Taiwan High Speed Rail (台灣高鐵, HSR )
The fastest of all train services available on Taiwan, the High Speed Rail connects the island's major cities along rail tracks independent from the standard railway, providing fast, efficient, and punctual service.
Developed on Japanese Shinkansen technology, trains can reach a top speed of 300 KM/H (185 MPH), with journey time as short as 96 minutes between Taipei and Kaohsiung.
Opened in 2007, the line has become an integral part of Taiwan's public transit system, effectively replacing many domestic flights and allowing passengers to comfortably and conveniently reach destinations along the island's west coast.
Running between Taipei and Kaohsiung, the rail service operates one line along the west coast reaching all the major cities. All train services stop at Taipei, Banqiao, Taichung, and Zuoying in Kaohsiung, while other train services may stop at varying stations.
Due to the difficulties in procuring land usage rights in developed areas, the line follows a route running slightly outside major city areas. Only the Taipei section passes through the downtown area via underground tracks parallel to the standard railway, and the Kaohsiung section runs into the northern urban neighborhood at Zuoying, where it connects to the local MRT and additional train services. In some cases, the transit time between the HSR and downtown areas may negate any time savings over standard rail or bus. For example, passengers traveling between Taichung and Tainan downtown areas may only save 10 minutes when accounting for multiple transfers as opposed to simply taking a standard train.
Train cars operating on the line are a derivative design of the 700 Series Shinkansen in usage in Japan, however are built to European safety standards and are adapted to match Taiwan's climate conditions.
Tickets are available for single rides, multi-rides for commuters, flexible tickets, and as part of mixed flexible tickets with the standard railway. Flexible tickets are not accepted on trains and require exchange for a car ticket at the window before boarding. Flexible tickets may offer discounts or promotions for foreign tourists without residency in Taiwan. Other discounts such as senior or students are only available for passengers who hold a Taiwanese-issued ID or currently valid Taiwan-issued student ID.
Discounts are available for foreign tourists via the following methods:
Advance online purchase of a flexible ticket.
Discounts are available for Taiwanese residents by usage of credit card promotions or early-bird sales.