Sat, Jun 29, 2019 - Page 2 News List

Miaoli County’s ‘rail bike’ is to begin operations

By Peng Chien-li and Jake Chung  /  Staff reporter, with staff writer

Tourists ride the Old Mountain Line “rail bike” along Yutengping Bridge in Miaoli County on Thursday.

Photo: Peng Chien-li, Taipei Times

The Miaoli County Government on Thursday announced that the county’s “rail bike” system is to begin operations on Monday.

The rail bike system allows visitors to ride four-seat, pedal-powered rail cars along the former “Old Mountain Line” railway line and enjoy the scenic view in an environmentally friendly and healthy way, Miaoli County Commissioner Hsu Yao-chang (徐耀昌) said.

The county government has put a lot of effort into revitalizing the former Taiwan Railways Administration branch line that formerly ran from Sanyi Township (三義) to Houli Township (后里) for tourism purposes, Hsu said.

Services on the branch line were suspended in 1998. A steam locomotive was introduced to the line in 2010 in an attempt to attract tourists.

The rail bike system, which has three routes and runs from Shengsing Station (勝興) to Liyutan (鯉魚潭), would help focus international attention on Miaoli, he said.

The system has been used by 250,000 people since its trial run began on Aug. 1 last year, the Miaoli County Tourism Bureau said.

Route A costs NT$275 and runs for 8km from Shengsing Station to the bridge foundations at Yutengping (魚騰坪), the county government said.

Route B costs NT$220 and runs for 7.2km from Longteng Station (龍騰) to Shengsing Station, while route C costs NT$275 and runs for 4.8km from Longteng Station to the north exit of tunnel No. 6, it said.

The county government estimates that with 110 rail cars on the three different routes it could attract 2,000 riders per day.

The county government has also arranged a two-year collaboration with the Shinano Railway Line in Nagano Prefecture, Japan.

People can exchange rail bike tickets and for a two-day ticket on the Shinano line free of charge, the county government said.

Shinano Railway Line has gifted the county government a capsule toy vending machine, the proceeds of which would be used to fund the Longteng branch of Yuying Elementary School, as well as Liyu and Chiaocheng elementary schools, the county government said.

Minister Without Portfolio Chang Ching-sen (張景森) praised the new rail car system, saying that it would do what the steam locomotive could not and bring in more tourists, adding that he was certain the system would bring about greater tourism development in the county.

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