Collectors of model trains can now add a mini version of the CK101 steam train to their collection, the Taiwan Railway Administration (TRA) said yesterday.
The TRA said the locomotive was imported from Japan in 1917, and it was the first locomotive used for both passenger and cargo trains.
The locomotive was removed from active duty in 1978 and was restored to service in 1997, becoming the first steam train restored by the TRA.
Passengers can still take steam trains driven by the CK101 on special occasions, such as the resumed service on the TRA’s Jiji Branch Line (集集線) in July. When not in use, the locomotive is carefully preserved in a fan-shaped depot in Changhua County, the administration said.
The administration said the model train was made using a ratio of one-to-22.5. More than 400 parts were assembled to form the 5.1kg model, which is 48cm in length, 12cm in width and 16cm in height.
The TRA said the model train was special because it has gilded plates on four sides.
Each set will also include railway tracks and a speed-adjusting power system, as well as figurines of the driver and the boilerman. Collectors can see white water steam and listen to the sound of the steam while watching the model train run on the track.
The TRA said the model train set was being released in a limited edition, with 101 sets available for purchase. The first 50 sets can be bought at the TRA’s souvenir shop at the Taipei Railway Station at 10am on Sunday. Each set costs NT$98,000.
The TRA has generated additional revenue selling railway--related items.
Its bento lunchboxes are also in high demand. The popular lunchbox features a specially flavored deep-fried pork chop, vegetables, a Taiwanese stewed egg and a bed of fried rice.
The agency said it sells about 16,000 lunchboxes a month, but it still receives complaints from passengers that they cannot buy lunchboxes because they are quickly sold out.
Dennis Ju (朱來順), director of the TRA’s catering service department, said the administration was considering allowing passengers to pre-order lunchboxes when they pick up their tickets at the train stations.
The lunchboxes would be delivered to the passengers when they are onboard, he said.
In addition to stations in Taipei, Greater Taichung, Greater Kaohsiung and Hualien, Ju said that passengers could also purchase lunchboxes at Jhongli (中壢), Taoyuan, Hsinchu, Changhua and Chiayi.
Ju said that passengers do not know their seat numbers until they pick up their tickets at the train station, so some technical issues need to be resolved before they can order the tickets and lunchboxes online.