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Cablegate: High-Speed Rail Hopes for Christmas Certification

VZCZCXRO3699
RR RUEHCN RUEHGH RUEHVC
DE RUEHIN #4112 3470953
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
R 130953Z DEC 06
FM AIT TAIPEI
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 3428
INFO RUEHOO/CHINA POSTS COLLECTIVE
RUEAIIA/CIA WASHDC
RHEFDIA/DIA WASHINGTON DC
RUCPDOC/DEPT OF COMMERCE WASHDC
RUEATRS/DEPT OF TREASURY WASHDC

UNCLAS TAIPEI 004112

SIPDIS

SENSITIVE
SIPDIS

STATE FOR EAP/TC
COMMERCE FOR 3132/USFCS/OIO/EAP/WZARIT
TREASURY FOR OASIA/LMOGHTADER

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: ELTN ECON TW
SUBJECT: HIGH-SPEED RAIL HOPES FOR CHRISTMAS CERTIFICATION

REF: TAIPEI 3687

1. (U) Summary: After two derailments in November, the
earliest date Taiwan's high-speed rail can receive
authorization from the Taiwan authorities to begin
operations is December 25. End summary.

2. (U) After a series of technical setbacks, Taiwan's
high-speed rail project has again delayed its opening.
Test trains derailed on November 2 and November 24.
Neither incident caused injuries or major damage, but
both were widely reported in the media and elicited
public concern. In response to the accidents, the
Ministry of Transportation and Communications (MOTC)
High-Speed Rail Inspection Review Committee imposed new
requirements on the Taiwan High-Speed Rail Corporation
(THRSC).

3. (SBU) According to MOTC High-Speed Rail Bureau Section
Chief Allen Hu, the committee imposed two major
requirements. First, the high-speed rail must successful
run test trains for a full month with no accidents.
Second, it must conduct daily test runs of its rush hour
schedule for two weeks with no accidents. Hu explained
the one-month period for accident free testing started
from the November 24 derailment. The earliest date it
can fulfill the requirement is December 24. He said
THSRC had begun the rush hour tests on December 7,
running 9 trains between 10:00 and 11:30 am and one train
per hour the rest of the day. If no accidents occur, the
two-week rush hour test period will conclude December 21.
Hu believes that THSRC should be able to meet both
requirements. If it does, MOTC will be able to approve
certification as early as December 25, the first work day
after the conclusion of the test period.

4. (SBU) THSRC had scheduled an opening ceremony for the
high-speed rail on December 7. It also planned a two-
week promotional period during which it would invite
selected guests to ride the new train free of charge.
Public relations staff at THSRC informed AIT that the
opening ceremony had been cancelled with no plans to
reschedule it. THSRC was not able to provide any
information about what kind of promotional operations it
might conduct before regular operations commence.
YOUNG

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