TAIPEI (Taiwan News)--The once very popular Bong Bong tourist train on Mt. Taiping in northeast Taiwan will resume service on the morning of Sept. 19 (Wednesday), and half price train tickets will be offered to riders from Sept. 19 to Sept. 30, according to a news release posted on Taipingshan National Forest Recreation Area (TNFRA) website.
The price of a regular Bong Bong Train ticket for an adult is NT$180, but during the 12 days from Sept. 19 to Sept. 30, the price will be NT$90.
The TNFRA, located in Datong Township, Yilan County, is the largest national forest recreation area in northern Taiwan. The Cueifong Lake , Jioujhihze Hot Spring and the area's nine natural hiking trails are all very well liked by visitors, according to the release.
Bong Bong Train, once one of the most popular tourist attractions in the park, was heavily damaged by typhoons in 2012 and 2015, and the service has been suspended since 2012.
Taipingshan used to be a forest farm, and Bong Bong Train played an important role in transporting timber between different locations in the early days.
“One of the most popular tourist attractions of ecotourism in Taipingshan, the Maosing Line was restored in 1985 and re-operated in 1991. The Bong Bong train station is on the left side of [the] central stairway at Taipingshan Villa. The Maosing Line is 3 km long and it takes 20 minutes to arrive at the terminal- Maosing Station,” an introduction on the TNFRA’s website read.
“At Maosing Station, you will also find a self-guided forest trail, a native ferns garden and Maosing National Forest Trail.”
According to the TNFRA’s administration, the name of the train came from the peculiar sounds of “bong bong” which the train made when its orange-yellow colored cars were moving slowly along the slope and heading to Maosing Station.
In 2012, the railway of Bong Bong Train was seriously damaged by Typhoon Saola, with landslides on several slopes along the railway, hollowed out railway track bases, and tilted train stations. The tourist train was originally planned to resume service in 2015 after restoration, but in that year, Typhoon Soudelor and Typhoon Dujuan again wreaked havoc on the train.
In the following six years, Luodong Forest District Office spent a total of about NT$120 million to repair the tracks, the slopes, the bridges, the train stations and platforms, as well as the Maosing trail and the surrounding environment.
Sale of Bong Bong Train tickets will begin on 11 a.m. on Sept. 19, and four trains are scheduled to leave the Taipingshan Villa station at 12:30 p.m., 1:30 p.m., 2:30 p.m. and 3:30 p.m., respectively. Every train rider on the opening day will get a free memorial ticket and a Bong Bong Train gift, the document said.
Bong Bong Train on Mt. Taiping (photo from Taipingshan National Forest Recreation Area Facebook account)
Bong Bong Train on Mt. Taiping (photo from Taipingshan National Forest Recreation Area webiste)