle has blocked the line. A couple of TGVs have derailed at high speed (on LGVs) causing injuries but no deaths, as the trains remained upright as they were meant to, due to their advanced design.

High speed trains and lines are designed and built with safety in mind right from the outset, making them one of the safest forms of transport around, along with planes. As with flying however, I guess that some people will always be afraid to travel on HSTs, no matter what the statistics say.

Last edited by Jean Luc; January 31st, 2007 at 10:22 AM.
Jean Luc no está en línea   Reply With Quote
Old January 31st, 2007, 12:55 PM   #157
elfabyanos
Dracuna Macoides
 
elfabyanos's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2006
Location: Brighton
Posts: 1,814
Likes (Received): 5

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jean Luc View Post
AFAIK there has never been a fatality on a high speed train whilst running on dedicated high speed lines anywhere in the world.

The accident involving the ICE train in Germany in 1998 occurred on a conventional (non-high speed) line, so it could have involved a regular train instead of an ICE.
And it was caused by metal fatigue on the metal tyre of one of the wheels. This occurs on other trains too - UK networkers were put in a program of phased inspection and replacement after that incident as they use similar wheel designs.
Before anyone asks it is totally safe as long as the inspection proceedure is followed, namely using ultrasound to test for cracks. Unfortunately in the German incident the maintenance regime lapsed to somthing like kicking the rim and saying (in German of course) "Looks allroit guv'nor", so no wonder it went wrong.

Last edited by elfabyanos; January 31st, 2007 at 01:03 PM.
elfabyanos no está en línea   Reply With Quote
Old February 1st, 2007, 10:43 AM   #158
tr
Registered User
 
Join Date: May 2004
Posts: 203
Likes (Received): 1

THSRC gets MOTC approval for Taipei to Banciao section

By Shelley Shan and Jessie Ho
STAFF REPORTERS
Thursday, Feb 01, 2007, Page 2

Advertising Minister of Transportation and Communications Tsai Duei (蔡堆) approved the operation of the high speed rail on the section between Taipei and Banciao (板橋) yesterday.
Bureau of High Speed Rail Director-General Pang Chia-hua (龐家驊) said the approval merely meets one of the preconditions for the Taiwan High Speed Rail Corp (THSRC) to secure an operating permit, adding that the company has yet to comply with all the requirements of the Railway Law (鐵路法) and its build-operate-transfer (BOT) contract.

For example, the THSRC has not yet submitted the NT$5 billion (US$156 million) deposit required, Pang said.

Should the company meet all the outstanding requirements, the operational permit could be issued as soon as today, he said.

Pang added that the THSRC will face a stern challenge today, when advance tickets for the Lunar New Year holidays go on sale.

Ticket sales will begin at 6am today and the bureau expects some would-be travelers to queue-up at the high speed rail stations.

Although the THSRC will soon be permitted to operate between Banciao and Taipei, several media reports have speculated that the high speed rail may not do so in time for the Lunar New Year holidays since the company has encountered difficulties with its ticketing system and train schedules. Those in Taipei choosing to take the high speed rail during this time will probably still be required to board from the high speed rail station in Banciao.

Pang said the company and the bureau had reached a consensus that the high speed rail would operate between Banciao and Tsoying (左營) during the Lunar New Year holidays.

He urged the company to come up with a comprehensive plan that took all possible scenarios into account.

"The bottom line is that the company has to finalize its plan and announce it to the public as soon as possible," he said, "[The THSRC] must stop making plans only to change them the next day."

Pang also suggested possible solutions to the problem. For example, he said, if the THSRC was only able to sell tickets from Banciao to Tsoying (左營), the company could alter the setting on the ticket-checking gates at Taipei Main Station to allow those purchasing tickets from Banciao to pass.

THSRC spokesman Arthur Chiang (江金山) confirmed in a phone interview yesterday that the THSRC had decided not to operate on the Taipei to Banciao section during the Lunar New Year holidays. He said that passengers would need to wait at least until next month before they could take the bullet train from Taipei.

It will take some time for the THSRC to reorganize its train schedule before applying for a license, he added.

The THSRC's decision not to operate between Taipei and Banciao during the Lunar New Year holidays was also prompted by technical concerns, he said.

