Thursday, March 08, 2007

HSR at Japan Focus

Japan Focus has an informative article on the Japanese export of bullet trains to China and Taiwan, and on the similarities and differences thereof: Bullets and Trains: Exporting Japan's Shinkansen to China and Taiwan.

So why was the Shinkansen chosen in Taiwan? Japan has a strong positive image in Taiwan, although some claim that saying “I love Japan” is another way of saying “I don’t love China”. Japanese railways have a particularly positive image in Taiwan. Chiang Ping-kun, Chairman of the Council for Economic Planning and Development, suggested that the railway will be a symbol of Taiwan-Japan relations (9). Initially the European (Siemens of Germany & Alstrom of France) bid seemed to have won after a strong ‘negative campaign’ against the Shinkansen. In 1998 Europe was the ‘preferred bidder’ to provide train carriages, locomotives, signalling, electrification, communications and operational control systems. Yet there were problems with the bid such as inability to guarantee the desired level of capacity. There were also question marks as a result of the poor performance of the metro that had been constructed in Taipei by a French consortium. On top of this, the European high speed railway contained no associated offers relating to military purchases (which had been included as part of the metro decision) .

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