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Thursday, January 10, 2013

Trains in Taiwan. (slow, normal, express, fast, high speed!!!!)

There are that many different type of trains you can take in Taiwan.  I want to tell you all a story from my own personal experience that will help you all understand how difficult it is to get the right train when you need to, especially when you are quite new to Taiwan. 

The crystal maze that is Taipei Main Station....a maze to new people here.
One day, in the not to distant past my girlfriend asked me to meet her on the fast train so we could go to Taoyuan to check out her friends new restaurant.  I said this was fine, and I would be happy to meet her on the train. 

So on the morning I was supposed to meet my girlfriend I rocked up to the high speed rail counter to buy my fast train ticket.  The journey is less than 1 hour on normal train, and around 10 minutes or so on the high speed train so its not really that important to take the high speed train really.

High Speed Rail.
I got on the high speed rail, and then my girlfriend called me asking why she could not find me on the train, and where the hell was I?  I told her I was on the high speed rail.  She was not happy and asked why the hell did I take the high speed rail.  I told her this is because you told me to get the fast train, and this is very fast.  When I got off the train she kept telling me to meet her in the bus station at Taoyuan station, but I kept saying I cannot see no bus station.  Then I realised what had happened and started to panic a little bit!  

Taoyuan Station, where I was supposed to be waiting.
In the end it actually took me longer to get to Taoyuan because the high speed rail stations are not that close to the city centers.  My girlfriend was a bit pissed off that I got the wrong train, and that we were now running completely late for what we had intended to do. 

So the morale of the story boys and girls is to make sure you get the right train in Taiwan.  Obviously the faster the train is, the more expensive it is. 

Here is a run down of the different trains.

Slow train - Stops at every station between your start and end destination.

Normal train - Stops at a lot of stations between your start and end destination but not all, make sure it goes where you want it to before you get on. 

Express Train -  This is the train Taiwanese people will call the fast train, this is what confused me a little bit because in English we would say fast for the high speed rail I think.

High Speed Rail - This is the train that is shaped a bit like a bullet, and goes super fast, like the trains people are more used to seeing in Japan.