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Train ticket robot main attraction at new Xinwuri Station mall

2012/06/25 12:56:11

Taipei, June 25 (CNA) A shopping mall featuring restaurants and stores with nostalgic appeals opened at a train station in central Taiwan June 22, but it was a set of "time traveling robots" that stood out as the main attraction.

The robots that grace Xinwuri Station, created from more than one million old train tickets, were built by collector Ho Yuan-fu, a train enthusiast and the founder of a store that sells Taiwanese souvenirs called Taiwan Railway Company.

Ho made two robots, one big -- standing 3.7 meters tall -- and one small, to symbolize a father bringing his son to the train station to have some fun in the hope of encouraging families to visit, he said.

The robots cost around NT$10 million (US$333,737) to make, largely because of the investment needed to buy old train tickets, and took five people 45 days to build.

Though the big robot at present cannot move, Ho plans to animate it by enabling it to rotate its arms and light up at a designated time every day.

The shopping mall itself was part of a grand plan to create a center for leisure, tourism and business in an area where Taiwan's high-speed rail line and traditional rail system intersect, said Taichung Railway Station manager Lin Ching-san.

The mall is a 6,000-square-meter corridor that connects Xinwuri Station, operated by the Taiwan Railways Administration, and the high-speed rail's Wuri Station, and features restaurants and shops with traditional themes.

But Lin said he expected the robots, a life-size steam locomotive model made of cardboard in the station, and creative and traditional displays in the mall to also draw many visitors.

(By Sophia Chen and I-Ling Chen)