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Wulai Trolley reopens in northern Taiwan indigenous village

Trolley line fell victim to 2015 Typhoon Soudelor

Premier Lin Chuan (left) on the Wulai Trolley.

Premier Lin Chuan (left) on the Wulai Trolley. (CNA photo)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) – The Wulai Trolley (烏來Lokah台車) which ran near the scenic indigenous village from as early as in 1928 during the Japanese colonial era until the devastation of Typhoon Soudelor in August 2015, came back to life Saturday in a cuter version for present-day tourists.

The train’s original incarnation served to move trees from the forest to the factory, with the opening of a road to Wulai in 1951 leading to the transportation of people for the first time.

The typhoon hit the popular weekend destination in New Taipei City hard, leading to a reconstruction effort which included a budget of NT$55 million (US$1.8 million) spent by the Forestry Bureau (林務局) at the Council of Agriculture on the revival of the trolley project.

The three trains are decorated with images of wild boars, tree frogs and indigenous Atayal children respectively. They ride at a speed of 25 kilometers per hour along the 1.5-km track, which includes two stations, one in the center of Wulai and one near a waterfall.

Speaking at its inauguration Saturday, Premier Lin Chuan (林全) said he had promised the project would be completed by March this year, but he had failed because the trolley line did not have the necessary licenses, which caused operating and safety problems.

During a trial period until late September, tickets will cost NT$30 (US$1) a piece. Business in the area reportedly dropped by half during the closure of the line after the typhoon.