TAIWAN: Two more sections of the 22·1 km circular light rail line under construction in Kaohsiung were opened for passenger service on January 12, increasing the operational length to 12·8 km and adding a further nine stops.

Intended to form a complete loop around the city with 37 stops, the catenary-free line has been under construction since 2013.

Trial service began on a short section near the Cianjhen tram depot in October 2015, between Lizihnei and an interchange to the Red Line at Kaisyuan. The route was subsequently expanded in 2017 over the alignment of the former Kaohsiung Harbour Railway, with services operating between Lizihnei and Hamasen, near the Orange Line metro terminus at Sizihwan, serving 14 stops.


The latest extensions add three more stops in the northwest, between Hamasen and Gushan District Office, plus the eastern side of the loop from Lizihnei to Kaisyuan Park, with six more stops. Construction of the northern section of the ring and the final 14 stops could not begin until the Taiwan Railways Administration main line through the city had been moved underground, freeing up the former surface alignment for redevelopment.

To celebrate the opening of the second phase, Kaohsiung’s Mass Rapid Transit Bureau is offering free travel on the entire line until the end of February, rather than its standard flat fare of NT$10 for smart card users and NT$30 for paper tickets. KMRT Director Wu Yei-long said this would enable citizens to familiarise themselves with light rail, and encourage people visiting Kaohsiung during the Lunar New Year to sample the line.

To work the expanded route, KMRT has put into service the first of 15 Alstom Citadis 305 low-floor trams procured to augment the nine CAF Urbos vehicles used on the initial phase.

Each vehicle is fitted with a roof-mounted Ecopack energy storage module and a catenary-free charging system compatible with the existing infrastructure.

The cars are powered by permanent magnet motors, and have an optimised heating, ventilation and air-conditioning to reduce energy consumption by around 25%. The low-floor vehicles have large double doors to improve accessibility and speed boarding and alighting.

Assembled at Alstom’s La Rochelle plant in France, the Citadis X05 cars have safety systems from Aix-en-Provence, bogies from Le Creusot, motors from Ornans, traction controls from Tarbes, interior fittings from Valenciennes and onboard electronics from Villeurbanne. The Citadis Ecoswitch on-board power supply system was produced at Vitrolles, with Alstom’s Sesto plant in Italy also providing some traction equipment.

‘Kaohsiung is the first city in Asia to adopt the Citadis X05’, said Olivier Loison, Managing Director of Alstom China & East Asia. ‘We look forward to contributing to the green modernisation of its public transport network, while ensuring that its aesthetic appeal is preserved. Thanks to their efficiency, availability and simplified maintenance, the Citadis trams represent a major change in terms of capacity, reliability and comfort for the city’s transport system.’