Taiwan Railways - Train (台灣鐵路 )
The standard railway operator on Taiwan, Taiwan Railways provides intercity services for all metropolitan areas, as well as services to more remote destinations around the island.
The primary lines operate in a ring shape around the island, and branch lines operate as spurs off the main lines as shuttle lines or into more rural areas.
Locations such as Keelung, Fulong, Jiufen, Pingxi, and Hualien are best accessed by train services. Destinations along the west coast may be more quickly accessed by the High Speed Rail or intercity bus.
The main train classes operating along train lines include, from fastest to slowest: Puyuma (普悠瑪) and Taroko (太魯閣), followed by Tze-chiang (自強), Chu-kuang (莒光), Fu-hsin (復興), Fast local (區間快), to the Local (區間) trains which stop at all stations. Faster trains also run as express services which may skip select stations.
Puyuma and Taroko trains are classified as Tze-chiang for fare calculation, however are more focused on limited-stop express services with speeds up to 150KM/h (93 MPH) and 130 KM/h (81 MPH), respectively. Both of these train classes are reservation only, and have assigned seating.
Express services running east from Taipei to Hualien are in high demand and generally difficult to reserve. Alternate slower train classes are available, although also generally in high demand. Local trains may always be taken as a last resort.
Discount fares may be available for foreign tourists by usage of rail passes or flexible tickets. Discounts are automatically applied for passengers utilizing an Easycard (or other IC card such as iPass, etc.). Other discounts such as senior or student fares are only available for passengers holding a Taiwanese-issued ID or currently-valid Taiwan-issued student ID.
IC cards such as Easycard may be used within the train system in place of a reserved ticket. Passengers may simply enter the station by using the IC card at the station gate, however do not have reserved seats. IC card passengers are not allowed to board Puyuma or Taroko Express trains, and may only ride on other trains as passengers without a seat assignment, also known as a 'standing ticket'. If a 'standing ticket' passenger sits in a vacant seat, then a passenger appears with that seat number reserved, the IC card passenger is required to vacate the seat. IC cards provide convenience to passengers as well as a small discount. For longer distance rides, assigned seat tickets are recommended for comfort.
While riding the train, be sure to not lose the ticket! Tickets must be presented on both entry to and exit from the platform areas. Passengers that lose their tickets must pay a penalty equaling the maximum fare along the line to exit the station as the railway has no way of knowing where the passenger originally boarded without a ticket as proof. Passengers who have purchased the wrong ticket can easily adjust their fare at stations or with staff members on the train before exiting at the destination.