Residents across downtown Kaohsiung awoke on Sunday to an unfamiliar silence.

After roughly seven decades, the sights and sounds Taiwan Rail Administration – or TRA – trains are history … after the completion of a near-decade-long project. From New Zuoying to Fongshan, Kaohsiung TRA train lines now run underground, freeing the city from noise and traffic jams; while opening up new possibilities for land developers.

Begun in 2009, the mega project included adding or relocating 10 TRA stops, meaning commuters can now use the TRA like an MRT. Those living near the Kaohsiung Art Museum, for example, no longer need to trek to the city’s MRT Red Line, as several underground TRA stations are now within walking distance.

The new the TRA line connects to New Zuoying for the High-Speed Rail or Kaohsiung Main Station for other options, but despite the additional stations and stops, the eastward journey to neighboring Pingtung City will require less than 10 minutes more, officials explained, as lines are now electrified, and after Fongshan, elevated.

Numerous journalists and TRA enthusiasts clamored to film or board the departure of final TRA aboveground train just before 11 PM in Kaohsiung on Saturday and then came silence. A few hours later on Sunday morning, rail lines began operating again – this time underground.

The 15+ kilometer strip of former rail lines is now slated to turn into jogging and cycling paths, a green corridor and space for development …  soon, the many bridges that crossed the line will begin to be demolished as the city’s rail traffic becomes quieter, safer, less-polluting and more convenient.


photos source: Executive Yuan