TAIPEI City Government's metro construction subsidiary Department of Rapid Transit Systems has awarded contracts for construction of the 14·8 km automated Neihu line, serving the northeast of the city. The US$1bn design-and-build contract has been awarded to Kung Sing Engineering Corp, which has in turn subcontracted the E&M works valued at C$763m to Bombardier Transportation.

The Neihu line forms an end-on extension of the existing 11 km Mucha (Brown) line, which opened in 1996 using VAL technology. Taipei Mayor Ma Ying-Jeou participated in groundbreaking ceremonies for the extension on May 23 last year. The line is expected to open in three stages between mid-2007 and early 2008.

The line starts from the elevated Mucha line's northern terminus at Chungshan Middle School and runs north along Fuhsing North Road. It then turns east and runs underground below the domestic Sungshan Airport, returning to an elevated alignment at Bei-an Road. Continuing via Neihu Road and Kangning Road, it will terminate at Nankang Economic & Trade Park, where it will interchange with an eastern extension of the Nankang (Blue) line. There will be 12 stations.

Bombardier is to supply all the E&M systems for the Neihu line, including power supplies, communications, platform screen doors and workshop and control centre equipment. It will also build 202 new cars, of which 60 must be ready for opening of the first stage. The line will be equipped with Bombardier's Flexiblok automatic train control equipment, which will also be retrofitted to 102 cars and 12 stations on the Mucha line.