Typhoon dam­age stops Alis­han for­est rail­way at Fenchihu stop

The China Post - - LOCAL -

Dam­age to the Alis­han for­est rail­way caused by Typhoon Du­juan in late Septem­ber has ru­ined plans by the Tai­wan Rail­way Ad­min­is­tra­tion (TRA) to re­open the full length of the 71.4-kilo­me­ter moun­tain rail­way on Dec. 25, so tourists trav­el­ling on the rail­way can only reach the Fenchihu re­lay sta­tion.

It took the Chi­ayi For­est Dis­trict Of­fice and the TRA six years to re­con­struct dam­aged sec­tions of the for­est rail­way in cen­tral Tai­wan af­ter tor­ren­tial rain and mud­slides brought by Typhoon Mo­rakot in Au­gust 2009 dam­aged rail sec­tions be­tween Fenchihu and the ter­mi­nal Alis­han sta­tion, 2,216 me­ters above sea level.

Af­ter a suc­cess­ful trial run of the steam lo­co­mo­tive from Chi­ayi Beimen sta­tion to Alis­han sta­tion Sept. 16, the TRA an­nounced that the moun­tain rail­way would open fully Dec. 25.

How­ever, heavy rain­fall brought by Typhoon Du­juan Sept. 28-29 led to se­ri­ous rock­slides at tun­nel en­trances some 58 km from Beimen sta­tion, where re­con­struc­tion had just com­pleted.

In or­der to en­able tourists to travel to Alis­han sta­tion, the Chi­ayi For­est Dis­trict Of­fice is study­ing the fea­si­bil­ity of us­ing shut­tle buses, ac­cord­ing to a for­est ad­min­is­tra­tion source.

Alis­han moun­tain re­sort is among the top five des­ti­na­tions for in­ter­na­tional tourists to Tai­wan, most of whom ex­pect to ap­pre­ci­ate the mag­nif­i­cent views of an­cient For­mosan red cy­press and misty forests from the win­dows of a nos­tal­gic steam lo­co­mo­tive.

The Alis­han moun­tain rail­way was opened in 1911 as trans­porta­tion route for tim­ber. In 1963, the Chi­ayi For­est Dis­trict Of­fice stopped the tim­ber trans­port­ing oper­a­tions and turned the moun­tain rail­way into a tourist at­trac­tion. The TRA will take over its oper­a­tions in 2016.

In ad­di­tion to the main Beimen-Alis­han line, the for­est rail­way sys­tem has a 6.25-km spur line from the Zhaop­ing sta­tion (2,216 me­ters above sea level) to Zhushan sta­tion (2,451 me­ters above sea level) which car­ries tourists to watch the sunrise over the moun­tains.

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