Kaohsiung Launches Taiwan's First Light Rail Service
◎English translation: Peng Hsin-yi
◎Photo by Pao Chung-hui
Kaohsiung is Taiwan's first city to construct a light rail system. The fast, comfortable and environmentally friendly trains will run on an electric system, so are very quiet and have zero emissions. They have also been designed to effectively recycle the electricity they use and therefore will consume minimal energy. There are no cable lines, as it operates on a NVC System (Non Visual Catenary), leaving Kaohsiung's beautiful skyline undisturbed. Each train has the capacity to carry 250 passengers with 60 seats and room for 186 standing passengers. The trains are 34 meters (37 yards) in length and will pull 5 cars each. The carriages will have four doors, which open at 1.3 meters (4.26 feet), straight onto the platform, making it wheelchair friendly and easily accessible for all passengers.
Light rail construction will cost approximately 16.5 billion TWD (539,105,938 USD and run 22.1 km (17.3 miles) around the city. The project has been organized into two stages and will include 36 stations. Stage one, will run 8.7 km (5.4 miles) along Kaishuan and Yisin Roads. It will transport passengers to various landmarks such as the Dream Mall, Kaohsiung Exhibition Center (in the Asia New Bay Area), the Maritime Cultural & Popular Music Center, the Kaohsiung Main Public Library, Kaohsiung Port Terminal and Pier-2 Art Center. Stage two, will run 13.4 km (8.32 miles), commencing in 2017, construction will be synchronized with that of Kaohsiung's Underground Railway. These projects are scheduled for completion in 2019. The light rail will intersect with both Red and Orange MRT (Mass Rapid Transit) lines and comprehensively integrate all of Kaohsiung's transportation systems. It will also include connections with the high speed rail, TSR trains and bus routes, providing residents a more convenient and comprehensive transportation network.
The light rail's first test run took place on November 9, 2014, with public service commencement scheduled for the end of next year. During the test, Mayor Chen Chu boarded the train at station C2 and was excited about the success of this important milestone. She hopes all tests will be expedited quickly and all safety measures are in place before the light rail begins its regular service. She believes Kaohsiung's monumental public transportation systems will provide the residents a greater quality of life.
輕軌由於具有快速、舒適 、無污染、低噪音、能源消耗低等特性，因此有著「綠色運具」的美名，高雄更是全台第一個建構輕軌的城市，高雄輕軌列車自11月9日起展開上線測試，預計明年底試營運，逐步實現民眾乘輕軌、賞遊高雄街景的願望。結合現有捷運紅 、橘二線，與之呈十字型基礎路網相交之內環線，透過整合二大捷運系統構成交通路網，並配合高鐵、台鐵、公車等轉運站與轉乘設施規劃 ，提供民眾更完善便捷的市區交通網路。