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Alishan Forest Railway forges sisterhood ties with Slovakian railway

2018/12/05 18:53:06

Forestry Bureau Director- General Lin Hwa-ching (林華慶, right)

Taipei, Dec. 5 (CNA) Taiwan's Alishan Forest Railway forged sisterhood relations Wednesday with Slovakia's Cierny Hron Forest Railway ahead of its Dec. 25 106th anniversary of operations.

The sisterhood ties were formed through a memorandum of understanding (MOU) signed by Forestry Bureau Director- General Lin Hwa-ching (林華慶) and Aleš Bílek, head of the Slovakian railway, at a ceremony in Chiayi County, southern Taiwan.

The MOU is the third signed between the two countries this year, Martin Podstavek, Slovakia's representative in Taiwan, said at the ceremony.

In marking the formation of sisterhood ties, Lin presented a Franz porcelain bearing a painting of the Alishan steam locomotive to Slovakia.

Lin said that the Cierny Hron Railway, a 131.98-kilometer network of 76-cm narrow gauge rail in the landlocked country in central Europe, was built as a forest railway for logging operations. In 1909, regular lumber transport on the railway started.

Built in 1912, the Alishan Forest Railway, an 86-km network of 76.2-cm narrow gauge rail running up to the popular mountain resort of Alishan in Chiayi County, was also used for logging, according to Lin.

Today, the two rail systems are used for tourism.

The formation of the sisterhood ties makes the Slovak railway the Alishan railway's ninth sister railway, and Slovakia the fifth country with which it has a sister railway agreement, according to Huang Miao-hsiu (黃妙修), head of the Alishan Forest Railway and Cultural Heritage Office.

Starting Jan. 1, 2019, a steam locomotive with vintage-style wooden carriages will run from Chiayi Station to Beimen Station on the rail line once every two weeks in a bid to boost local tourism, Huang added.

(By Chiang Chun-liang and Evelyn Kao)
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