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Train festival on scenic Jiji Line to feature cartoon characters

2012/07/05 11:51:58

Taipei, July 5 (CNA) A lineup of popular cartoon characters, including Thomas the Tank Engine, will be the highlight of the Nantou County Train Festival that will run July 15-Aug. 12, the event organizers said Thursday.

The annual festival on the recently repaired scenic Jiji Line, which reopened to the public only last year, will showcase cartoon characters from the United Kingdom, the United States and Japan, according to Nantou county government officials.

Besides the festival's "spokesman" -- Thomas the Tank Engine, an animated locomotive -- other characters will include those from Pingu, Bob the Builder, Sesame Street, Deko Boko Friends and Tamagotchi, said project manager Freya Wu.

"We want to make it a fun family event and introduce the younger generation to the railway world," Wu said.

For hardcore railway fans, Wu added, two antique steam locomotives -- models DT668 and CK124 -- will run on the line.

She said the festival is expected to bring nearly 200,000 tourists to the mountainous county in central Taiwan, significantly boosting local tourism following the reconstruction work that has included repairs to the seven tunnels on the line.

Built in the Japanese colonial era, the railway was originally used mainly to haul hydroelectric gear for a power plant at nearby Sun Moon Lake.

A major tourist attraction in modern days, the condition of the line had been unstable for several years, especially after the devastating earthquake of Sept. 21, 1999, which caused serious damage to central Taiwan.

(By Lee Hsin-Yin)