Case Study

Taiwan High Speed - Independent Verification and Validation

Taiwan High Speed - Independent Verification and Validation
Taiwan's high-speed network uses Japanese Shinkansen technology
Published: 17 November 2014 Client name: Taiwan High Speed Rail Corporation Service provided: Independent Verification and Validation

Assurance services throughout the entire construction programme

In 2012 Ricardo was appointed to provide Independent Validation and Verification services for an extension of Taiwan's high-speed network.

Our remit was to conduct independent assessments of the functionality, quality, maintainability and safety of the new section and stations, and issue a certificate to confirm the extended route was compliant with the specifications set out by the Taiwan High Speed Rail Corporation (THSRC).

Our relationship with the railway, however, extends further back to 2000 when we led the team that provided similar assessment work during the construction of Taiwan's original high-speed network, which was the first international use of Japanese bullet train (Shinkansen) technology.

I believe independent assessment is key to the overall success of a project such as ours. Ou Chin-der, Chairman and CEO, THRSC (2019-14)
I believe independent assessment is key to the overall success of a project such as ours.

An engineering marvel

Taiwan's state-of-the-art high-speed line was the country's first privately funded infrastructure project and, in itself, an impressive feat of engineering. Consisting of a single 345km north-south route along the island’s west coast, it connects the capital, Taipei, to the southern city of Kaohsiung.

The vast majority of the route is built either on viaducts or along tunnels and subjected to extreme weather, including summer typhoons. The route has also experienced more than 150 earthquakes of magnitude 4 or higher since it opened and boasts a sophisticated warning system that automatically reduces speeds, or brings trains to a halt, during major seismic events. 

We led the team that provided the independent verification and validation work throughout the construction programme, overseeing the integration of all major sub-systems.

Our assessments - the first independent verification and validation of a railway in Taiwan - demonstrated to the authorities and the travelling public that the railway was safe, reliable and built to highest possible standards.

Taiwan HS Breaker Taiwan High-Speed Railway

2012: Extension announced

Five years after the original route opened THSRC began work to extend the network, with the construction of three new stations along the original route in the counties of Miaoli, Changhua and Yunlin, and a 4km underground extension to Taipei's Nangang District. 

The new terminus at Nangang was required to help ease passenger congestion at Taipei Railway Station and provide a new interchange with conventional passenger railway and Taipei’s underground system.

Following government approval to proceed, THSRC once again appointed our Taipei office to provide our support during the associated works.

Over the course of the project, our teams provided assessments of the traction power system, track-work, signalling, automatic fare collection and new station control room at Nangang. The teams also assessed the civil engineering work at the three new stations along the route.

A key challenge was to ensure that the new extension would not degrade the safety and operational performance of the existing route. Furthermore, the team had to work within restricted possession time slots and limited trial run demonstrations, which had to be arranged around normal revenue service.

Nevertheless, the team successfully achieved approval for operation from Taiwan's Ministry of Transportation and Communications of Taiwan, with the certificate for commencement of revenue service delivered eight months ahead of schedule. 

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