Tue, May 29, 2012 - Page 2 News List

Full steam ahead: Neiwan line celebrates rail festival

By Shelley Shan  /  Staff reporter

The Taiwan Railway Administration (TRA) will be offering a special business-class service on its Neiwan branch line (內灣線) on June 8, to celebrate the annual Railway Festival.

The TRA said the Neiwan branch line which connects Hsinchu and Neiwan was one of its most popular routes given the proximity of tourist attractions along the line.

The Neiwan branch resumed full operations last year after the TRA spent four years on service-boosting infrastructure improvements.

The business-class train, part of planned celebratory services, will be making its debut appearance on the line and will be pulled by a CK124-model steam train locomotive. The service will also host a dining carriage.

The CK124 locomotive was imported to Taiwan from Japan in 1936, one of a range of trains brought to the country before 1942. The TRA canceled the use of all steam trains on main railway lines in 1982, but at around the same time, the authority began restoring some of the functioning steam locomotives, including the CK124.

Since 1997, the TRA has been using the CK124s to mark special occasions and, while the same locomotive had been used on the Neiwan Line before, it was only brought out for rail steam aficionados keen on reminiscing about the golden era of steam trains.

With the summer season officially set to start next month, the TRA said that the business-class train would be air-conditioned. The train is scheduled to leave Hsinchu station in the morning and will stop at Jhudong (竹東) station for 90 minutes so that tourists can visit a memorial park, as well as other scenic attractions in the town.

The train is also scheduled to stop at the Neiwan station for about an hour so tourists can check out the town’s old high street while visitors will also be treated to a visit to the railway’s signal center at Jioucantou (九讚頭) station.

Tickets cost NT$899 per person and reservations open tomorrow.

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