Kaohsiung City's light rail system has begun its trial operation since October 16. Mayor Lin Chia-lung led a delegation consisting of Deputy Mayor Lin Ling-san (林陵三), Director General Wang Yi-chuan (王義川) of Transportation Bureau and other officials from Taichung City Government to have a test ride on October 28. Mayor Lin said that the experience should be a very good reference when Taichung City constructs its own light rail system.
After listening to the briefing of Kaohsiung City MRT Bureau, Mayor Lin and his delegation were accompanied by Kaohsiung City Deputy Mayor Xu Li-min (許立明) to take the driverless light rail system. Mayor Lin pressed the door button himself and led his delegation to swipe cards, got on the train, and had a ride from stations C1 to C4 for 20 minutes.
During the ride, Mayor Lin was impressed by the spacious and comfortable cabin, beautiful local landscapes along the route, and the use of super capacitor charging device to avoid erecting electric poles. “It is a really wonderful to view the open skyline without any obstruction,” praised Mayor Lin.
According to the report of Kaohsiung City MRT Bureau, this light rail system costs NT$ 5,600 million in total, or NT$ 750 million per kilometer, which is much cheaper than NT$ 5000 million per kilometer for the construction of an underground MRT system.
The maximum speed of Kaohsiung light rail train can reach 70 kilometers per hour, but Kaohsiung City MRT Bureau has currently set it at 50 kilometers. Its maximum slope climbing ability is 6%. Each car can accommodate 250 passengers (seated and standing). The super capacitor charging device is used to recharge the train for 20 seconds when it stops at a station, so as to replace the erection of electric poles and cables, leaving a spacious sky view for the public.
Mayor Lin said, “Light rail is more flexible in route arrangement and adjustment in gradeability, more energy-saving, closer to the people, and less costly in initial investment.
“Taichung City Government has been considering the use of light rail system to link Taichung Port and Chingchuankang Airport in the Dual Ports Project and connect the mountain-line and sea-line railway rings and all the 29 administrative districts.
“Both Kaohsiung and Taichung have the needs to construct railway rings, a light rail system, and a composite transport system. This visit is very valuable, and the experience can surely serve as a good reference to us. For a follow-up, I would like to see how Kaohsiung City overcomes the issues relating to light rail grade crossings and how rights of way are prioritized to the light rail.”
Transportation Bureau Director General Wang Yi-chuan said, “Kaohsiung City’s light rail system is unique in that the super capacitor charging device is used. As a result, there is no need to erect any poles and the skyline is kept intact. This sort of design is worthy of reference and adoption to us.
“The light rail system also has good gradeability to overcome a variety of terrains. It will fit our greater Taichung where terrain changes abruptly due to the Tatu Mountains. The light rail system also has great flexibility. It can be constructed elevatedly, underground or on the ground. Most importantly, its initial project cost is much cheaper than an MRT system. It is definitely a preferred option for a government with financial constraints
“We prefer to construct a light rail system for Taichung City and have made a feasibility study on the light rail system for the Dual Ports Project a few days before. The light rail system will also connect all the sub-city centers in Taichung so as to build up a composite transport system featuring ‘safety, humanities, and green." (10/28 * 10)