The train will link the capital to the island's second city of Kaohsiung - turning a four hour plus journey into a 90 minute trip.
Its cost more than $15 billion; and advocates say it will revolutionise the way people work and live along the island's western corridor (home to 94% of the population) - turning "Taiwan island" into "Taiwan city".
Lofty goals. And the goverment has plans to develop 5 new towns alongside some of the new stations. But they are so far plans on paper. Some fear unless there are efforts to boost services and infrastructure in some cities, the big metropolitan cities will act as magnets, hollowing out poorer rural areas like Yunlin and Changhua.
I took a test ride in November: it was a very quiet and smooth ride; though I felt the cabin seats were a little cramped. The one business class carriage on each train was pretty comfortable.
Anyhow, top marks to local designer Jamei Chen, who has come up with some very wearable and great looking uniforms for the train staff: very tasteful - and we really liked the cool waist bags that some of the female staff were wearing; wonder if they will go on sale at high speed rail counters?
See also : BBC NEWS:http://news.bbc.co.uk/go/pr/fr/-/2/hi/asia-pacific/6230761.stm