Brief History of the Taiwan Railroad
In 1884 Taiwan defeated the French during the Sino-French War, Taiwan became one of Qing Dynasty's provinces in 1885. The first governor of Taiwan, Liu Ming Chuan, took the railroad tracks which were being used to build their railroad system in China, but were being destroyed by the Chinese people because of superstitious reasons to Taiwan for defensive and economic developments. In 1887, he hired engineers of British H. C. Matheson and German John Bireh to construct the first railroad, 28.6 km long from Taipei to Keelung. The first running train was in 1891 with a speed of 20 km per hour. In 1888, the railroad extent from Taipei to Sinchu a total of 78 km.
After the first Sino-Japanese War, Taiwan was given to Japan in 1895. The Japanese government in Taiwan was aggressive in rebuilding and construct new railway systems for transporting natural resources and also setting up a colonial model for its colonized counties in Southeast Asia. In 1908 it finished the most difficult segment of the railway system from Sanyi to Taian with an elevation topping of at 402.326 meter. Taiwan west railway system from Keelung to Kaohsiung was completed.
|This map covering the entire mountain |
railroad segment was a self guide system in
Chinese only. Click
The only possible time for taking the famous historical train ride was in Summers. We didn't have a chance to take the ride. So my husband and I decided to take our friend there by car. Looking at all the pictures that I took during the trip, I forgot to take the old street of Sanyi and the old train station. It was a big mistake for blogging this article. Anyways, it was worth while to visit the old Sanyi street with massive and famous wood sculptures in Taiwan. Take Sanyi exit on freeway 1 and follow the signs.
|The red line led us to the famous tourist spots.|
|This was a cute sign. Jiu Shan Xian means the old|
mountain line which refers to the old railroad line.
|As we paralleled with the old railroad, |
two workers were repainting and restoring
the sign. It looked too new to adapt in an
|I was curios about this small Earth God temple. So |
here I was.
|No all the earth god temples have |
dragon pillars. This was a special one.
It was first build in the Qing dynasty
and was rebuilt during times of
|Weeds overgrew on the railroad and |
we were going to trace down its route.
|No far from the small temple by car, we saw people |
walking out from the tunnel. I decided to walking
through this tunnel to see what it was like.
|My husband had to drive to the other |
unknown end to pick us up. While
walking in the tunnel, I had to comfort
my girlfriend because she was afraid
of walking in the dark.
|Walking on the old railroad had a special |
feeling. I was tracing its history and
appreciating its forms coordinated with
the natural environment. What would it be
at the end of the curve? I asked myself.
|We just followed the track and|
didn't know where we would end
up with. It seemed like we would
arrived at a station.
|We arrived at the highest point of the|
railway system which is called Sheng
Xing Station. My mission at this point
was to find my dear husband.
|The old wooden building during the Japanese period |
was still standing there. It gave this place a sense of
antiquity. But the new sign which hung on the top
of door just diminished the feeling.
|This cat sat there to take a winter sun |
bath. It was like a lazy and relaxing day.
|A stele was set up to commemorate the great achieve.|
The inscriptions on the front were: The highest point of
Taiwan Railway System 403.326 meter above the sea
level. The side was Sheng Xing Train Station.
|Coffee shops and restaurants were along the tracks.|
|Here was the old street with some souvenir stores|
and restaurants. It definitely became a popular
tourist town in this mountain remote area.
|One of the souvenir stores still remained|
its old wiring system during the Japanese time.
|Most residents here were Hakka people who ancestors|
came to Taiwan later than the Holo people. So they settled
down on the hill sides due to the scarce plain lands
during the 17th and 18th centuries.
|Most Hakka people had a tough life in the early time. |
Therefore, Hakka people's frugal lifestyle and tough-
life enduring spirits were well known in Taiwan.
|Our delicious and reasonable Hakka lunch|
|After lunch we drove down to the south and arrived |
at the Yutengping Broken Bridge 魚藤坪斷橋 or
龍騰斷橋. It was built by the Japanese government
and destroyed by the Guandaoshan Earthquake in
1935. Th Japanese govenment built another bridge
across to replace this bridge. In 1999 it was also
damaged by the 921 Earthquake.
|This bridge was the second bridge. |
It was also abandoned in 1998. Now
both bridges have become popular scenic
|I looked up at the supporting pillars of the second |
bridge from the small trail below with its suspension
bridge which crossed the riverbed.
|My good man already had parked our car |
and waited for us at the other end of the trail.
|The tree roots and vines already occupied|
the supporting pillars of the first bridge. It
was amazing how nature worked with human made architecture.
|After lunch and taking a short walk, it was about time |
for a treat. The strawberry farm was not far away from
the broken bridge. We were lucky to be there when it
was in season.
|It was fun to pick fresh strawberries.|
|Our journey for the day would end |
up at this train station which was called Taian.
|We though the train was under maintenance |
for the summer of 2011.
|All metal supports were dated when it was made. |
This one was the oldest in 1905.
|Before heading back to Taichung city, we stopped by |
the new Taian train station which was 5 floors high.
|This was its platform. It was very windy.|
|Rice paddies were in its neighborhood|
|A commute train had just arrived as we left.|
|We did a lot of talking with the farmers and they told|
us about their business for exporting the flowers to other
countries, etc. The farmer in this picture was sorting the
seeds and preparing for next season.
|This is one of my favor flowers.|
I did pick some fresh flowers
to take home.
If you think about taking the train ride in Aug. You should act quickly because the ticket sells out soon.
Miaoli County Travel EBook: http://miaolitravel.net/files/quarterly/TWMiaoliAll.pdf
You can find transportation information here also.