Imagine a train equipped with no air-conditioning system where the smell of burning coal permeates the cars.
That was what 224 people experienced yesterday when they took a steam train ride in celebration of the 119th anniversary of the Taiwan Railway Administration (TRA).
The steam train set off from Songshan Train Station after a brief ceremony yesterday morning and headed directly to Chingtung (菁桐) Station in the Pingshi (平溪) Township of Taipei County, which was at one point famous for its coal-mining industry.
The train then made a two-hour stop at Shiefen (
The event was organized by the Railway Culture Society of Taiwan, which also publishes a bimonthly publication, Rail News.
All tickets for the event were sold out only two days after the organizers made them available to the public on May 30, some were snapped up by enthusiasts from as far away as Japan.
Cheng Min-chang (
The locomotive used yesterday was a CK124 model that TRA purchased in 1936. Between 1936 and 1942, the administration brought in a total of seven locomotives of the same model from Japan.
In 1982, the administration cancelled all steam train services on main railway lines. Around the same time, however, it began restoration work on some of the old yet functional trains. CK124 was one of them, whose restoration work was completed in 2001.
The locomotive made its first appearance in November of the same year, when the society hosted an event which saw the train run on the South Link (