Taiwan to Buy Japan’s Cutting-edge N700S Shinkansen Trains

Yomiuri Shimbun file photo
JR Tokai’s N700S Shinkansen bullet train

TAIPEI — The operator of Taiwan’s Shinkansen bullet train service is to buy 12 N700S Shinkansen units — each comprising 12 cars — from a consortium comprising Hitachi, Ltd. and Toshiba Corp.

Taiwan High Speed Rail Corp. (THSR) on Wednesday confirmed it will ink a near-future contract worth ¥124 billion with the Japanese firms. The deal was reportedly settled after protracted negotiations over pricing and other issues.

THSR had originally planned to buy new vehicles from 2019 in anticipation of an increase in passengers. However, the buying process faltered due to concerns over the figure quoted by the Japanese consortium.

One of the main reported stumbling blocks was that the price being asked was higher than that for an equivalent deal in Japan. This was apparently down to the cost of modifying the trains to fit Taiwan’s rail system specifications.

Following negotiations, however, THSR accepted the modification-related costs and other factors that contributed to the purchase price. “We made our decision after taking into account a wide range of factors including safety, technology, operation and pricing,” the company said.

In 2007, THSR became the first overseas company to adopt Japan’s Shinkansen system. THSR currently operates 700T trains, based on the 700 series used on the Tokaido Shinkansen and other lines.