TRB Paper #11-1301 (PDF here)
Alex Lu (corresponding), Amanda N. Marsh
Presented at the 90th Annual Meeting of the Transportation Research Board, Washington D.C., January 2011.
Underground urban trackage and run-through services make efficient use of assets and available track capacity. An Italian Società Costruzioni Industriali Milano (SOCIMI) EMU300 trainset is being prepared at the Qidu carbarn (left).|
Taipei Main Station’s less-crowded underground platform with a British Rail Engineering Limited (BREL) EMU100, delivered in 1978 for the original Taiwan West Coast Mainline Electrification programme (right).
Taoyuan commuters wait for the South African
Union Carriage & Wagon EMU400 to Qidu. To
support metropolitan growth, Banqiao yard
moved west to Shulin, and Nankang yard east
to Qidu, extending through-running operations (left).|
TRA purchased six sets of Hitachi 8-car 130 km/h tilting trains, based on JR Kyushu’s 885- series design, for US$85 million, to provide accelerated East Coast services. Locally called “Taroko trains” after the mountain gorge (right).
An empty unit coal train with an American
Electro-Motive Division (EMD) G12 (TRA R20-
class) locomotive is stored on Taoyuan’s bypass
track, likely recently returned from the Linkou
coal-fired power plant (left).|
TRA’s infrastructure designs are targeted towards scheduled movements. The South Korean Daewoo EMU500 commuter unit is being prepared on Hsinchu’s middle track while an intercity train departs (right).
The express train with streamlined orange
E1000 locomotive is passing a blue local train
using outside bypass tracks at Kueishan (Turtle
Mountain) station on the Yilan Line (right).|
Train terminations and transfers occur at interchanges where double island platforms and full crossovers are provided. The Japanese Tokyu DR3000 DMU is departing from Shulin station, using crossovers for yard access (left).
TRA’s operating practices may be labour
intensive, but resulting service quality is high:
stationmasters’ controls feature departure
bells, schedule simplifiers, and “good to go”
plungers (far left); Hsinchu’s stationmaster (left).|
Jingtong station is the terminus of the Pingsi tourist branch. TRA stations often feature decorative plants that are painstakingly maintained. Train crews are immaculately dressed in blue and white uniforms (right).
With the train safely immobilized, the
commuter EMU’s operator and relief operator
exchange pleasantries on Yilan’s departure
track prior to changing ends and returning to
Hsinchu via Taipei (left).|
On long distance trains, cleaners move through the train while in-service to collect trash from passengers (right); Sandiaoling’s stationmaster exchanging tokens (movement authorities) with Pingsi branch’s operator (far right).
TRA’s fare control occurs at origin, destination,
and en-route. Conductors use portable
thermal ticket printers to sell onboard fares.
50% penalty fare applies for those failing to
purchase tickets before arriving at destination (left).|
A delay machine prints proof-of-delay receipts showing recent train delays. Delays are typically limited to five to ten minutes. Train 1015 was delayed only 27 minutes despite requiring substitute equipment (right).
Hsinchu’s exit-only control area (unpaid side)
has modern faregates and volunteer customer
assistance staff. TRA volunteers are a mixture
of retired railway employees, student interns,
and members of the public. (left).|
Suao (right) and Yilan (far right) on the East Coast still have traditional slam gate fare control areas reliant on manual ticket examination. Nonetheless, electronic noticeboards provide real-time customer information.
Advance-purchase ticket machines have touch
screens, reservations, and credit card
capabilities (far left); commuter ticket machines
are simple and robust prepaid-card and cashonly
receipt printers (left).|
Valid on TRA for local trips, Taipei Metro’s EasyCard (right) are also accepted at convenience stores like Family Mart. Smartcard payments are allowed for low-value non-transportation items, like Hong Kong’s Octopus Card.
To maximize passenger throughput, separate
ticket windows provide train information,
today’s tickets, and advance/commutation
tickets. The Buddhist monk is purchasing daily
tickets at Hsinchu station, skipping long queues (left).|
Like the Long Island Rail Road, Taiwan has its own versions of the “Dashing Commuters”. Underpasses are provided for access to island platforms. TRA had recycled old rails for constructing station canopies since the 1950s (right).
Rueifang station’s platform showcase a variety
of customer friendly devices: schedule poster
box, dot-matrix displays, lighted bilingual
signage with icons, security cameras, partially sighted
features, and of course potted plants (left).|
Onboard information system (top right) from a newer EMU700 identifies prior stop (Wudu), next stop (Baifu), and following stop (Qidu); flexible scrolling display from older push-pull sets are similar to platform displays (bottom right).
Many principal stations now have bilingual
Solari-type “flippy-flippies” or LCD screen
departure boards. Delays as short as one
minute late are immediately posted (left).|
An authentic TRA bento box (駅弁 or 便當), offered for sale to passing trains. Originated in Japan but now ubiquitous throughout Asia, each region offers its own local flavour (right).
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