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TRA takes delivery of 16 new train cars

The China Post news staff--The first batch of 16 new tilting train cars, named Puyuma (普悠瑪號), purchased by the Taiwan Railways Administration (TRA) from Japan arrived at the Keelung Harbor yesterday morning, and are scheduled to be operated along the east coast in February after undergoing three months of trial run, according to TRA officials.

TRA director general Fan Tzu-ku said his company has purchased a total of 136 Puyuma tilting train cars from Japan at a total cost of NT$10.6 billion, with the remaining 120 cars to be delivered in two batches in May and August, respectively.

Fan told reporters that the Taiwan version of the train is splashed red in front, and shows a distinct TRA logo. The trains, which use light aluminum alloy frames, won't have to slow down when passing through bending railway sections.

Inside the train cars, there are baby nursing rooms, multifunction circular arc toilets, and small desks on which passengers will be able to use their smartphones and tablets, said Fan.

The new cars will be operated as Tzu Chiang (自強號) express trains running on the eastern railway, with ticket prices remaining the same as those for the existing Tzi Chiang trains serving the Taipei-Hualien-Taitung route, the TRA head said.

He noted that the 16 Puyuma train cars delivered yesterday will start to serve the Taipei-Hualien railway section during the Chinese New Year holidays after undergoing three months of test run.

With the electrification of the eastern railway slated for completion by the end of 2013, all 136 Puyuma tilting train cars are expected to operate on the Taipei-Hualien-Taitung railway system starting on Chinese New Year, early 2014, according to a TRA plan.

Under the plan, the number of regular daily Taipei-Hualien Tzu Chiang train services will be increased from the existing 14 to 48, with the interval for the trains shortened to 40 minutes from the current 137 minutes. On weekends or holidays, the daily Tzu Chiang train services will be boosted further to 54, with the interval cut to 36 minutes.

Meanwhile, the regular daily Taipei-Taitung Tzu Chiang train services will be expanded to 24 from the existing 14, with the interval to be reduced to 70 minutes from 120 minutes. On weekends and holidays, the daily Tzu Chaing services for the route will be raised further to 26, with the interval to be cut to 65 minutes.

In addition, the Taipei-Taitung trip will take only three and a half hours, compared to four hours for the existing Tzu Chiang trains.

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The first batch of 16 new tilting train cars, named Puyuma (普悠瑪號), purchased by the Taiwan Railways Administration (TRA) from Japan arrived at the Keelung Harbor yesterday morning, and are scheduled to be operated along the east coast in February after undergoing three months of trial run, according to TRA officials.

(CNA)

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