Taiwan's High Speed Rail System Explained

High speed rail explained is back, and today we’re looking at the Taiwan high speed rail system, which is very unique and very successful despite its relatively small size. Enjoy!

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0:00 Introduction
1:37 History of the System
2:51 System Overview
4:12 Future Expansion
4:32 Rolling Stock
5:12 Unique Aspects
6:11 Ridership & Growth
6:36 conclusion


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42 Replies to “Taiwan's High Speed Rail System Explained”

  1. 巭孬嫑夯昆

    In February 2021, the "National Comprehensive Three-dimensional Transportation Network Planning Outline" issued by my country announced that it plans to build the Beijing-Taipei high-speed rail line (for both road and rail) by 2035. On December 26 last year, the Fuzhou-Pingtan Railway, an important extension of the Beijing-Fuzhou high-speed rail, was officially opened to traffic. Pingtan County is the main point of the Taiwan Strait, only 68 nautical miles away from Taiwan、、

  2. Jose Manuel Fernandez Sandra

    Would have been good to see a little bit on the European test train and the initial operations, which I think were done with French and or German drivers?

  3. Not Just Bikes

    I've only taken the Taiwan high speed rail once, from Taipei to Kaohsiung. I only ever took it the one time because the stations were in the middle of nowhere, and basically required a taxi to get to where you were going. In Kaohsiung, we took a coach bus, and it was OK, but really not the best experience.

    I've heard they've been improving the connections a lot (I haven't lived in Taiwan since 2011), but it doesn't surprise me at all that early ridership was lower than expected, because the stations were not at all convenient when the line opened.

    Still, really nice trains, and good service, as you would expect. I love Taiwan.

  4. Nick Hiscock

    I unfortunately never got to ride this system as its construction had only Just started when I traveled there in 2002. But I did use there TRA network quite a bit. Along with there metro network in Taipei. So almost 20 years later 170kph is still the fastest I have ever gone on a train.

  5. The Last Defender of Camelot

    you forgot to mention about the new rolling stock. its important to know why we haven't seen any new Shinkansen in Taiwan when the 700T's are nearing retirement. the problem with THSR is that it was built to European standard and the Japanese engineers had to customize their rolling stock entirely. nothing but headaches after headaches. everything from voltage, switches, overhead lines and signaling is all set to European specifications so the average cost per train will be significantly higher than a regular Shinkansen. it hasn't been officially mentioned but two companies are currently looking into replacing the 700T's, Toshiba and Hitachi. we will be hearing the announcement sometime soon.
    as a Japanese I would suggest shutting down entire line and changing everything to Japanese standard, which sounds outrageous, or bid for European train which comes with its own set of problems.

  6. Kyle Augustus

    Thanks for your great video! Many Taiwanese usually complain about that HSR stations' location is too far to arrived from city center. In fact, except Taipei and Kaohsuing MRT are opened to commercial service in the same time, our government planned MRT or LRT to connect HSR stations and city center(including Taoyuan, Hsinchu, Taichung, Chiayi and Tainan) ,but government canceled most of projects because of lacking funding, only remained Taoyuan and Taichung. THSR only took 6 years completed and opened for commercial service, but after THSR construction, MRT construction took many years to complete because of expensive land value and low construction efficiency, such as Taoyuan International Airport MRT, which took 11 years to complete and opened, and Taichung MRT, which only 16.7km with all of stations are elevated, took 13 years to complete and opened.

  7. Eat Chocolate

    Taiwan's system was more interesting than I expected. A video about the Belgian and Dutch high speed rail systems would be nice to see, since they link together. It's used by TGV, Thalys, ICE, Eurostar and various classic intercity trains.

  8. James Scantlebury

    Alon Levy’s blog notes that the European infrastructure design (such as single bore tunnels) and the rolling stock/signalling from Japan – combines the best of both systems.
    E.g tunnels are cheaper to dig, and the 700 series has step free entry, unlike the TGV.

  9. Thank you for liking our system, but as a Taiwanese, some drawbacks imho: except for Taipei and Kaohsiung, most other stations are too far out from city center and add onto significant time for connection; the frequency of express trains (bypassing the least used stations) are not that dense; the agency is not integrated with TRA services in contrasted to JR, sncf website sells both train and high speed rail tickets.

  10. Sean D

    At 2:40 you say the consortium was created to reduce competition between European companies … But why? Surely competition is a good thing that would drive the price down for Taiwan?

    What happened in South Korea (which was presumably bad) to inform this decision? I'd be really interested to know.

  11. 莊皓鈞

    Taiwanese here. Thank you for making this introduction video of THSR. It offers an overall high-quality service although it is not perfect. Some stations are too remote and the connecting transport to downtown surely can be improved.

  12. james au

    Why don't speak about some of the planning errors that a high-speed rail masterplan could went wrong? Taiwanese example could provide have provided lots of insight about how could a high-speed rail project went wrong. ( I list the example of flaws below) it was somehow due to the democracy where not a single bad design was not monitored.

  13. Geoffrey Liou

    Great to see Taiwan HSR featured! It was my first high speed rail experience, almost 11 years ago.

    Back then, just a few years after opening, there were even fewer transit connections and little development around the stations built outside the city centers. For example, the Taoyuan Airport MRT didn't open until 2017! But it's great to see that lots of transit-oriented development has occurred since then.

  14. R T

    How about a video on HS1 in the UK? It is only 67 miles long and connects to the channel tunnel to France. HS2 is currently being built and this will add an extra 107 miles. The UK is very late in developing proper very high speed rail, but some progress is being made!

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