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Straight Taipei-Yilan railway line slated for 2026

TAIPEI, Taiwan -- The Railway Reconstruction Bureau (RRB) yesterday announced design plans for the new straight railway line that will connect Taipei and Yilan and is scheduled to open in 2026 at the earliest.

Currently, the only railway that connects Taipei and Yilan is the North-link line, which goes through many curves and hills. Meanwhile, an increasing number of travelers are using trains to travel to Eastern Taiwan as there tend to be traffic jams on National Freeway No. 5 during holidays.

The RRB invited local governments and experts to discuss the best route for the line and reached a final agreement to adapt the initial proposal so that it will not go through the Feitsui Reservoir.

According to the RRB, the entire railway line will be 53 kilometers in length, approximately 19 kilometers shorter than the current North-link line, and the total budget for the project will be in the region of NT$49.1 billion.

The RRB said that it will take about a year for the environmental impact assessment to be completed. If everything goes as planned, the bureau said, the line is scheduled to open in 2026.

After the railway line opens to traffic, the RRB said, railway capacity will double from the current limits and up to 4,000 passengers will be able to travel hourly.

The RRB said that the new line would save passengers who take the Tze-Chiang Limited Express 38 minutes when traveling from Taipei to Yilan.

According to the RRB, the new line will also shorten the traveling time from Taipei to Hualien from 138 minutes to 100 minutes through the Tze-Chiang Limited Express. As for passengers who take Taroko Express and Puyuma Express, the RRB said they would save about 18 minutes of traveling time.

Taipei City Government spokesman Chang Chi-chiang (張其強) related Taipei Mayor Hau Lung-bin's (郝龍斌) speech, saying that the mayor is glad to see that the new railway line will not go through the Feitsui Reservoir, helping preserve the natural environment and quality of water for all 6 million residents in Greater Taipei.

Hau also said that the final decision on the new railway design showed that the government has a high awareness of environmental protection in Taiwan.

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