ON JANUARY 12 officials in Kaohsiung attended a ceremony to mark the start of work on the city’s long-planned metro network. Mayor Frank Hsieh and Kaohsiung Rapid Transit Corp Chairman Wang Chung-Yu signed a 36-year concession contract to build and operate the first two lines, totalling 42·7 km, at a capital cost of NT$172·2bn.

Looking forward to the planned completion in 2005, Hsieh said Kaohsiung and southern Taiwan will then ’emerge from its cocoon like a butterfly’ as the metro encourages economic growth in the island’s second largest city.

KRTC has raised NT$5bn of equity capital for the first stage of construction, and this will be expanded to NT$10bn for the second stage. China Steel Corp is the largest single investor with a NT$1·5bn share; other major investors are Far Eastern Group with NT$1bn, and Siemens as the sole foreign partner with NT$500m (RG 6.00 p338).

The 28·3 km Red line will run from Kang Shan and Chiao Tou in the north to Kaohsiung Airport and Lin Hain in the south, serving 23 stations. The 14·4 km Orange line with 14 stations will connect National Sun Yat-sen University to the west of the city with Feng Shan and Ta Liao in the east. Two further routes are envisaged, known as the Blue and Brown lines (RG 3.99 p133).

  • Taipei City Council has backed proposals to build the planned Neihu line as an elevated mini-metro, forming a northeastern extension to the VAL-equipped Mucha line. The council had previously favoured building the route, first proposed in 1993, as a high capacity underground line.