The photos in this post are not new. They were made in November 2013 when the Tamsui-Xinyi Line of the Taipei MRT was finished. Originally the photos were uploaded to my private Facebook page. Now I think it was a mistake to put them on Facebook, because the photos are somehow lost. The lifetime of a photo on Facebook is only a few hours, after that it is buried under new posts. Later people usually don’t go to someones albums and search for older photos. I think a blog is more sustainable as well as a bigger audience can be reached. Therefore I decided to move some older photos away from Facebook and present them here. Even if they are not from recent events, I hope that someone might be interested to see the photos and read the story behind them.
The Taipei Metro also commonly known as MRT is probably one of the best subway networks in the world. It is not the biggest (it is still expanding), but from what I have seen in other countries, it is one of the most efficient, reliable, cleanest, fasted, most convenient, and easiest to use. Even people, who cannot understand Chinese, can easily navigate through the MRT system. The MRT is operated by the TRTC (Taipei Rapid Transit Corporation) and has 5 main lines (in 2015). The Tamsui-Xinyi Line, also called red line or Line 2, is one of the oldest lines. The first branch was opened in 1998 and was connecting Tamsui (淡水) with Taipei Main station (台北車站) and ending in Chiang Kai-Shek Memorial Hall (中正寄念堂). From there the trains shared the track of the green line (Line 3 or Xindian Line) to Xindian (新店).
In November 24, 2013 the Tamsui-Xinyi Line was completed and officially opened. The new 6.4 km long branch connects Chiang Kai-Shek Memorial Hall in eastward direction with the Xinyi business district, including Taipei 101 and Elephant Mountain, which is a popular local recreation area. In total six new stations were built: Dongmen (東門), Daan Park (大安森林公園), Daan (大安), Xinyi Anhe (信義安和), Taipei 101/World Trade Center (台北101/世貿), and Xiangshan (象山) aka Elephant Mountain.
Since I am a big fan of the MRT, I was looking forward to the day of the opening. So I took my camera and spend one day along the line and took photos of the new stations. To attract new passengers to the MRT line, the TRTC offered free rides for one month along the newly opened stations. On the first day many people used the opportunity and the trains were accordingly crowded. I started early in the morning at the terminal station and went always one stop to the next station. Later in the afternoon I was happy about my decision to go this way. In the meantime the trains and stations were overcrowded. Luckily I was already close to the area where I live, and I could walk home.
Here are the photos I took during this day including some comments. It is not a train enthusiast report about the newest technical stuff along the line. I was more interested in the location, design and functionality of the stations. Unfortunately I cannot find the original photos, so I had to download them from my Facebook album, hence the quality is not that good. Already after two years it is interesting to look at them again. A few things have already changed.
This is the map of the green and red line, photographed at NTU hospital station. At that time the green line was not finished and the trains had to share the tracks of the red line to Tamsui. You can also see the small branch line of the green line connecting Taipower Building station with Ximen.
This sign in the MRT station his history. Since the opening of the green line in 2014, the combination of Xindian and Xiangshan as terminal stations is not existing anymore.
Xiangshan or Elephant Mountain is the terminal station of the red line. Exit 2 is quite close to the entrance of the hiking trail to the peak of Elephant Mountain, which is a very popular recreation area and photography spot. A few month after opening of the red line, the hiking trails in this area were very crowded. Seems that in the past people were too lazy to walk to the trail entrance.
This artwork is inside the MRT station. In every station along the new line different kinds of artwork is installed.
The escalator at Exit 2 has an interesting curiosity: an intermediate landing about halfway.
The view from Exit 3 towards Taipei 101.
Taipei 101/World Trade Center (台北101/世貿)
The station is directly at Taipei 101. From Exit 4 you can go straight to the shopping mall of Taipei 101 or to DinTaiFung and enjoy some dumplings.
The platform with artwork made of LED lights (the 4 green lines) which change their colors. On the right sight the old MRT map is visible. The extension of the green line is missing and the yellow (some say orange) line has still the double lines.
The passage way from the station to Taipei 101 with several art installations. All of them show different photos which are rotating and creating new images.
The view from Exit 2 towards Taipei 101.
Xinyi Anhe (信義安和)
Xinyi Anhe station is s quite small station and with less elaborated design. On the platform the artwork shows photos of different materials, like wood or rocks.
Outside of Xinyi Anhe station. The design of the exits is quite similar to the exits of Xiangshan and Taipei 101 station.
Daan station is the transfer station to the brown line (Line 1). The design of the station is very different from the previous three stations. In Xiangshan, Taipei 101 and Xinyi Anhe station light colors are used, and the stations appear big and open. In Daan station dark colors are used, the tiles at the floor, wall and ceiling are black and dark grey. There is also less light, but all together gives the station some classy atmosphere.
At the platform the same art concept as in previous stations is used with changing lights.
This is part of the transit area to the brown line. Because the tracks of the brown line are elevated above the street, the way from the subway to this line is quite far.
The eastern entrance of the station. The compass card on the ground is correctly oriented and will help in case you get lost in the station.
Exit 6 of the red line at Daan station. The design of the exits here is different and more similar to the design used for Daan Park station. In the background the elevated tracks and station of the brown line can be seen.
Daan Park (大安森林公園)
Daan Park is one of the biggest and currently most impressive MRT stations. There were rumors that the station was made that big and impressive to compete with Formosa-Boulevard station of the Kaohsiung subway.
Artwork at the platform level. This time no LED lights involved.
And even more artwork on the concourse level. Daan Park station has the most artwork from all stations along the red line.
The impressive entrance hall to the station. To the left is the access to the platforms. The hall is facing Daan Forrest Park making it a big entrance gate to the park. Btw, Daan Forrest Park or Da’an Park is the biggest park in Taipei and plays a similar role like other major city parks, e.g. Central Park in New York City, or Hyde Park in London.
Another view of the large entrance hall.
Outside of the station. To compensate the height difference between concourse level and park an intermediate level was created. The tower at the right end of the hall is one of the exits to Xinyi Road. They are also called ‘light towers’.
The transition from the intermediate level to the park.
One of the so-called light towers.
The concourse level outside of the station hall. There is something like a fountain coming down from the edge of the intermediate level.
And even more artwork on the concourse level outside the station hall.
People are waiting for the fountain to start.
Not sure if this is artwork or an old city map of this area. Probably an artistic interpretation of an old city map.
I have no photos of Dongmen station to present. In the afternoon it was so crowded along the line, and I was tired, so I decided to go home. Dongmen station is the transfer station to the yellow line (Zhonghe-Xinlu Line or Line 4). The design of the station is similar to the stations along the yellow line. Actually this station is not that new, because it was already finished when the connection of the yellow line between Guting and Zhongxiao-Xinsheng was opened.