Alishan Forest Railway Reopening After Six Years of Suspension

Alishan Forest Railway Reopening After Six Years of Suspension
Photo Credit: Jerry Lai @Flickr CC BY SA 2.0

What you need to know

Alishan Forest Railway has been suspended ever since the Typhoon Morakot devastated southern Taiwan in 2009. After six years of reconstruction and restoration, the train finally entered the testing stage for reopening on September 15.

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Alishan Forest Railway has been suspended ever since the Typhoon Morakot devastated southern Taiwan in 2009. After six years of reconstruction and restoration, the train finally entered the testing stage for reopening on September 15.

Liberty Times reports, Chiayi Forest District Office Deputy Director Yang Rui-fen says that the major reconstructions for Alishan Forest Railway have been completed and the detailed refurbishments are almost finished as well. The railway is scheduled to reopen on December 25.

New Zealand railway expert Paul Mahoney says, Alishan Forest Railway possesses a number of characteristics that top the world. The director of the Center for Cultural Sites Rehabilitation and Development of Chinese Scientific and Technical University Yan Ya-ning says that many of the few remaining mountain railways in the world have become world cultural heritages. The Ministry of Culture has included the Alishan Forest Railway in the list of potential sites of World Heritages in Taiwan.

UDN reports, the total length of the railway is 71.4 km. After being damaged by the heavy rains of 2008 and the typhoon Morakot in the following year, large-scale landslides occurred in the mountain area, forcing Alishan Forest Railway into suspension.

In the beginning of last year, some sections of the rail reopened again, and the reconstructions in the parts that had suffered the most severe damage have gradually been completed after the new tunnel constructions. It cost NT$ 1 billion (approximately US$ 30 million) in total for the restoration.

Taiwan Railway’s Alishan Forest Railway Bureau Director Zhang Jin-song says that it’s the first time after six years of suspension for the train to resume operation. Along the way they have found that some sections of the rail still need to be adjusted.

The testing stage is expected to be a bit longer, so that the train drivers can be more familiar with the route. Both the old and new drivers have to spend time training since the route is different after the reconstruction.

Translated by Vic
Edited by Olivia Yang

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