Photos by MJ Klein
Our friend Craig has an article about the new KRT system, beating us to the punch with the scoop, but we couldn’t be more pleased, as Craig’s article goes into historical details about the system that we weren’t going to cover. So, the articles would appear to compliment each other. We recommend Craig’s article for excellent background information, and of course, his legendary photography.
Note: During our test ride experience, we encountered several different designations for the system, including Kaohsiung “Metro Rapid Transit System”, “Kaohsiung Rapid Transit System”, and simply “Rapid Transit System”. For the sake of uniformity, we will use the term “KRT” to refer to the Kaohsiung Rapid Transit System in our articles. We hope that the term sticks, and will differentiate the Kaohsiung system from the Taipei system known as “MRT“.
Before we take a ride (Part II), we’d like to show you some station features inside and out.
Sandou features a long hallway that takes a turn and then presents you with the station:
Like the Hong Kong system, the KRT rails are behind glass doors. This makes the platform area a great deal safer, and also seals the station area so the approaching train doesn’t suck all the air conditioning out of the platform area. Good design.
Notice the exit signs (yellow) – the exits are numbered, which is very useful when navigating an underground transportation system. Its very easy to get turned around when there is no sun for reference. The maps use these numbers too (more on this later).
We rode this part of Red line, from where it says “You are here” (yellow rectangle) out to the end of the line as Siaogang. There are 2 lines, Red and Orange, and each station’s designation begins with the letter “R” or “O” respectively. This makes it more difficult to make mistakes when talking about station locations. Smart.
In addition to the normal standard information, the station maps show various interconnecting services. For example, we see that Zouying station (not yet completed) has a connection to both the THSR (Taiwan High Speed Rail) and the TRA (Taiwan Railway Authority). It was nice to see a station for the World Games National Sports Complex too.
This shot shows just how far away the Red Line goes out from central Kaohsiung. You can travel out to south Gangshan, which is just short of halfway to Tainan.
Let’s take a look outside for a moment:
So instead of the same boring design, you’ll be pleasantly surprised to find that each station is different and unique. Some of them are actually quite bold in their designs. I like that because in a country where so many things look much the same even to locals, unique stations not only make it easier to find your way around, they add to the beauty of the city.
So as you can see, all the stations have a unique look to them.
In Part II we are going to show you inside the trains as we take a few rides on the new system. We’ll show you what it’s like to find your way around inside the stations and a few caveats to watch out for. So you definitely won’t want to miss Part II!