Enter the Dragon

by Scott Danielson, Parsons Brinckerhoff Quade & Douglas, 303 Second Street, Suite 700 North, San Francisco, CA,

Serial Information: Civil Engineering—ASCE, 1994, Vol. 64, Issue 11, Pg. 64-67

Document Type: Feature article

Abstract: The Chien Tan Dragon Boat train will be the flagship station of the 87 km Taipei Rapid Transit System (RTS) in Taiwan, which consists of eight heavy rail lines, two medium-capacity lines and 80 stations. As the largest rail line in Asia (final construction cost is estimated at more than $24 billion), RTS could help solve the area's future traffic problems. The population of the Taipei metropolitan area is projected to swell from 4 million in 1981 to more than 7 million in the year 2021. At the same time, the Chien Tan station pays homage to Taipei's cultural heritage. With the graceful profile of its cables, its concrete suspended roof and inclined pylons, the station resembles the dragon boats that race during the annual Dragon Boat festival. The drape of a catenary suspension cable spans the length of the station, producing a spacious column-free platform, and creating a curving ridge line similar to the form of traditional Chinese roofs. By canting the pylons out, the traditional dragon boat form is achieved. A key part of the engineering was wind tunnel testing. Researchers constructed laboratory models to corroborate and predict loads and the dynamic behavior of the structure--especially under the effects of trains pulling in and out of the station. The study was particularly important considering Taiwan can be hit with up to three typhoons a year, packing winds over 140 km per hour. To solve roof vibration problems, structural engineers also designed a passive damper system using viscoelestic material.

Subject Headings: Concrete | Railroad stations | Rapid transit systems | Roofs | Suspended structures | Taiwan | Tests | Wind tunnels |

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