Sunday, March 6, 2016

Taiwan Trip Feb. 2016


Over February break, in which my school gives me a week off that they dub "Ski Week." Due to the fact that my mother had to visit some relatives, and I had a week off, my mom and I visited Taiwan! Yay! Anyway, this is our plane, a China Airlines 777-ER that flew between SFO-TPE. 
While we were on the flight, they served two meals, both of which deserve to be burnt at the stake. Okay, maybe they weren't that bad, but when I ordered chicken rice, which was mushy and full of ginger. (I hate ginger, except in the context of ginger snaps!) This is the first picture that I took once deplaning, and it is a typical Taiwanese/Japanese postbox. The green side is for regular mail, and the red side is for express mail.

After we got out of the airport, which did not take long (hear that, SFO?) we went to my grandmother's hotel room in Taipei. From their room, I had an excellent view of the MRT, so while my mom, aunt and grandma were talking, I got some shots of the Brown Muzha/Wenhu/Neihu line. This is the newer type of rolling stock, which I believe is the Bombardier BT370. I've ridden on these several times, and because the line is a driver-less system, the first and last cars can give you an excellent view. Unfortunately, these new cars have less space to look out the window, as opposed to the older and less seen stock.

This is the good ol' stock that I was referring to, built by MATRA, a French company specializing in this kind of stuff. It was classified as the VAL256. Part of the reason why I think I took a liking to these type is that back when I actually rode them more often than the newer stock was because I was shorter then, and therefore it was easier to see out of the windows.

Well, after the chat and breakfast, we all headed over by MRT to Chiang Kai-Shiek Hall. This is our Xinyi line (Red) service departing. Unfortunately, the gates on the platform made it hard to see what type it was.

Amazingly, on the grounds of the memorial hall there was a big theater and a big music hall. This is one of them, and it was gigantic!
This is the other humongous building.  

And this is the big hall. Do you see that flagpole? Times two, and you reach the top of the hall.

It's fish-mom!

While we were there, we popped in on an over-priced model railway exhibition, where they had many Japanese and Taiwanese trains on display. This is a 4-6-4 steam loco from Japan.

I believe this is a 2-8-2 Mikado, but it is a little hard to tell.

Same with this one.

I actually had no idea that this steam locomotive existed until I saw it in this exhibit!

On the right is a Yamanote line EMU, and on the left is an EMU that I know has run on services such as the Airport Narita (not to be confused with the Narita Express.)

This is a closeup  of the Airport Narita EMU.

Apologies for the blurry pictures, but this is an EF?? with a Blue Train, or long-since discontinued sleeper train in Japan.

This is another EF?? on a passenger train with a DMU model to the side of it.

This is the 485 series EMU. Back in fifth grade, I actually did a report on it! Unfortunately it wasn't graded. :(

This is the famed Hokutosei, which means "Big Dipper" in Japanese, alongside the Cassiopeia, both of which are over-priced discontinued sleeper trains soon to be replaced with over-priced cruise trains.

It is a little indiscernible, but I think it might be the Hida DMU  that I took last summer. Wide windows, brown-orange-white paint scheme... 

I think that this is a Tokyo Metro subway, but as I have had little to no experience in Tokyo, I can't tell.

I know that this is a maintenance duo that works on a private railway out there, but it is pretty cool!

This is an articulated Kyoto tram, next to their "retro" tram.

This outline reminds me of a Metro-North Hudson Line, with a GP35 as power.

This is the 700T, built by Kawasaki, Hitachi, and Nippon Sharyo. The "T" stands for Taiwan.

This TEMU (Tilting Electrical Multiple Unit.) 1000 Taroko Express on display. This train runs on the curvy Yilan line between Tianzhong, Taipei, and Hualien.

This is the TEMU2000 which was designed for Puyuma services from Taichung to Hualien and back, and only came onto the island in 2012.

Oh...the GG1's. Where to start? Well, they are electric engines built for the Penn Railroad by the Altoona Works with a 2-C+C-2 wheel arrangement, one of these pulled the first Amtrak train ever out of Penn Station in NYC to Philadelphia, and the last one was withdrawn from active service by New Jersey Transit in 1983. Many remain in museums, and unfortunately due to asbestos problems, they probably won't run in the near future.
This is a model of the N700 series from Japan that they allowed people to drive around the loop twice, for free.

TOMICA!!!! Boy, this brings back tome memories of THSR models, Thomas, that kind of stuff. Anyway, this is a Puyuma model running around on the loop.

This is the N700, on it's own private right-of-way.

