Sunday, June 20, 2010

Alishan Railway partially reopens.

Two short, but important, sections of the historic Alishan Mountain Railway have reopened. The 6.2 km-long Jhushan/Zhushan Sunrise-Watching Line (祝山觀日線) as well as the Divine Tree (Shen-mu, 神木線) Line are operating again. Both operate within the Forest Recreation Area at almost 2,500 meters elevation, and thus will not be of any use in terms of getting to Alishan from Chaiyi.

Management of the rail line is now back in the hand of the Forestry Bureau after the private company running it for a couple years declared themselves unable to repair the damaged line (fair enough - the reconstruction costs will be enormous). The government's pronouncements to have the entire rail line from Chaiyi to Alishan fixed by the end of 2011 is rightfully being treated with great scepticism by those familiar with the extensive damage caused by last year’s Typhoon Morakot. I hope the cynics are wrong