Many couples have pledged their love by leaving a padlock on Love Locks Bridge (情鎖橋) in Greater Taichung. The challenge is how to make sure their lock does not get buried amongst the thousands of others hanging on the bridge.
One man has stepped up to the challenge by customizing a giant padlock, which, at 60cm by 40cm and 10cm thick, weighing about 20kg, is more than 100 times the size of a normal lock. Inscribed on the padlock is a message in Chinese: “Cookie, [I am going to] ‘lock’ you for the rest of your life. Yours truly, Chia-hsing (佳興),” with the date, Sept. 1, at the bottom.
Since its installation, the padlock has drawn the eyes of many visitors on the bridge, a 70m-long overpass 100m north of Fongyuan Railway Station that is also known as “Heart-Locks Bridge (心鎖橋).”
Most people who saw it were supportive of the man’s gesture. A tourist, who declined to give his name, said the gigantic padlock exemplified the man’s deep affection for his girlfriend and his determination to spend the rest of his life with her.
“With faith comes strength and with strength comes success,” another tourist said.
The larger-than-normal padlock has edged out a steering-wheel lock that has been affixed to the bridge for more than a year to become the biggest love padlock on the railing. The third spot goes to the 20 motorcycle wheel locks attached to the bridge.
The overpass has been frequented by couples for decades, and a popular belief that bridges straddling railway tracks can channel energy from trains passing beneath them to grant people’s wishes has only added to its attraction.
During its heyday, the bridge was covered with tens of thousands of padlocks inscribed with a variety of wishes, ranging from pledges of eternal love to prayers for health and prosperity.
Although there are now only about 3,000 locks left because of rampant vandalism in the area, it did not stop French fashion house Louis Vuitton from including the bridge in the sales catalog for its Lockit jewelry collection last year.
Also featured in the catalog were the Luzkov Bridge in Moscow, the Pont des Arts in Paris and Ponte Milvio in Rome, among others.
The Love Locks Bridge in Greater Taichung is scheduled to be relocated after construction of a new building for the train station is completed in 2015.