After the model exhibit, we went and rode the BRT from the Hall to this place called Ding Tai Fung, which has some great soup  buns. This is the bus rapid transit stop.

Before we went in, we could see the Taipei 101 rising out of the fog.

After we ate, (I never want to see a soup bun again!), we walked past Daan Park. It happened to be the Chinese New Years Festival, and there was a giant inflatable monkey hero, who is famous in Chinese literature.

The flowers were pretty, so I snapped a few photos.

While we were walking towards the train station, I saw these two stamps depicting an EMU500/600 and a Kaohsiung MRT.

This is 2ft 6in 0-8-0 LDK58, of the LDK50 class running in Hualien. This one was plinthed in front of the East Entrance to Taipei Main Station, but sister LDK59 is preserved in running order back in Hualien.

This is the odd 0-8-0 wheel arrangement.

The inside of the cab looked relatively cramped, what with the large boiler and all that.

This is the number board saying its number and class.

This is BK124 (different from CK124) on display at Wuri station. Too bad it's made out of cardboard!

There was this restaurant that made all these cardboard trains between THSR and TRA. This is a model of one of the Alishan shay locomotives.

This is CK101 in its cardboard form.


They got it down to the detail! This is a DRC1000 made out of cardboard. These can be found in Pingxi, Neiwan, Jiji, (maybe?) Shen'ao, and formerly on the Linkou line.
While waiting for our EMU800 train, I saw a Tze-Chiang Hao rush by, and I caught it on video.

This is our train that we rode three stops to get to Taichung.

E327 waits before departing with a Tze-Chiang Hao limited express. What I was surprised about, however, was that it was a.) hauled by a loco and b.) it had the Indian railway stock, which I was not aware of.
Our hotel, which was located immediately behind the train station had a view of both the old railway line and the new line that probably will not open until I go to college. If I sound cynical, take a look at the Taoyuan MRT. Slated to open in 2013, but they are "projecting" for 2016, by now. 

This is a small yellow crane switcher that was on the new line, which is fairly rare to see. They are, however working pretty hard on it!

The next morning, I was surprised to see that switcher moving back and forth on the track, which I caught on video.

After we left our hotel, we went to get some a-kun noodles. This is a dove that found it's new home.

I think we have a different image when we think of "Toy Story."

Original sales pitch!
It is a very catchy sales pitch.

We went to get lunch near Ershui, and there was this place that was a railway-themed restaurant. In front, there were railway signals... 

The doors on the outside were shaped like local trains, and on the inside like the Chu-Kuang Express coaches.

This is the name of the place that we were going to, Fu Jin.
Their mailbox is shaped like a train!
Inside, there are some pictures of Japanese and Taiwanese trains.

These are two different models of Alishan Shay locomotives.

This is a mural of what the scene would have looked like in the old days. CK124 is really famous around here!

There was some plates that had a Shay loco on it, with their retro coaches on it.

This one with the cherry blossoms on it looked nice.

The nameplate reads "Alishan Train."
CK101 is another celebrity, because the CK100/CK120 were the most popular classes to put on branch lines back in the day.

After getting lunch, we visited the new Changhua THSR station, even though the station is in Tianzhong, which is only one stop away from Ershui. Still nice...

This is a video to show how the grade crossings work in Taiwan, and also an EMU800 passing.
We got these Railway Bentos that showed EMU200s on Tze-Chiang Hao service.

Everything about this bento was good, except for the vegetables on the sides. The taro ball in the center was particularly good, and their chicken rice was great.

The park that we were in to eat lunch had old sleepers which formed little stepping stones.

At Ershui, they had some old passenger stock and freight stock lying around. This is showing the R?? class locomotive in the distance, some switchers, and our train.

This is DRC1007 bound for Checheng that we took.

The best part about these railcars? You get to play driver!

The line is a tourist line, and they have a token system. This is the train order hoop that was to be given up by the driver at the middle station.

This is the line between Ershui and the first level crossing.

This is the first station along the route.

This is the intermediate station in which we passed the three-car-set and passed the token. one is stripy.

Along the route, there is an old spur that looked like it had not been used for a while. I didn't know it existed?

Nothing like some good ol' fashioned trespassing, eh?

This is the final station, which was Checheng.

The foggy mountains had the perfect backdrop for this photo or the other railcar.

Personally, I like this one, too.

S316 is a freight switcher that was on display.

The trucks resemble freight bogies, in my opinion.
This is a Taiwanese brake-van, or caboose in our terms.

