Sat, Jan 21, 2012 - Page 2 News List

Alishan Forest Railway’s Shenmu branch line reopens

Staff Writer, with CNA

The Shenmu branch line of the Alishan Forest Railway, which was closed for more than eight months after a deadly accident, was reopened yesterday ahead of the Lunar New Year holidays.

Service on the Shenmu line resumed with a schedule of about 10 trips a day, the first of which left Alishan Station at 10:15am yesterday, the Chiayi Forest District Office said.

However, in the interest of safety, passenger load has been limited to 70 passengers per carriage, the office said.

Last April, a train on the Shenmu line derailed, killing five passengers and injuring 113. Three Alishan railway branch lines — Shenmu (神木), Chushan (竹山) and Jhaoping (沼平) — were subsequently suspended for safety inspections

The Shenmu line was the last to resume service, after the Chushan and Jhaoping lines were reopened in October last year and last month respectively.

The Shenmu line runs 1.8km from Alishan Station to Shenmu. The 10-minute trip costs NT$50 one way and NT$80 return. For passengers eligible for discounts, a one way ticket is NT$25 and the return fare NT$40.

The Alishan Forest Railway, which was constructed for logging during the Japanese colonial era, has been transporting visitors to the Alishan National Scenic Area since 1963.

Shenmu Station, located 2,138m above sea level, was named after the famous Alishan Sacred Tree that was more than 3,000 years old. The tree was known as Shenmu, before being toppled in a storm in 1997.

The railway’s main line, which connects Chiayi and Alishan, has been closed for repairs since 2009 following Typhoon Morakot.

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