Taiwan High-Speed Rail Corporation (THSR), the country's high-speed railway service operator, has announced that it will buy 12 train sets from a Japanese consortium consisting of Hitachi and Toshiba in a deal worth $932 million. The deal was concluded after a protracted negotiation lasting over four years.
Taiwan's high-speed railway service consists of one line that runs approximately 350 km along the west coast, from the capital Taipei to the southern city of Kaohsiung. It opened in 2007.
The service was the first overseas deployment of Japan's Shinkansen technologies. All of the high-speed trains in operation there were made by Japanese manufacturers.
While THSR currently operates 700T trains, the new trains will be based on the N700S series. The N700S series is a Shinkansen high-speed train with tilting capability operated by JR Central and JR West on the Tokaido and San'yō Shinkansen lines since 2020 and JR Kyushu on the Nishi Kyushu Shinkansen line since 2022.
The rail operator has been attempting to acquire new trains since 2019, but past bidding rounds failed due to continued disagreements over the price and other conditions.
The Taiwanese side expressed concerns that the cost of the 16-coach trainsets was higher than it would have been for a Japanese purchaser. Japanese argued that the price escalation was due to modifications that had to be made to meet Taiwanese specifications. During the negotiation, the Taiwanese firm even indicated that it would not necessarily stick to procurement from Japan.
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