ON MARCH 15 the New York-based International Chamber of Commerce ruled that Taiwan High Speed Rail Corp should pay Eurotrain, a grouping formed by Siemens of Germany and Alstom of France, US$73m in compensation for breach of contract.

The dispute arose in December 1999 (RG 3.00 p149) when THSRC announced that it had chosen the Japanese-backed Taiwan Shinkansen Consortium as the 'priority party for negotiation' for a NT$95bn package of electrical and mechanical equipment that included rolling stock. In 1997 Eurotrain had been selected as preferred bidder for the E&M work, but this was never confirmed in a formal contract.

Eurotrain sought an injunction against THSRC on January 12 2000, but this was rejected by the Taipei District Court. In February Eurotrain took its case to the High Court in Taipei, and this subsequently went to arbitration, first in Singapore and then in New York.

Edward Lin, a Senior Vice-President at THSRC, told the Taipei Times last month that 'we are still discussing with our attorneys whether we are going to accept the ruling or appeal'. He affirmed that the ruling would not affect construction of the 345 km high speed line between Taipei and Kaohsiung, where trials are due to begin in September.

  • At the end of March, the final deck span was due to be laid on THSRC's viaduct from Changwa to a point just north of Kaohsiung, completing the world's longest continuous elevated railway structure stretching over a distance of 157·3 km.