Fans bid farewell to Taiwan's workhorse train

03/29/2022 05:01 PM
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CNA photo March 29, 2022
CNA photo March 29, 2022

Taipei, March 29 (CNA) Train buffs from around Taiwan gathered at train stations in Hualien and New Taipei on Tuesday to bid farewell to the last of the Fu-Hsing Semi Express trains, once the workhorse of Taiwan's passenger railway system.

The Fu-Hsing Semi Express No. 605 embarked on the final journey of the Fu-Hsing fleet when it left Hualien Station at 6:05 a.m. on a three-hour, 51-minute trip to Shulin Station in New Taipei.

Several train buffs and Hualien residents gathered at the station to catch a glimpse of the last train and snap photos of the locomotive, which was adorned with commemorative decorations to mark the occasion.

The Fu-Hsing Semi Express No. 605 departs Hualien Tuesday morning.
CNA photo March 29, 2022
CNA photo March 29, 2022

As the train rolled into Shulin Station at 9:56 a.m. for its final stop, more fans were gathered to bid the Fu-Hsing series rolling stock a last farewell.

One train fan, surnamed Lai (賴), said he took the day off to ride the train one last time with his wife and two children, after having lived with Fu-Hsing series trains his entire life.

The driver of the train's final service said that due to the unique brake system of the Fu-Hsing trains, it took experience and skill to drive them, while the train's conductor said he was both proud and sad to see a rolling stock older than him take its final bow.

The Fu-Hsing Semi Express No. 605 arrives in Shulin Station in New Taipei.
CNA photo March 29, 2022
CNA photo March 29, 2022

Rolled out starting in early 1981, the Fu-Hsing series trains were Taiwan's first domestically built trains and also the first in the country with air conditioning.

Once ubiquitous across the island, Fu-Hsing trains were gradually phased out and replaced by more modern rolling stock and high-speed rail on the bulk of the Taiwan Railways Administration's (TRA) routes.

All of the train's scheduled services will be taken over by the new EMU900 and existing EMU500 trains, as well as Tze-Chiang Limited Express trains following slight adjustments to the TRA's schedule that took effect Tuesday.

Railway fans take pictures of the final Fu-Hsing service in Hualien. CNA photo March 29, 2022
Railway fans take pictures of the final Fu-Hsing service in Hualien. CNA photo March 29, 2022
CNA photo March 29, 2022
CNA photo March 29, 2022

The change is part of a significant modernization of the TRA's fleet that also included Monday's retirement of the EMU1200 train used on certain Tze-Chiang Limited Express train routes, according to the TRA.

The phasing out of these older models will allow the TRA to fully utilize its newly acquired Japan-build EMU3000 trains and the Korean-made EMU900 series trains that both went into service in 2021.

According to the TRA, the bulk of the Fu-Hsing trains will be demolished, except for some passenger cars it felt it could be salvaged and repurposed for use on its South Link line.

CNA photo March 29, 2022
CNA photo March 29, 2022
CNA photo March 29, 2022
CNA photo March 29, 2022

In honor of the Fu-Hsing's decades of service in Taiwan, the TRA sold 300 NT$150 commemorative tickets for the Hualien to Xincheng Taroko Station stretch of the train's final journey, which included official TRA validation.

(By James Lo, Lee Shien-feng and Wang Hung-kuo)

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Fu-Hsing
Fu-Hsing's commemorative tickets stamped with official TRA validation for its last journey. CNA photo March 29, 2022
CNA photo March 29, 2022
CNA photo March 29, 2022
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