An exhibition chronicling the development of the nation’s railway opened on Sunday at Taiwan Historica in Nantou City, showcasing official railway memorabilia and collector’s items that are rarely displayed in public.
The exhibition documents the evolution of the railway from the time the first railway line was laid, to the construction of the north and south-bound routes, the electrification of the western routes and the exploration conducted in the mountainous region of eastern Taiwan.
The exhibition is a testament to the more than 100 years of progress the national railway has made, Taiwan Historica director Chang Hong-ming (張鴻銘) said.
The development of the railway started during the late Qing Dynasty, with major construction taking place during the Japanese colonial period from 1895 to 1945, followed by an era of modernization after World War II when the Republic of China took control of Taiwan from Japan, Chang added.
Some of the personal stories of railway staff are on display at the exhibition to give the engineering and technological developments a human element.
The exhibition also showcases records of a train derailment involving the first Japanese governor-general of Taiwan, Sukenori Kabayama, when he took the first train ride on the island.
Furthermore, visitors can catch a rare glimpse of a stone plaque with an inscription written by former Japanese prime minister Hirobumi Ito in 1896, which adorned what is now the Nangang railway tunnel.
The exhibition, jointly organized by Taiwan Historica, the National Taiwan Museum and the National Changhua Living Art Center, runs through Feb. 10.