The Ministry of Transportation and Communications (MOTC) completed the final inspection for the first phase of the Taichung Metropolitan Area Elevated Railway Project, with the cooperation of the local and the central governments, after preparing, planning and constructing for many years. The train traffic will be re-directed through the elevated rails from the evening of the 15th until the next morning. By 6 am on the 16th, all the Taiwan Railway trains will have been re-directed. The 5 elevated stations in Fengyuan, Tanzi, Taiyuan, Taichung and Daqing will start functioning simultaneously. The Taichung City Government will cooperate by connecting the new stations to the local transportation network and reducing the traffic in the peripherals.
The Taichung Metropolitan Area Elevated Railway Project starts from 1.9 km north to Fengyuan Station down to 1.4 km south to Daqing Station, stretching 21.7 kilometers along the railway route. In addition to elevate the 5 existing stations, 5 new elevated stations- Sulin Station, Toujiacu Station, Songzhu Station, Jingwu Station and Wuquan Station- were built along the railway.
In order to maintain the operation of Taiwan Railway, the Taichung Metropolitan Area Elevated Railway Project has two separate phases. The first phase involves enabling the 5 elevated stations and switching the railway from the ground level onto the viaduct. As soon as this engineering section is finished and open to traffic, the second phase of the project begins, and the following facilities will be removed: 17 level crossings, 18 underpasses, and 3 land bridges. Meanwhile, the second phase of the construction of each station will begin and the spaces under the viaduct will be greenified.
According to the Transportation Bureau of Taichung City Government, after the first phase begins, the traffic routes might be affected as several sites are still under construction. In order to minimize the impact and inconvenience for the citizens, the Transportation Bureau has invited the Railway Reconstruction Bureau and Taiwan Railway Administration to go on joint site meeting, where they proposed concrete measures to improve the project before the new railway is open to traffic. Meanwhile, in order not to make drastic changes on the original traffic routes and the driving habits of citizens and to smoothly connect the train station to the public transportation network, the Transportation Bureau will execute a series of traffic reducing measures, such as expanding the pedestrian zones, separating incoming from outgoing traffics, re-allocating the temporary parking zones for motorcycles, cars, taxis and buses, opening some of the parking lots, increasing roadside parking spaces and off-road temporary parking lots, etc.
As Director of the Transportation Bureau Yi-chuan Wang points out, since more than 50,000 passengers use Taichung station every day, maintaining the old exit routes at the west station (pedestrians and vehicles exit through the old station) and directing the traffic with two-way shunts will help reduce the traffic. As for the east station, parking is free for the first 30 minutes, so it is easier for passengers to enter and exit. Meanwhile, there are temporary parking lots on Dayong Street for the transit passengers who might need parking space.
In addition, on the side of Fuxing Road at the east station, the Transportation Bureau will draw red lines (for no parking zone), increase roadside parking lots for motorcycles and adjust the bus lanes to control the traffic nearby the train station. As the Station Square is under construction, 61 bus routes will be adjusted at the west station. These new routes are estimated to start running on October 29th. The Transportation Bureau will conduct propaganda on this matter.
Regarding the routes for passengers to enter the station, as Chief Li-te Hsieh of the Central Division of the Railway Reconstruction Bureau indicates, in order not to drastically change the commuting habits of passengers, they will still enter the station through the old Taichung Station via trestle to buy tickets and take trains in the new station. If the passengers find the distance too far, there are mobility scooters on site for their use. Apart from the entrances and exits at the old station, the passengers can also enter and exit at the new station on Fuxing Road.
In addition to new Taichung Station, Director Wang of the Transportation Bureau also explains the traffic routes around the 4 other elevated stations. Pedestrian routes on the west side of Fengyuan Station are also preserved for the entrance and exit of the passengers. The Square of the Sixth Parking Lot on the east side of the station is now a transfer station for bus services. The bus routes are adjusted accordingly. Meanwhile, the traffic lanes are also expanded for bigger capacity and for better traffic condition. There are also parking spaces and taxi stops around the station for the convenience of the passengers.
To go to Tanzi Station, one can enter the new station via the existing subterranean pass. The Environmental Protection Bureau helps remove the deserted bicycles near the entrance of the subterranean pass on Zhongshan Road. There will be new parking spaces for motorcycles. The Transportation Bureau moved the bus stops to Tanxing Road beside the new station. Before Tanxing Road is open to traffic, there are temporary parking spaces for motorcycles on this road. The Transportation Bureau has coordinated with the Railway Reconstruction Bureau and Taiwan Railway Administration to organize the empty space beside Tanxing Road and keep it public.
Old Taiyuan Station is 100 meters far from the new station. One can approach the new station via Dongguang Road or through the subterranean pass or the motorcycle tunnel to the new station on Dongguang Road. Apart from the addition of new bus stops at new Taiyuan Station, there are new taxi stops and a kiss and ride lane at the entrance of the new station.
According Chief Li-te Hsieh of the Central Division of the Railway Reconstruction Bureau, as the circulation in the 5 elevated stations has changed, the Railway Reconstruction Bureau has placed illustrated maps at all the old stations, showing the routes to the new stations. The Bureau has prepared free propaganda pamphlets with details about the new stations for the citizens. Meanwhile, passengers are advised to leave home earlier and to follow the guidance at the station to take the trains.
According Chief Li-te Hsieh of the Central Division of the Railway Reconstruction Bureau, Taichung Train Station emphasizes on green energy, lightness and modernization. The station is constructed with steel structure. Solar panels are installed on the rooftop. By day, there is no need to turn on lights at the platform. The station is not air-conditioned, so it is energy saving. In addition, as the railway is elevated, traffic accidents on the level crossing can be prevented.
He also reminds that all trains will stop at around 8 pm on the 15th in order to be re-directed to the elevated tracks. It is estimated that by 7 am on the 16th, all trains will have been successfully re-directed. During this period, he advises that the citizens plan their trips earlier or take other types of public transportation instead. For more detail on the change of the train schedule, please visit the official website of Taiwan Railway （http://www.railway.gov.tw/tw/） or see the announcement at the train stations.