The International Steam Pages

Heritage Steam in Taiwan

This report appeared in the Taipei Times of 21st January 2007.

Railway enthusiasts will have the chance to enjoy a trip on an old-fashioned steam-powered train next month to visit tourist attractions in Changhua County. The two-day event, hosted by the Changhua County Government, is connected to the county's plans to build a national railway museum.


Equipped with a CK-124 model locomotive, the steam-powered train will carry passengers from the Taiwan Railway Administration (TRA) station in Changhua City to the Ershuei Township (二水) train station in Changhua County. The train will bring the passengers back to Changhua in the evening. The steam train will run on Feb. 3 and Feb.4, taking 500 passengers on each day.

Chen Yun-yung (陳允勇), chief of the county government's cultural heritage division, said in a radio interview that Changhua  was the home of TRA's fan-shaped garage, used mainly for train maintenance. 
He said that the county has been seeking financial support from the central government to remodel it into a national railway museum. The TRA used to have fan-shaped garages in Taipei, Hsinchu, Taichung, Changhua, Chiayi and Kaohsiung. The facility in Changhua is the country's only remaining fan-shaped garage. The TRA originally planned to raze the garage in Changhua, as well, and to create a maintenance facility for its recently imported electric commuter trains. 

Cultural heritage

The plan was loudly opposed by railway enthusiasts, who argued that the fan-shaped garage had a special place in the history of technological development. The enthusiasts proposed that the TRA preserve the garage by building the maintenance facility nearby instead. The proposal was supported by former Democratic Progressive Party legislator Ong Chin-chu (翁金珠), who later became the county magistrate. Ong had the garage declared a county-level cultural heritage site. She also sought funding for restoration work on the garage and actively pushed for the establishment of a railway museum, which would be the first such museum in the country. 

Rob Dickinson