The Taiwan Railways Administration (TRA) said yesterday that part of the Alishan Forest Railway is scheduled to resume operation on Monday after about four years of restoration work.
The railway system is one of the few logging railways from the Japanese colonial era still in use. It was severely damaged in the aftermath of Typhoon Morakot in 2009.
According to the TRA, damage was reported at 400 locations along the railway route.
The restoration work was challenging as some sections are not accessible by road, the TRA said.
In addition, construction machinery could not be used in those sections and the repairs were carried out manually, it added.
The first stage of the restoration work took about four years to complete and cost about NT$1 billion (US$33 million), it said.
People interested in taking the forest railway can board the train at the Chiayi Railway Station, with the Fengchi Lake Station (奮起湖) serving as the terminal station.
The reconstruction work on the section between Fengchi Lake and Alishan stations is scheduled to be completed by October, the agency said, adding that the entire railway could be opened to the public next year.
To facilitate the transportation of travelers during the Lunar New Year holiday, the TRA has requested that the number of shuttle buses be increased between Fengchi Lake and Shichao (石棹).
From Shichao, travelers can take a transfer bus to either the Alishan Forest Park or Chiayi.
The TRA said it would start accepting ticket reservations from today.
Further ticket information is available at www.railway.gov.tw/tw/Alishan/page5_6.html.
Meanwhile, people interested in traveling during the six-day Lunar New Year holiday are advised to check traffic conditions on the highways leading to the nation’s main tourist attractions using the Directorate-General of Highways’ real-time traffic monitoring system.
The Tourism Bureau said that many people are likely to spend the Lunar New Year in Taiwan because holiday is relatively short this year, with the number of domestic tourists potentially topping 9.8 million.
The directorate warned that traffic congestion is very likely to occur on the highways serving tourist attractions in Central and Southern Taiwan, including Provincial Highways No. 14, 14A, 17, 18 and 21 as well as County Highway 169.
The popular destinations in the vicinity of these highways include Sun Moon Lake, Formosan Aboriginal Culture Village, Cingjing Veterans’ Farm, Alishan, Nan Kun Shen Dai Tian Temple, Fo Guang Shan Monastry and Kenting National Park.
Travelers can check traffic conditions on the directorate’s Web site at http://168.thb.gov.tw/navigate.do.