Thursday, January 9, 2014

Shenao Branch Railway reopens to passenger traffic

From this weekend, tourists will be able to take trains along the short but scenic Shenao Branch Railway (深澳線) for the first time since passenger services ended in 1989. The railroad was originally built to carry coal to power stations; freight services didn't cease until 2007.

The line has been restored as part of a development plan centered around Badouzi (八斗子), a little fishing port near Keelung. Trains will start from Ruifang (瑞芳), a nondescript town already well-known to railway enthusiasts as a place where they can begin to explore Shifen and the Pingxi Branch Railway (平溪支线). The Shenao Branch Railway is 4.2km long and provides good views of Taiwan's rugged northeast coast. Trains, of which they'll be 20 per day, will take just 8 minutes to reach the new National Museum of Marine Science & Technology. Another nearby and worthwhile attraction is Houtong Coal-Mine Ecological Park.

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