For the integration of planning and execution actions of the high-speed rail construction for western Taiwan, the “Provisional Engineering Office of High Speed Rail” was established in July, 1990. Next, general planning, urban project alterations, environmental impact evaluations and relevant work took place since 1991. Then, on Jan. 31, 1997, the Provisional Engineering Office of High Speed Rail” was reformed into “Bureau of High-speed Rail” (the establishment of BOHSR).
In 1997, BOHSR promulgated the invitation for private organizations to take part in the HSR project. After audition, review, selection and negotiation, BOHSR officially signed the “Taiwan HSR Construction and Operation Contract” with Taiwan High-speed Rail Company (THSRC) on Jul. 23, 1998. During the construction phase, in addition to assisting THSRC in handling various construction matters, the BOHSR conducted inspections, audits and other operations in accordance with the contract and regulations. The HSR line was then opened to traffic on Mar. 2, 2007. In December, 2015, Miaoli, Changhua and Yunlin stations joined the operation; then in July, 2016, the final additional station, Nangang Station, was brought into official operation. During this period, BOHSR continuously promoted the development of the station districts of the 5 newly opened stations. On the other hand, due to lower income from HSR operations than expected, the BOHSR assisted THSRC in two financial reforms in accordance with the government’s policy guidance, which led to the steady growth of the company’s financial performance.
In July, 1999, in response to the functional and organizational adjustments of the Taiwan Provincial Government, BOHSR was ordered to take over the business of Taiwan Taoyuan International Airport Access MRT System (TIAA MRT System); in April, 2003, BOHSR suspended the preparatory contract with Changsheng Company and changed the approach of the project into “self-construction by government”. Following the action, the planning report was ratified by the Executive Yuan on Mar. 9, 2004; by Nov. 2004, the basic design, contracting, construction, system installation and system testing operations of the project embarked; on Nov. 20, 2016, the stability test of the system was completed in which BOHSR and Taoyuan City Government co-invited the MOTC to implement final inspection; the MOTC certified operation permission to the system on Jan. 25, 2017 and the Taoyuan Metro Corporation officially started operation by Mar. 2 in the same year.
In addition, MOTC assembled the “Railways Supervision Task Force” in Jan. 2011 for the purpose of establishing a comprehensive supervision system. By utilizing the practical experience and professional skills from supervising THSRC in the past, the task force handled related supervision services to TRA, HSR, forest railways and sugar railways.
In order to cooperate with the reform of the government organization, the “Bureau of High-speed Rail” and “Railway Reconstruction Bureau” have been consolidated into the “Railway Bureau, MOTC” on June 11, 2018. The Railway Bureau will apply new perspectives and actions to implement the goals of the backbone businesses of Railway Bureau including executing the “railway constructions”, developing the “railway industry”, implementing “operational supervision”, and planning “station development”.
Looking back at the purpose of setting up the BOHSR, it not only carried out all HSR-related projects but also implemented the TIAA MRT System construction. After the opening of the HSR, the system significantly improved long-distance transportation of western Taiwan and achieved the objective of “One-day Living Circle”. In addition to providing access roads to the airport, the TIAA MRT System pioneered in the operation mode of comprising both express and commuter trains. This operation mode can not only serve domestic and foreign travelers heading to Taoyuan International Airport, but also has the function of intercity transportation and commuting.
The BOHSR has completed its phased mission. We are grateful to all senior officials for their guidance and exhortation to the bureau, and we thank the public and railway pioneers for their support and encouragement. In the near future, the Railway Bureau will combine the abundant manpower and experience of the two bureaus with a new vision and an attempt to integrate forces in business, government, academic and research into the international community, opening a brand new page for Taiwan's railway industry.