The ticketing system and gates in THSRC stations have been found to malfunction frequently, especially during peak hours, Chiang said.
tr no está en línea   Reply With Quote
Old April 11th, 2007, 04:39 AM   #159
Taipei Walker
心在臺灣
 
Taipei Walker's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2005
Location: Warszawa
Posts: 6,449
Likes (Received): 1255

I took the Taiwan High Speed Train during Chinese New Year. Had no time to prepare the photos only until recently, here are photos from my journey:

1. Banqiao station


2. ticket vending machines, working well now


3.


4.


5. behind the glass is TRA station (normal rail)


6. on the platform


7.


8. the light in the floor informs that the train is approaching


9. approaching train, everybody taking pictures


10. the doors are pretty small, I guess I am used to Taipei MRT


11. inside


12.


13.


14. departure


15. somewhere in Taoyuan


16. Taoyuan station


17. somewhere between Taoyuan and Hsinchu


18. approaching Hsinchu station


19. emptiness around Hsinchu station, it's the same with most stations


20. Hsinchu station


21. rural Taiwan


22. maximum speed of 300km/h, most of the time was only around 200-220km/h a bit dissapointing, just hope lower speed is because of initial period of operation and in the future it will be faster


23. outside on full speed


24. approaching Taichung


25.


26. the same as in Hsinchu, the city is far away


27. Taichung station


28. rural landcape of Central and Southern Taiwan is awesome, we're leaving mountains behind, from this mountain range all the way down to Zuoying station in Kaohsiung we'll ride on the world's longest viaduct


29.


30.


31.


32.


33.


34.


35.


36.


37.


38.


39. cemetary


40.


41. approaching Kaohsiung


42.


43.


44.


45.


46. end of viaduct, we're in Kaohsiung (Zuoying station)


47. Zuoying station


photos from Zuoying station:

48. Zuoying station from the mountain


49.


50.


51.


52.


53. Kaohsiung is an industrial city


54. New Zuoying Station belongs to TRA


55.


56.


57.


58.


59. TRA station


60. connection to Taiwan High Speed Rail Station


61. Zuoying station, station hall


62.


63.


64.


65.


66. ticket vending machines


67.


68.


69.


70.


71.


72.


73. below will be Kaohsiung MRT station, above another department store


74.


75.


76.


77.


78.


79.


80.


81.


82.


83. car park next to station


84. at least from one side it looks like a city


85. car park has direct link to the freeway


86.


87.


88.


89. the street in front of the station from the station


90.


91.


92. from car park


93.


94.


95. back in the station hall


96.


97.


98.


99.


100.


101.


102.


103.


104.


105.


106.


107. on the platform


108.


109.


110.


111.


112.


113.


114.


115.


116.


117.


118.


119. blood, killer train


120.


some shots from return jurney, the weather was much better

121. industry in Kaohsiung


122.


123.


124.


125.


126.


127.


128.


129.


130.


131. approaching Taichung


132.


133.


134.


135.


136.


137.


138.


139.


140.


141.


142.


143.


144.


145.


the end
Taipei Walker no está en línea   Reply With Quote
Old April 11th, 2007, 04:58 AM   #160
zergcerebrates
Registered User
 
zergcerebrates's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2004
Location: Guam,Los Angeles
Posts: 2,287
Likes (Received): 62

Nice Pictures. I thought the Kaoshiung Station would look nice on the inside but not really so. The exterior surroundings like the landscaping, the exterior building and the platforms are nice but the interior main hall is kinda disappointing. They should of used marble on its floors, yes I know more expensive but it'll make the station look more modern. I am not really impressed by the tiles they've chosen to use, makes the entire station look dated and the tiles looks like those you will find at public toilets.
zergcerebrates no está en línea   Reply With Quote


Reply

Thread Tools

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off

Related topics on SkyscraperCity


All times are GMT +2. The time now is 03:26 PM.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.11 Beta 4
Copyright ©2000 - 2018, vBulletin Solutions Inc.
Feedback Buttons provided by Advanced Post Thanks / Like (Pro) - vBulletin Mods & Addons Copyright © 2018 DragonByte Technologies Ltd.

vBulletin Optimisation provided by vB Optimise (Pro) - vBulletin Mods & Addons Copyright © 2018 DragonByte Technologies Ltd.

SkyscraperCity ☆ In Urbanity We trust ☆ about us | privacy policy | DMCA policy

tech management by Sysprosium