Taipei Metro Yellow (Circular) Line
About the Circular Line ---- The idea of a Circular Line for the Taipei Mass Rapid Transit system was first conceived way back in the late 1980s, but it took almost 30 years for it to be launched into operation when its first section was officially opened to passengers on January 31, 2020. The Circular Line was originally proposed as a Build-Operate-Transfer (BOT) project with a private sector entity implementing the project and then transferring it to the government. However, after difficulties engaging a suitable private contractor and a careful consideration of all relevant factors, in 2006 the government decided to build the line itself with Taipei City government as the project owner. As the line’s route lies both in Taipei and New Taipei city, the project calls for close collaboration of all public agencies and actors involved in it.
The line is a hugely ambitious and potentially transformative project for the entire north Taiwan’s public transportation network; as such it is expected to generate a number of considerable advantages to Taiwan’s transport, general connectivity, and economy. Upon completion, the Yellow Line, as it is also called, is envisioned to be 49.2 km long with 42 stations, essentially becoming the now-missing critical connecting link for all other MRT lines, as well as, very importantly, other modes of transport, such as High Speed Rail, traditional rail, bus and bike sharing routes, etc.
The many benefits of its creation will include a much more integrated and inclusive public transportation network of the entire north Taiwan area, covering virtually all districts of its municipalities. It will strongly enhance the quality of life for local residents, stimulate logistical connectivity and thus contribute to economic and social growth, improve the urban environment and reduce pollution and carbon footprint by optimizing traffic flows.
Phases 1 and 2 ---- The newly opened Phase 1 is 15.4 km long, and has 14 stations and one depot located in the Shisizhang Station area. All stations except Dapingling Station are elevated. The western section starts at Dapingling Station in New Taipei’s Xindian district, connecting with the Songshan–Xindian line, and continues west passing first the Zhonghe–Xinlu line, and then the Bannan line where it allows transfers to HSR and TRA, and finally to the Zhonghe–Xinlu line, before connecting with the Taoyuan Airport MRT at New Taipei Industrial Park Station. Construction of Phase 1 started in 2009 and was completed in late 2019, with pre-launch testing and trial runs continuing into 2020.
Parallel with the completion of Phase 1, work has been continuing on the north and south sections of the Circular Line, which will become extensions of Phase 1. Feasibility study was completed in 2014, planning in 2019, and design in 2020, with construction currently expected to start in 2021. The south section will be 5.73 km in length with six underground stations, and the north section – 14.93 km with 12 underground stations and one depot.
As the Circular Line passes through areas with very high building density, the design of the stations and viaducts has to be as compact and economic as possible, blending in with the urban environment and making the best use of the available space, as envisioned by the concept of Transit Oriented Development which was very much on the planners’ minds when conceiving the Line. Thus, many stations of Phase 1, including Jingping Station, Zhonghe, Xiulang Bridge, Qiaohe, Xinpu Minsheng, and others, are combined with the so-called “joint development buildings”. All stations are equipped with unobstructed access equipment for the disabled and various other necessary features and facilities to make them maximally usable for various categories of passengers.
Design of the line is compact and minimalistic, with a prevalence of light, moderately bright colors, (silvery white and grey, light pink, yellow), and stations featuring more intense colors – such as green for the Shisizhang, Zhonghe and Xiulang Bridge Stations, or orange for the Jingan and Banxin Stations. Each station has its own theme, featuring positive concepts that promote urban coexistence and integration, like “Communication”, “Creation”, “Happiness”, “Life”, “Flight”, etc.
The viaducts are equipped with acoustic barriers to minimize noise pollution, and some of the stations, such as Banqiao and New Taipei Industrial Park Station, have solar panels installed on the roofs.
The work on the Circular Line will continue for many more years, requiring continuing dedication and professionalism from everyone involved. But CECI’s engineers are confident that their contribution will make the city much more efficient, balanced, and livable.
The Circular Line: a Finishing Touch for a True Integration
For the past decade, Taipei Metro’s Yellow (Circular) Line has been among CECI’s priority projects, with the company dedicating a large amount of manpower and effort to this momentous undertaking. The line passes through Taipei and New Taipei cities and is notionally divided into four sections by their geographic locations – the west (known as Phase 1, marked yellow), north and south (sometimes collectively referred to as Phase 2, marked grey) and east sections.
CECI’s extensive and wide-ranging involvement with the project began in 2008-2009 with engineering and trackwork design for Phase 1. The task involved the design of multiple stations and alignment sections and presented a number of challenges, such as crowded elevated structures, congested construction space, difficulties in traffic maintenance, a tight project schedule, and others. CECI was also contracted to assist with the land development and investor solicitation for a number of stations of this section. In 2012, CECI was commissioned by Taipei City Government’s Department of Rapid Transit Systems to conduct a feasibility study and, later, engineering design for the north and south sections (Phase 2) of the Line. And more recently, CECI has also been selected by the city as the consultant to provide comprehensive planning and land development advice for the east section.