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Expansion of Metro New Taipei – Danhai Light Rail

Metro New Taipei actually is a modern light rail which is using low-floor tramcars | © C. Moore

Is it a tram or is it a metro?

Almost two years ago, a new transport system was opened in the Greater Taipei area, Taiwan’s capital city: The Metro New Taipei, also referred to as Danhai Light Rail.

Actually this new urban rail service is a mixture of a modern low-floor tramway system with some characteristics of a heavier metro operation. The first line connects with Taipei’s metro system at its terminus Hongshulin and uses an elevated alignment during the first 5.2 km up to Tamsui District Office, while the remainder of the 7.4 km long, first line to Kanding is at grade with level crossings. This first “Green Mountain Line” started revenue service on 24 December 2018. On 15 November 2020, a 2.4 km long branch route was opened between Binhai Shalun and Tamsui Fisherman’s Wharf. The new “Blue Coast Line” operates between this area and Hongshulin – the common section from Hongshulin to Binhai Shalun is served by both lines every 7.5 minutes with trains running alternatively to Kanding and Tamsui Fisherman’s Wharf.

The new branch line | © Metro New Taipei Press

15 modern low-floor articulated tramway vehicles provide the service on the Danhai Light Rail. They were built by Taiwan Rolling Stock Co., Ltd. in cooperation with Voith Engineering Services from Germany. They are 34.45m long, 2.65m wide and offer a capacity of up to 265 passengers, of which 62 can be seated. The design of these very first light rail vehicles built in Taiwan is 100% low-floor. As some shorter sections along both lines are catenary-free, the vehicles are equipped with an onboard energy storage system using lithium batteries on streches of the route without installed 750V overhead lines.

Currently, there are only two modern light rail / tramway systems operating in Taiwan, the other one being located in Kaohsiung. CAF Urbos tramcars provide the service in Kaohsiung since 2015. Both systems are considered to be quite a success, and it is not unlikely that we will see additional light rail systems become reality in the near future.

In Greater Taipei, four more light rail lines are planned for the near future, the Wugu Taishan Light Rail, Shenkeng Light Rail, Taishan Banqiao Light Rail and the Bali Light Rail, with a total length of about 35 km.

A map of Greater Taipei’s metro and light rail network can be found here: http://www.urbanrail.net/as/tw/taip/taipei-taoyuan-metro-map.htm

Elevated track | © C. Moore
High passenger demand not only on the very first days | © C. Moore
Elevated track and station | © Metro New Taipei Press
Entrance to Hongshulin terminus | © C. Moore
Station Binhai Yishan at street level | © C. Moore
Taiwanese low-floor light rail vehicles | © C. Moore
© Metro New Taipei Press
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