January 11, 2007

Taiwan High Speed Rail

Met a travel writer at the Early Bird at breakfast this morning who said that he was heading out on the Taiwan High Speed Rail to continue research for an article he was writing. (Here's the Wikipedia entry) He was a nice enough guy so I volunteered to give him a lift out to WuEr if he didn't mind waiting while I got my camera.

I told him there was no way in hell I was getting on that thing. (And you can quote me, honeychile...or words to that effect.) They've been working on this thing for about as long as I've been in Taiwan and when I think of the train, I think of the train arriving in Taiwan and what a grand soiree there was, only to discover that the wheels were too far apart, or too near together, to fit the track that had been laid. Fast Forward a little while, and the inspectors found that the road bed was already eroding in places because local contractors had skimped on their labor. In Taichung, thieves crept along the tracks and stole grounding wires for a section of track, presumably to sell the copper. I want no part of it. No thank you. But, I don't mind looking at the thing, even though my wife says it looks like a cheap plastic toy.
So the plan has been to wait five years. If there are no major incidents, we'll go for a ride. Yesterday, in Tainan, the train overshot the station and had to back up to let folks off. Then the doors wouldn't open. A few days before that, it got stuck in a tunnel between Banciao and Taoyuan for about six minutes.

"C'mon, Paul! Where's your sense of Adventure?" you might ask. I rode the bullet train in Japan, no problem. I've jumped out of an airplane, no problem. It's wasn't out of fear that I had hoped to boycott that fool contraption, but out of a healthy disrespect for Taiwanese engineering.

I will say, however, that it is one sexy looking train as it arrives at the station, and I might be willing to ignore my boycott under conditions which I have no yet been able to finalize.

1 comment:

Gary Howe said...

Get on the Train!!!!