The railway infrastructure component of the Forward-looking Infrastructure Development Program will support Taiwan's growth for the next 30 years through comprehensive planning for the nation's rail systems, including main trunk lines, inter-city services and intra-city rail. Running from 2017 to 2021, the plan has been divided into three terms with NT$16.6 billion (US$538 million) budgeted for the first term (September 2017 to December 2018) and NT$41.6 billion (US$1.3 billion) for the second (2019 to 2020). A total of 38 projects in five areas will be implemented. The objective is to bring seamless connections and user-friendly features to Taiwan's railway system to make travel easier, safer and more reliable, which in turn will create industrial opportunities, enhance the appeal of rail tourism, and ensure sustainable operations.
Five goals for railway infrastructure
■ Link the high speed and conventional rail systems into an integrated network: Improve transfer services between conventional and high speed rail stations. Assess the feasibility of extending the high speed rail farther south to Pingtung.
■ Upgrade conventional railways, improve services in eastern Taiwan: Complete electrification of the round-the-island railway system. Construct dual tracks along the entire Hualien-Taitung line and integrate ticketing systems in order to increase the line's capacity. Improve service quality on the conventional rail system.
■ Elevate or move tracks underground, speed up commuter services: Remove level crossings in urban areas to promote more efficient use of land and general development. Shorten conventional rail commuting times. Expand transfer capabilities along urban stretches, and integrate regional services of conventional and high speed rail systems.
■ Promote urban mass rapid transit: Provide seamless, quality rail transport services to alleviate traffic congestion in urban areas. Introduce a "tram-train" rail system to extend service to more areas.
■ Build tourism-oriented rail systems for central and southern Taiwan: Combine railway transportation with tourism travel to boost tourism and local businesses. Improve facilities on branch lines and ensure service quality on those lines.