All the necessary dependencies are either included in this package or are avaible on the DLS.
The C321 Series is the Taipei Metro’s second heavy-rail train type, having been introduced in the very late 1990s for the opening of the east-west Bannan Line, Taipei’s second heavy-rail subway line.
The tender for the manufacture of 216 cars (or thirty-six 6-car sets) had been put forth in 1993 – right after the one for the Tamsui Line. Originally, Kawasaki-URC, the winner and manufacturer of the C301 cars was all set forth to be the manufactrer of this tender as well, however the DORTS (the Department of Rapid Transit Systems, the bureau of the Taipei municipal government that operates and oversees the Taipei Metro) choose instead to award the tender to the german Siemens, as it was unwilling to repeat the previous ordeal that involved the cars being partly assembled in Japan, finished in the US and then shipped to Taiwan – Siemens instead proposed a “one-manufacturer” approach that was rather appealing to DORTS.
However, depsite offering an upfront “one-manufacturing” work, after being awarded the tender Siemens opted to subcontract part of the manufacturing to the South-African Union Carriage and Wagon, much to the anger of Kawasaki-URC (and by extension the US government, wich unsuccessfully tried to revert the tender results).
Depsite the initial hiccup, the production of the new trains began swiftly in 1998. Overall, the new C321 Series was to remain as similar as possible to the previous C301 Series, including the same overall style, dimensions, bodyshell, interiors, doors and fittings, albeit with electrical and traction equipment derived from Siemens’ “Modular Metro” (or Mo.Mo) platform.
The result was a train that at first glance was very similar to the C301 Series, but fetaured many tell-tale details, mainly the front design, formed of a white FRP front mask with a considerably “flatter” and more squared design than the C301s, and the traction system: unlike the previous trains, wich were fitted with the distinctively-sounding american-made Westinghouse GTO-VVVF inverters, the C321 Series trains were fitted with (obviously) Siemens-made GTO-VVVF inverter, of the same lineage as the famous “singing inverters” of the Keikyu 2100 and 1000 Serieses, but unfortunately devoid of the lovely iconic “solfége”.
The total of 216 cars (thirty-six 6-car sets) was built between 1998 and 1999, with trains being built in three distinct batches: the eleven sets of the CH321 Series being intended for the Tamsui-Xindan Line, the eight sets of the CC361 Series for the Zhonghe Line (these two batches operating seamlessly on the “Y” Shaped Tamsui-Xindan-Zhonghe Line) and the bulk of the order, seventeen sets, being the CN331 Series for the Bannan Line (or as it was known then, during construction as the “Nagang Line”), Taipei metro’s second trunk line.
All thirty-six C321 Series trains entered service in 1999, with the seventeen Bannan Line trains beginning revenue service on the 24th of December.
At the turn of the Millennium, C321 Series trains could be found in operation on all of Taipei Metro’s heavy-rail lines, with the sole exception of the Xinbeitou Branch Line. In fact, besides the north-south Tamsui-Xindan-Zhonghe Line and the east-west Bannan Line, C321 Series trains (or more precisely, two sets) were also in service on two short shuttle lines, the first being the Xiaobitan Branch Line, a single-track shuttle service wich branched off the Xindan Line at Qizhang and ran to Xiaobitan, a station located practically inside Xiaobitan depot, and the Xiaonanmen Line, a three-stops shuttle line that ran from Chiang Kai-Shiek Memorial Hall (the interchange with the Tamsui-Xindan-Zhonghe Line) and Ximen, the interchange with the Bannan Line, with one intermediate stop at Xiaonanmen, after wich the line was named.
As the Xiaobitan station platform had been designed for 3-car sets only, selective door operation was used on the C321 Series train assigned to that line, in other words, only the “Xiaobitan-half” (the westwards one) of the train was open to passengers, the remaining half was cordoned and had all doors shut. This peculiar operation remained in place until 2006, when the C321 Series set was replaced by a proper 3-car C371 Series train (part of a small batch of 3-car sets that was also to replace the C301 Series on the Xinbeitou Branch Line) and subsequently transferred to services on the Bannan Line.
On the 4th of March 2009, with the introduction of more and more C371 Series trains, the whole fleet of thirty-six C321 Series sets was reassigned to the Bannan Line, a natural way to “make some order” and standardize the fleets of the various lines, with considerable simplifications in maintainance planning and so on.
C321 Series service on the Xiaonanmen Line also came to an end in 2013, as the line was absorbed by the Songshan-Xindan Line and it’s fleet of C371 and brand-new C381 Series trains.
As of today, all thirty-six C321 Series trains are in service on the Bannan Line, togheter with their younger siblings – the C341 Series, also built by Siemens and technically derived from the C321 Series. Little to no modifications have been carried out on these trains until now, altough one is planned: the replacement of the Siemens GTO-VVVF inverters with a yet-to-be-decided more up-to date type, a modification that will be carried by TRSC (Taiwan Rolling Stock Co., as the name suggests, Taiwan’s domestic rolling stock manufacturer) in the following years.
Set 117/118* was withdrawn from service following the 2014 Taipei Metro attack, a stabbing spree that occurred on said set as it approaced Jiangzicui Station on the Banan Line, wich resulted in four deaths among passengers and a death sentence for the attacker.
The set was returned to service in 20155, renumbered as set 175/176, instead of the would-be sequential of 173/174 (the last-built C321 Series set being 171/172) as due to chinese phonetics 1-7-3, 1-7-4 (yīqīsān, yīqīsì) can sound very similar to “kill togheter, die togheter” (yīqǐshā, yīqǐsǐ).