Trains For America

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A profit? Not for a rail line?

This comes from a Bloomberg story in the Taipei Times. It looks like HSR is not only convenient, safe and efficient, it also makes money.

Taiwan High Speed Rail Corp (THSRC, 台灣高鐵), operator of the nation’s first bullet train, said it will become profitable for the first time in 2009 as it attracts more passengers.

The company will break even on a cashflow basis next year and post net income for the first time in the first half of 2009, Robert Hung (洪永鎮), chief financial officer of the Taipei-based company said at a briefing with the Taiwan Foreign Correspondents’ Club yesterday.

THSRC’s NT$489 billion (US$15 billion) link between Taipei and Kaohsiung began operations on Jan. 5, more than 16 months behind schedule.

The company will sign a deal with a foreign financial services firm within three months to jointly develop property around its station in Hsinchu, the first step in its plan to build hotels and other facilities on 30 hectares of land it owns along the route, THSRC chairwoman Nita Ing (殷琪) said yesterday, without providing details.

“We do have someone. We’ll put up the land, and they’ll put up the money,” she said.

The partners will set up a new 50-50 venture to manage the Hsinchu property with four other stations to follow the same business model, she said.

Shares of THSRC, which currently trade on the GRETAI Securities Market will transfer to the main Taiwan Stock Exchange next year “depending on the market,” Ing said.

The company posted sales of NT$9.19 billion for the first nine months of this year. The company now operates 91 services per day which are about half-full. It will almost double services to 176 trips a day by March, Ing said.

Filed under: International High Speed Rail

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