HSR from Taichung to Taipei

Train arrives at Taizhong HSR Station

It is almost a year since Taiwan’s High Speed Rail system opened. Last night I took the 5:16 train from Taichung up to Taipei and made it to my evening class at NCCU with time to spare. The furtherest I’d been on the HSR before was from Taipei to Hsinchu.

Taxis lined up at the Taichung HSR Station

You should have no trouble getting a taxi at the Taichung HSR Station.

almost empty reserved seating car of the HSR in Taiwan

The reserved seating car was almost empty. There seemed to be plenty in the non-reserved car though where tickets are sold at a 20% discount.

Menu and shopping catalogue on the Taiwan High Speed Rail

There are now menus and shopping catalogues in the seat pockets. It’s just like travelling on an aeroplane. There are simple meals available for NT$100 and the snacks and drinks are reasonably priced. The HSR souvenirs are a little expensive though. The HSR staff in their distinctive orange uniforms provide friendly service.

15 thoughts on “HSR from Taichung to Taipei

  1. They can’t cut back the number of trains because it is stipulated by the government in its contract with the THSRC. The imminent opening of the Kaohsiung MRT should boost the numbers of passengers a bit.

  2. I consider myself a fan of Taiwan’s HSR except for those ridiculous terminals out in the boonies. And oh yeah, the stop at 板橋 is the most useless and ill-conceived in the history of hi-speed transit.

  3. Next time you stop in Banqiao just remember that more people live in Taipei County than in Taipei City. The Banqiao station serves more people than stations like Tainan, Xinzhu and Jiayi.

    As for the stations being out in the boonies I understand that it is a problem at the moment. However, I think in a few years, development around the stations will make them seem more like destinations and not so much like being out in the countryside. Also completion of rail links like the Shalun line, Taichung MRT and Neiwan extension will make getting to the nearest city centre a lot more convenient. The HSR system is still very much in its infancy. I think we need to wait a few more years before we can really judge its success.

  4. Next time you stop in Banqiao just remember that more people live in Taipei County than in Taipei City. The Banqiao station serves more people than stations like Tainan, Xinzhu and Jiayi.

    That’s why Banqiao is connected to the city by the MRT. For an HSR to make a stop just eight minutes from it terminus at Taipei station strikes me as somewhat absurd and wasteful.

    As for the stations in the countryside, I’ll have to see it to believe it. I remain convinced that people buying a ticket to Gaoxiong actually want to go to Gaoxiong, not Zuoying. Same for Tainan and Taizhong. If they want to develop these rural areas into suburbs, then I think the light rail lines you mention are the way to do it.

  5. Or, you could just as easily argue that people in Taipei could take the MRT to Banciao. Seeing as how 5 million live in Taipei, and 7 million in Taipei County, I think it makes great sense to have both stops. Moreover, I doubt the underground portion allows high speeds, so it’s not adding that much time.

  6. I love high speed rail. Yes it is a bit inconvenient that the stations are out in the boonies and you do have to pay a high cab fare to get anywhere. However, the architecture of the buildings and convenience of HSR makes up for the out of the way location. David your photos are fantastic!

  7. Like I said the Banqiao Station serves a very large population. In the future when the MRT orbital line is complete it will be an even more important transportation hub for the Greater Taipei area.

    The total time for the stop would be around two minutes anyway. Are you really in that much of a hurry?

    You should worry yourself more about the future stations in Miaoli or Yunlin. Are they necessary? Perhaps not, but I think they are important to ensure that the rural areas of Taiwan don’t get left behind with development becoming ever more concentrated in just a few major centres.

    They do have plans to build a HSR Station in Kaohsiung. Zuoying will very soon have the MRT which will make it much more convenient to connect to Kaohsiung anyway.

  8. not that I’m in such a hurry, just that it is anticlimactic and pointless to have a stop a mere 8 minutes from where the line begins/ends. If you factor in the braking of the train into Banqiao with the 2 and a half minute stop, I think it just makes more sense to eliminate it -better off just going full steam ahead. Maybe Banqiao serves a large population, but I’ve taken the HSR several times, and I’ve seen very few people get on and off there.

    I’ve looked at maps of the anticipated orbital line, and again, there is easy access to Taipei Main Station. I fail to see the logic behind this stop for an HSR system.

    Do Miaoli or Yunlin deserve stops? If they would only be on a ‘non-express’ kind of HSR, then perhaps yes, because the first lies almost halfway between Taipei and Taichung, the second between Taichung and Chiayi. In any event, they make way more sense than the Banqiao stop. I would hope most trains, though, are expresses to/from Gaoxiong, Tainan, Chiayi, Taichung, Xinzhu and Taipei.

    And as far as the Gaoxiong HSR goes, they just should’ve put the station there from the get go and concentrated on an MRT extension to Zuoying, especially since the HSR is eventually going to wind up at Gaoxiong Main Station anyway.

  9. Benjamin, I think your population figures are a bit high. It is around 2.6 million for Taipei City and 3.7 million for Taipei County.

  10. I’m a huge fan of HSR, maybe because I live 10 mins from Taizhong HSR station. I rarely take TRA trains anymore, except for short trips.

    A friend of mine lives near the Zouying station and has seen the value of his apartment go up 20% in the past year since the HSR opened.

    At Taizhong, there is now a free shuttle bus from the station to the SOGO area (which seems to be the new downtown). It’s pretty much a straight run up Wenxin Rd, and I’d guess takes the same time to get to SOGO from the HSR as it does from the TRA.

  11. I like the HSR as well, but I haven’t taken it that much in the last year. I love the stations though, they are really nice and impressive.

    I like the picture with the cabs. That’s a lot of cabs!

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  13. According to an article in the Daily Yomiuri, only about 55,000 to 60,000 passengers a day are riding Taiwan’s shinkansen, which is half the number needed for THSR to make a profit.

    Stations in places like Miaoli or Yunlin could help in developing rural areas. On the other hand, they could also serve to pull more young people into the big cities like Taipei and Kaohsiung, where jobs are more plentiful.

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