Google yesterday temporarily changed its online logo to one that showed a train passing through mountain tracks lined with cherry blossom trees, to celebrate the 106th year of the Alishan Forest Railway’s operations.
The search engine’s themed logos, known as Google Doodles, celebrate specific occasions in targeted countries or regions.
Yesterday’s doodle, which was visible to users in Taiwan, China, Hong Kong and Japan, featured the railway’s iconic red train as it makes its way through a scene of cherry trees in full bloom, with Chiayi County’s Alishan (阿里山) in the background.
Photo courtesy of the Taiwan Railways Administration
Google featured the doodle to “[celebrate] the landmark on what is known as kickoff day for the Alishan ‘Cherry Blossom Season,’” it said on its Doodle Archive Web site.
However, those wishing to visit should note that services on one of the railway’s main lines — between the Chiayi and Shizilu stations — have been suspended until June.
The Taiwan Railways Administration last month decided to suspend services from Feb. 26 to March 11 for maintenance and safety inspections, following a number of derailments.
However, the branch line yesterday announced that the suspension would be extended by three months to facilitate an improvement project.
The annual Alishan cherry blossom festival is to officially open on Thursday. The three railroad stretches within the Alishan Forest Recreation Area (阿里山國家風景區) are all operating normally.
The original purpose of the railway, which started operations in 1912 under the Japanese colonial administration, was to transport timber. It is now used to transport travelers up to the recreation area at 2,216m above sea level.
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