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Railway launches merchandise aimed at younger generation

2012/06/07 19:59:38

Taipei, June 7 (CNA) The Taiwan Railways Administration (TRA) said Thursday it is launching a range of creative merchandise to celebrate its 125th anniversary on June 9 and revive its century-old image.

The railway administration has been selling souvenirs since 2000, but this time the designs are aimed at attracting not just train enthusiasts but also the general public, officials said.

"We want to see the love of trains extend beyond the circle of aficionados because it is such fun," said Lee Kun-kuang, an official of the TRA.

For example, the souvenir series includes stationery that young women would find attractive, he said.

The stationery features dreamlike images in the Japanese romantic animation style known as Moe, with trains as the central theme, Lee said.

On the postcards and notebook covers are images of animated trains surrounded by adorable animals and elves, he said.

Wang Chuan-fu, who designed the stationery, said he also tried to integrate some elements of romance into his art.

"I have seen several love stories play out on the Taroko Express" and those experiences have been a source of inspiration, he said, referring to a train that runs on the eastern Taiwan line.

Lee said the TRA hopes to double its sales of railway merchandise to NT$80 million (US$2.6 million) by the end of this year.

Although souvenir sales account for less than 5 percent of the TRA's total annual income, it is necessary to head in that direction, Lee added.

"We need to create a sustainable brand," he said, adding that the TRA will continue to launch souvenirs such as action figure dolls.

(By Lee Hsin-Yin)