Wed, Mar 14, 2012 - Page 2 News List

‘Love-locks bridge’ gets stay of execution

IN THE NAME OF LOVE:Railway officials have said that the bridge, the only one of its kind in Taiwan, will be moved to a new location and transformed into a public artwork

By Chang Jui-chen  /  Staff Reporter

Chuang Fu-yuan, left, and Hung Mei-hsiu attach a lock to a fence on a footbridge at Fongyuan Railway Station in Greater Taichung on Sunday.

Photo: Chang Jui-chen

Greater Taichung’s “love-locks bridge” will be preserved and moved to another location thanks to a campaign by scores of netizens to save it from demolition, the Railway Reconstruction Bureau announced last week.

Located next to the railway station in Fongyuan District (豐原), the fencing on the so-called “love-locks bridge” is covered with thousands of padlocks inscribed with wishes from couples hoping for long, loving relationships, as well as from family members hoping for a safe year.

About a decade ago, rumors began circulating that bridges that cross over railway tracks retain energy from the trains that pass beneath them and grant people their wishes.

Since then, throngs of people, especially couples, have inscribed all sorts of wishes on padlocks and attached them to the iron fencing, giving the bridge the name “love-locks bridge,” or “heart-locks bridge.”

However, in autumn last year, it looked like the bridge would be torn down to make room for an elevated railway project.

Following the news, Jen She Association chief Lin Hsuan-hung (林宣宏) and netizen Lin Shou-shan (林壽山) joined hands to launch a campaign and an online petition, calling for the bridge to be preserved.

On Monday, as several netizens arrived at the bridge hoping to attach their locks, Lin surprised the visitors with some good news.

“Officials from the bureau paid me a visit on Thursday and told me they have decided that public art funds will be used to preserve the ‘love-locks bridge’ by moving it to a different location,” Lin said.

“The officials also said they anticipate that the bridge will be transformed into public artwork for local residents,” Lin said.

It is the only “love-locks bridge” in the country, and is only one of five in the world, Lin said. The other four are in South Korea, Japan, Germany and Italy.

However, Yeh Jen-ho (葉仁和), stationmaster at Fongyuan Railway Station, said the bridge would lose its meaning if it were moved to a location away from the trains.

“Still, it’s the mighty power of the ‘love-locks bridge’ that fulfilled my wish to receive the much-needed funds to ensure its preservation,” Yeh said.

Translated by Stacy Hsu, Staff Writer

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