Exploring Taiwan by train


I’ve just returned from rainy Taitung, where I bounced between little towns in the southernmost part of that county for Travel in Taiwan. Since November 2016 I’ve researched and written eight explore-by-rail articles for that magazine. Possibly the most enjoyable was the very first, where I took the Coast Line through Miaoli County, but each trip has been an education… not to mention an excuse to get away from the computer for an entire day, or even two.

All this train travel prompted me to count up how many of Taiwan’s stations I’ve been to over the past 27-plus years. The high-speed railway has just 12 stations, and I’ve boarded and/or disembarked at all but two. Taiwan Railways Administration, the government agency that operates the island’s conventional rail system, currently has 227 functioning passenger stations; after some back-of-an-envelope reckoning, I think I’ve been to about 90 of them. I don’t count Duoliang Station, pictured here, because trains no longer stop there, even though it’s a popular tourist attractions.

I expect to tick off a few more TRA stations in the near future – but the list of never-visited stations is about to grow. In the next year or two, several new stations in Taichung and Kaohsiung are set to begin serving commuters in those cities. At least one of these, Sankuaicuo in Kaohsiung, will actually be reopened station.