Taipei, Taiwan (Urban Transport News): The national rail operator Taiwan High Speed Rail has recently announced plans to buy 12 of Japan’s latest model of Shinkansen bullet train for US$935 million.
The Taiwan High Speed Rail said it expected to conclude a deal with Central Japan Railways in the next few days. The proposal which was initiated by a consortium led by Hitachi Rail STS and Toshiba, settled after protracted negotiations over pricing and other issues.
The high speed rail procurement deal was originally expected to have been closed four years ago in 2018. However, the Taiwan government had concerns that the cost of the 16-coach bullet trainsets was higher than it would have been for a Japanese purchaser. This was due to modifications that had to be made to meet Taiwanese specifications.
The agreement was finally reached after Taiwan High Speed Rail accepted the higher costs. “We made our decision after taking into account a wide range of factors, including safety, technology, operation and pricing,” the company said.
In 2007, Taiwan High Speed Rail became the first non-Japanese rail operator to adopt the Shinkansen system. Taiwan High Speed Rail currently operates 700T trains, based on the 700 series. The new trains will be the N700S (the “S” stands for “supreme”).
This series was developed from the N700 design, but will incorporate a number of new and advanced features. These include refinements to the automatic train control and braking systems to enable shorter braking distances.
An optimised underfloor equipment layout also allows the same standard design to be used for different coach configurations. This is intended to make the train easier to export.