Regular trips will start running on April 21 from Fridays to Sundays: TRA officials
TAIPEI (Taiwan) – Taiwan unveiled its Hello Kitty-themed Taroko Express train, which set off from the Shulin train station. This train will travel to Taitung on the east coast route. The train with eight carriages that carries the themes of the iconic fictional character drew a lot of attention.
According to the Taiwan Railways Administration (TRA) which is cooperating with Japan’s Sanrio Co to launch the special Taroko Express train, the first Taiwanese passenger train to feature the theme of the popular cartoon cat Hello Kitty.
More than four decades later, analysts estimate the mute-yet-beloved creature accounts for roughly 75% of Sanrio‘s $142 million annual operating profit, and rakes in most of the $600 million in company revenue each year.
The Taiwan Railways Administration (TRA) will also design commemorative tickets for the inaugural run. The tickets, with the words ‘Commemoration of the inaugural run of the Hello Kitty train’ printed in red, will be in the form of an old ticket which has been out of print for nearly 30 years,’ TRA officials said.
Not only the external appearance but also the interior of the train, such as the seat backs and the serving carts, are decorated with Hello Kitty patterns. Boxed meals wrapped with Hello Kitty drawstring bags are also sold on the train at NT$120 each.
TRA plans to launch regular two Kitty trains on every Friday, Saturday and Sunday after April 21 to meet public demand, according to a TRA statement. But before April 21, two kitty trains will be launched – one from Shulin in New Taipei to Taitung on April 2 and other from Shulin to Yuli in Hualien April 5. Train has 376 seats.
The first train arrived at Taitung Station at 3:04pm, and stopped for 20 minutes to allow a limited number of 300 people to take pictures.