This is a signalbox that was just sitting there.

We fed the koi. We started a riot.

Again, foggy mountains are nice!

I took a video of this heron walking around on some raised concrete in the lake. 

While walking with my family, I found this part of a brick on the ground with some writing on it. My mom suggested that it was part of a funeral urn, but that was voted out. I took a couple of pictures and left it. Judging by the words on the side, it could be a fragment of a poem!

I am still perplexed by this scientific conundrum.

I wonder how the loggers got their trains around with this type of curves.

On display there were some logs, which were put there to tell how they chopped the logs up with all of their strength and labor...and had to ship it off to Japan because  of the occupation.
This is our train, the three-car-set coming in to Checheng. It was extremely crowded, but we still nailed the prime seat!

This is the set that we rode to get the Checheng passing us at that station again.

Our train that we rode was illuminated by Christmas lights doubling as Chinese New Year Lights to increase tourism.
That night after dinner, I decided to draw the DMU that we rode, so this is a DRC1000 running on the Jiji line. They can also be found on the Neiwan and Pingxi lines, packed and full to the brim with tourists.

It says to push! And it says not to push! What should I do?

Yeah, thanks. I'll never look at a deck of cards the same way again.

This is the former fire station, which was turned into a cafe.

Just like the fire station, the police station across the street was turned into a puppet museum. 

Some of these look ridiculously expensive!

Mmmph! Ol' Square Head.

This is a set that had a temple, which was where all of those elaborate puppets would go during a show.

These are some of the instruments used in these puppet shows, such as the cymbals and the er-hu.

Outside there was a nice little courtyard with a statue and a gift shop.

And inside was the jail. This was the...erm...

This was a standard jail cell.
But if you were naughty, you got put into solitary...

After that, we went to see the Huwei Sugar Mill, which is the last working mill in Taiwan. They were selling ice cream and ice sticks, and the numbers for their products all had various trains on them. This is a little saddle tank locomotive.

But this is what the trains look like today.

Unfortunately, there were no trains running and they did not know when the train would come back, so we saw some of the stationary trains there. This is an 0-6-0 tank locomotive on the 2ft. 6in. line.

Judging by the rusty rails, this train hasn't moved for a while. The inner rail is for the 2ft. 6in. line, and the outer is for the 3ft. gauge trains.
This is the front of number 332, the tank loco I was talking about.

Originally, I thought these were the sugar cars, but then I realized that they were probably just maintenance vehicles, probably to clear away the flora growing all over the place.

It appears that this company has fallen on some hard times, as these don't look like cars that have been moved for some time.

Around the cane plantation, there were many stray dogs. My dog, Ollie, was actually a rescue found in a park, probably like these dogs.

Imagine trying to set these points! 

There was another stationary steam locomotive that was on display behind the place that was selling the ice cream. This is 0-6-0 number 11 on display in a park.

Right after that, we had to go find a place to go pray to the gods (it was Chinese New Year) and find lunch. We had lunch in a Little Eatery that had some good chicken rice. (My favorite Chinese Food.)

While we were there, we also made a stop at the new Yunlin THSR station, which had only gone into service this year.

Our plans for the afternoon consisted of going to Dou-Nan to visit there Comics & Picture Books libraries. Outside the station, there was a display of a sugar train, with a locomotive, flat car, cane wagon, and guard's van.

This is Dou-Nan train station. Unfortunately, I did not realize that I had gotten a little water on my lens, which is why there are spots appearing on the picture.

This is Taiwan Sugar Corporation #911 on a reinforced slope, along with the train. At dusk, it will light up, which is the reason for the lights all over.

Dou-Nan station is also famous for its very long bench, so here it is.

This is a video of an EMU800 arriving at the station.

Outside, there was a sign telling about the history of the station, along with a pair of giant sandals.

Through a gate next to the station, I was able to get some pictures of TRA's Plasser & Theurer maintenance vehicle.
While I was in the comic book library with my cousin, there was an extremely good view of the train tracks.  This is a maintenance truck with a rail on it. 

Outside, I got to see an orange shunter engine getting a repaint! Too bad they didn't finish before we had to leave.

I watched some trains and read Tintin in the Congo while we were at the comics area. This is a Tze-Chiang Hao Express passing by the station.
This is a Chu-Kuang Hao passing the place along with a Tze-Chiang Hao.

Camouflage taken to the next level...but seriously, why would anyone do this?

This is the train all lit up.

My step-grandma makes one of two best Chicken Rice that I have had. The other best being my grandma's, who lives in NYC.
Yeah...I got bored.

