Additional fast trains to boost tourism for quake-hit Hualien

Taipei, Feb. 24 (CNA) The Taiwan Railway Administration (TRA) announced Saturday that it will be operating two additional Puyuma express train services each day to and from Hualien County starting March, to promote tourism after a deadly earthquake damaged parts of the eastern county earlier in February.

In collaboration with the government to help with rebuilding and restoration efforts, the TRA is adding two additional Taipei-Hualien direct service trains each day from March 1 to June 29 that will give priority to tourists traveling to Hualien County.

According to the TRA, visitors will have the option of booking their train tickets while booking their hotels.

The Hualien Commercial Hotel Union, which encompasses all the registered hotels, motels and hostels in the county, will get tickets from the TRA 20 days before the scheduled train departures and they can sell those tickets to tourists who have made hotel reservations in the area.

Remaining seats that are not sold will be open to the general public for purchasing, without a hotel reservation, 12 days before the scheduled train departures.

This would guarantee that all tourists with a reservation have a seat on the Puyuma express train on their intended date of travel, the TRA said.

The two train services leave Taipei City at 8:57 a.m. each day, arriving in Hualien County at 11:08 a.m., and departs Hualien at 5:30 p.m., returning to Taipei at 7:41 p.m.

The TRA has estimated that this will make room for 80,000 additional seats on trains between Taipei and Hualien, which will hopefully allow Hualien's tourism industry to recover from the quake.

Many Hualien hotels reportedly suffered from canceled reservations during the Lunar New Year holiday after the magnitude 6 earthquake left 17 dead and 285 injured on Feb. 6, with many subsequent quakes following it.

Source: Focus Taiwan News Channel