The Taiwan Railway Administration (TRA) yesterday unveiled its “railway travel notebook,” providing travelers with a platform to collect chop seals from as many as 100 railway stations that are reputed either for their special features or for the distinctive culture or scenery they stand for.
TRA Director-General Frank Fan (范植谷) said the idea for the notebook was inspired by a woman who did a round-the--nation railway tour after she graduated from college.
“She traveled alone and wrote whatever happened to her during the tour in a small notebook,” Fan said. “She would also ask TRA staff, railway police or passengers to sign their names in her notebook.”
Fan met the woman during an inspection at the station in Rueifang (瑞芳), Taipei County. By the time he met her, the woman had taken about 20 pages of notes, he said.
Fan said this was the first time the TRA published such a book, which would give travelers the opportunity to engage in creative writing while on railway tours.
The nation’s largest railway service has a total of 219 stations across the country, of which 174 have TRA employees. Of those, the TRA has selected 100 stations known for their unique features and made special chops for each one.
Travelers can have the chop affixed in their notebook when they visit the stations. All the chops were designed by artist Chen Shi-chu (陳士鉅), who also runs a hostel in Yilan.
To design the chops, Chen said he had consulted books about Taiwanese railways and visited about 50 stations.
The project took him about two months, he said, adding that he had drawn more than 200 potential patterns.
Among some of the interesting ones, the chop for Sanyi (三義) station in Miaoli County uses the remains of the Longteng Bridge (龍騰斷橋) as a backdrop, while the chop for Sijhih (汐止) station in Taipei County features images of Keelung River and skyscrapers.