The next morning, I woke up and found a small rail-tractor on the track that I could easily see. Talk about compact!

Unfortunately this was our last day, but fortunately we were spending one-and-a-half hours at Changhua roundhouse, which is a fully functioning roundhouse outside of Changhua Station. This is some graffiti showing Iron Man, I think. 

Yes! I finally saw my first (and favorite) EMU700 for that trip!

This is the tender for DT668, a steam locomotive that lived in the Changhua roundhouse.

This is the lineup of R31, R24, and R156, EMD G12 and EMDG22 classes.

R22 was in CK101's stall, which was probably in Taipei, its "Vacation House" of sorts.

This is CK124, with its own makeshift tender. A 2-6-2 tank, very popular on branchlines. In 2010, it did some rare mileage trips on the Old Mountain Line, which is now closed.
This is DT668 in the shed.

R72, a G12.

R155, which is a G22.

Diesel Hydraulic Locomotive 111 which is both a freight and a shunter locomotive.
R155, a G22.
This is R57, another G22.

The "deadline" this time consisted of a bunch of G12s that were more than a "bit" dilapidated.

S318, much like sister S316, has been in the same position at the roundhouse since that last time we visited. (June 2015)

Personally, I've always thought of the S300s as a little bit fat.

R159 is another G22 sitting in the sidings.

This is a view of the turntable that was lined up for stall 4.

R40, which was in the lead tracks near the entrance last time was sitting on one of the connecting tracks to the outside world. This is a G12.

Next to R40, were some E200/300/400 sets. They could be any of the three because they are all externally identical.

The viewing platform was crowded (as ever) but we could still see the entire roundhouse.

This is push-pull Tze-Chiang Hao set going by on the curve. The trains were built by Union Carriage and Co. of South Africa in 1996, as E1000 sets. They were replacing the EMU1/2/300 former TZH sets.

This is a new EMU800 series local train, which is phasing out older EMU4/5/600 trains. Unfortunately, the EMU700 sets only run in Taipei, Chiayi, Pingtung, Hualien, Tainan, and pretty much everywhere besides Taichung.
This is another local set going into Changhua station.

I took a ground-level view of a Chu-Kuang Hao set going by the yards.

EMU5/600 set going by on the second level of the tower. 
While we were at the roundhouse, I saw a rather rare movement! A diesel locomotive was hauling two electrics, and it was ready to put them into the shed!
This is the first of the two electrics.

R28, the loco that hauled them there, was getting the sand tanks refilled. R28 is a G12, also.

We got ready to leave, but just at the last moment, R159 started up!

Also, R28 was there. It went into the roundhouse, as these photos will tell.

And this is it going into stall four.

R159 wasn't going into any stalls, but it took a ride on the turntable anyway, because it had to get to the next track over.
Well, that was it for our Taichung adventures. (sigh.) Here is our THSR arriving to bring us back to Taipei.

We were meeting my aunt at the east gate of Taipei Main, but do you remember how I said there was a train on display? Here is the cab side.

I think this is part DMU because there were rods on the sides of the front bogie...but why was it coupled up to LDK58, then? It has now been confirmed as one of the many mysteries in life.
We (me, mom, aunt) headed over to a shopping mall. The taxi that we got on had an (insane) driver that acted like he was lecturing on a soapbox. It was hilarious! At the shopping mall, we went to a Springwater House for some lunch and pearl milk tea. After "lunch (it was like, 2:00 PM)" we went to a bookstore. I got two books, the Illustrated Handbook of Taiwan Railways Rolling Stock and the Illustrated Handbook of Chinese Rolling Stock, Part I. Both books are excellent...they're just both in the Chinese Language. Fortunately, I speak it fluently and can read some of it in Chinese. Plus, the book on TW trains covers all of them and is very colorful. Outside the mall, there were multiple shops/trucks that were selling various things. This is the sign for a beer shop. Hmm...can anyone say he's had seventeen two many?

Alas, nighttime came, and we had to head over to the THSR Taipei station and board the train towards Taoyuan. This is the train departing said station.

No, no, yes, yes. Am I contaminated?!

This is the Skytram between terminals at the station.

Onboard the flight they had real guava! Really!

And anyway, that concluded my February trip to Taiwan. After getting off the plane, we had to endure two hours of customs, with four lines that we had to stay in! Warning: SFO Int'l Customs is nothing but a clusterf*** for travellers. SJC or OAK would probably be better!!!

Bye for now,

No comments:

Post a Comment