OVER 200 guests attended ceremonies at Kawasaki's Hyogo works in Kobe on January 30 to mark the roll-out of the first Series 700T trainset for Taiwan High Speed Rail Corp.

Among the VIPs were THSRC Chairman Nita Ing, Taiwan's Transport Minister Lin Ling-san and former Japanese Transport Minister Chikage Ogi, the Chairman of the seven-company Taiwan Shinkansen Corp joint venture Kazuo Sato, President of Kawasaki Heavy Industries Masamoto Tazaki, and the Presidents of JR Central and JR West, Yoshiyuki Kasai and Takeshi Kakiuchi.

Members of TSC are Mitsubishi Heavy Industries Ltd, Toshiba Corp, Kawasaki Heavy Industries Ltd, Mitsui & Co Ltd, Mitsubishi Corp, Marubeni Corp, and Sumitomo Corp.

Ing described the four-car trainset as a New Year's gift to the people of Taiwan, and an important milestone on the path to opening the Taipei - Kaohsiung line.

The 700T is derived from the Series 700 trainsets used by JR Central and JR West. Each trainset will have 11 standard class cars with 2+3 seating to accommodate 923 passengers and one business class vehicle seating 66 in a 2+2 layout. Nine cars will be motored. The nose is 1m shorter than the Japanese version, and more rounded. The livery is white with orange and black stripes.

The THSRC trainsets must meet different specifications and legal requirements, leading to changes in the air-conditioning, safety equipment such as smoke detectors and fire extinguishers, and fire-retardant materials for seating and interior trim. Also different are the cab, luggage space, toilets and handrails.

The total fleet will comprise 30 trainsets, and Kawasaki says work is about 60% complete. The first set is due to be shipped to Taiwan in May, and to start test running on a 60 km section near Kaohsiung in September.

THSRC expects to launch 300 km/h commercial services at the end of October 2005, covering the 315 km between Taipei and Tsoying station near Kaohsiung in about 90 min, with one stop at Taichung. TRA's current fastest schedule on its west coast route is around 4h 30min.

  • CAPTION: Standard class seating in the driving car is arranged in a 2+3 layout Photos: Mikio Miura