Taipei Metro Rapid-Transit Network is the first metro system in Taiwan.

The Taipei Metro network is operated by Taipei Rapid Transit Corporation (TRTC), is 90.5km long and connects 82 stations in the region. The length is expected to be eventually increased to 100km as the population expands. TRTC was established in 1994 while the rapid transit system began its operations in 1996.

Taipei is the largest city in Taiwan with a population of about 2.6 million. In addition to the mass rapid transit system, Taipei’s public transport service includes buses, Taiwan Railway and Taiwan High Speed Rail. Taipei has a modern, efficient and environmentally-sound light rail transit system.

The Taipei Metropolitan Area has 16 surrounding townships covering 857km². Taipei Metro covers this area by carrying up to 30,000 passengers per hour.

The project

The initial network plan of the project was approved by the Executive Yuan in May 1986.

The Taipei Metro project is being carried out in phases; the first phase of the project was completed in 2000 while the second and third phases are in the approval and proposal stages respectively.

The total cost of the first phase of the project is $18bn while the estimated cost of the second phase of the project is $13.8bn.

Taipei Metro has medium and high-capacity transit systems, and depending on the demand for transport it selects either of the systems for operations.

The Wenshan-Neihu line is a medium capacity system (MCS) while the other lines are high capacity systems (HCS). The first HCS line was Danshui.

Line routes

The initial transit network was planned to have six lines, of which five are conventional lines mainly underground, and one is an automated elevated light rail metro line. The number of lines was, later, increased to eight. The eight lines are: Wenshan-Neihu, Danshui, Zhonghe, Xiaonanmen, Xindian, Nangang, Banqiao and Tucheng lines.

“The Taipei Metro network is operated by Taipei Rapid Transit Corporation, is 90.5km long and connects 82 stations in the region.”

A 10.5km Muzha line that connects 12 stations was opened in 1996. It is an automated line on elevation which uses Matra Transportation’s VAL technology, as used in Chicago, Lille and Orly. One of the terminals of the Muzha line is Wenshan. Neihu line, which is an extension to Muzha line was opened in 2009. The 14.7km line connects 12 stations. The entire Muzha-Neihu (called the Wenshan-Neihu line) line is 25.2km long and connects the Taipei Nangang Exhibition Center and Taipei Zoo with Zhongshan Junior High School as the common point.

The 23.5km Danshui line connects 22 stations. It was opened in 1998, however, a branch of the same line called the Xinbeitou branch line was opened in 1997. The line has Danshui and CKS Memorial Hall stations as terminals, while the branch connects Xinbeitou and Beitou.

The 5.4km Zhonghe line was opened in 1998. It connects four stations and has Guting and Nanshijiao as the terminals.

The 10.3km Xindian line, which connects 11 stations, was opened in 1999, while its 1.9km Xiaobitan branch line was opened in 2004. The Xindian line connects Chiang Kai-Shek (CKS) Memorial Hall and Xindian stations and the branch connects Qizhang and Xiaobitan stations.

The Nangang and Banqiao (Bannan) lines were opened in 1999 and connect Kunyang and Xinpu stations to Ximen station. Nangang is 10.8km long and connects 12 stations while Banqiao is 7.2km long and connects five stations. 1.6km branch line Xiaonanmen, which has Ximen, a terminus of Banqiao, and CKS Memorial Hall as the terminals, was opened in 2000. The 1.5km extension line Nangang Eastern Extension was opened in 2008 and connects Kunyang and Nangang.

The 5.5km Tucheng Line, which connects four stations, was opened in 2006. It has Xinpu and Yongning stations as terminals.

Infrastructure

Nearly all of the network is on an elevated structure with reinforced concrete pavement to avoid affecting traffic flow at grade level. Stations are rich in traditional Chinese motifs, with underground stations being fitted with automatic sliding platform-edge doors which open as a train stops.

All the MCS platforms are of the side type and island type while the HCS platforms are of the single side type, island type, double-level single side type, double-level island type or composite type.

All the MCS platforms have screen doors while the Taipei Main and Zhongxiao Fuxing stations of HCS have screen doors.

Rolling stock

The developers of Matra-Siemens’ VAL concept devised a high-capacity variant, the VAL256, suiting the needs of densely populated Taipei well. The systems also integrated the C371, C301 and C321 cars for heavy-capacity systems. The C371 and C301 cars are from Kawasaki and its subsidiary URC while the C321 is from Siemens. The C341 class from Siemens is used for the Banqiao, Nangang and Tucheng lines.

The fleet/rolling stock of Taipei Metro is different for medium-capacity and high-capacity systems. In a medium-capacity system each train consists of four cars formed by two married pairs of two cars each, while the high-capacity system consists of six cars of two three-car electrical multiple units.

Each MCS car accommodates 105 passengers while each HCS train accommodates about 1,669. The maximum speed of the locomotives used by both the systems is 80km/h and has a level access from platform to train. The trains run on rubber tyres, rather than the more usual steel wheels.

“TRTC has set 2021 as the target year for the completion of a long-term network to expand the initial network.”

Signalling and communications

Harmon Control & Information Systems Inc received a sub-contract from General Railway Signal Corporation (GRS) to supply an Automatic Train Supervision (ATS) system, covering the Nankang, Panchiao (Banqiao) and Tucheng lines.

Harmon provided a system composed of front-end processors, fault tolerant central processors and multiple workstations. The Taipei Blue Line ATS system is designed for high reliability and availability, as well as for ease of expansion for future line extensions.

The entire operation of the line is computerised, fully automated, and driverless. A built-in safety-orientation mechanism ensures passenger safety. Trains can be operated manually by the driver with signal direction when necessary.

Platform edges are fitted with clear screen doors. Control systems programme each train to stop at each station for 18 seconds.

The future

TRTC has set 2021 as the target year for the completion of a long-term network to expand the initial network to include the Hsinyi line, Sungshan line, Hsinchuang line, Luchou extension line, a medium-capacity orbital line, eastward extension from the Nankang line, and to Tamhai New Town around Danshui.

The Taipei Metropolitan Area has 16 surrounding townships covering 857km² which will be serviced by the completed network of trains, will carry up to 30,000 passengers per hour.