Taiwan’s plan to build a direct rail line between Taipei and Yilan has moved one step ahead with the government announcing NT$11.5m ($350,000) for one year of the design phase for the line.

The rail route will span 48km and will cost an estimated NT$58bn over ten years.

The direct line will cut down travel time between the two destinations by half to less than 40 minutes. It will also reduce congestion at the increasingly crowded Hsuehshan tunnel.

The proposal for the line was rejected in 2006 because of environmental reasons.