One of the nation’s most famous national treasures, the Alishan Forest Railway, will celebrate its 97th anniversary on Dec. 25 when the railway’s operator, Hungtu Alishan Development Co, reopens the line between Fenchihu (奮起湖) and Alishan (阿里山) stations after spending months repairing the damage caused by landslides during the typhoon season.
Hungtu Alishan executives said that the repair work on the damaged sections of the narrow-gauge railway was completed on Nov. 25, and test runs over the past two weeks have confirmed that the railway is safe to resume passenger services.
A ceremony will be held at the Fenchihu train depot on Dec. 25 to reopen the line and to celebrate the 97th anniversary of the railway.
The railway is said to be one of just three alpine railways remaining in existence anywhere in the world. The other two are located in northern India, connecting Himalayan mountains, and in the Andean mountain range of South America.
Opened in 1912 while Taiwan was under Japanese rule, the main line of the railway was built to haul timber down the mountain but is now mainly used to transport the more than 200,000 tourists who visit Alishan’s 2,274m peak every year.
The main line, which is 72km, runs from Chiayi City at an elevation of 30m to the final station of Alishan at 2,216m. The train stops at 17 stations and the whole journey takes about three hours and 20 minutes.