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Taiwan’s Alishan rail trail to close 3.5 months for repairs in mid-January

Repair plan follows series of hiking accidents on trail that resulted in one death and several injuries

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(Alishan Forest Railway and Cultural Heritage Office photo)

(Alishan Forest Railway and Cultural Heritage Office photo)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — The Mianyue Line rail trail in Chiayi County's Alishan will be closed from Jan. 17 to April 30 so that planks can be replaced to beef up safety following a series of hiking accidents that caused one death and several injuries this year, CNA cited the Alishan Forest Railway and Cultural Heritage Office as saying.

To improve the safety of the Mianyue Line trail for hikers and maintain the overall landscape, the office plans to replace the planks between the eighth and 21st bridges with wider, anti-slip boards, office Deputy Director-General Chou Heng-kai (周恆凱) told CNA, adding that the office has outsourced the project’s planning and design.

The Mianyue Line, which ceased operations as a railway after the 921 Earthquake in 1999, is known for its numerous elevated bridges and stunning primeval landscapes. Previously known only to hiking enthusiasts, the trail has become popular after significant media exposure.

As the Mianyue Line traverses the Taiwan Pleione Nature Reserve area, visitors must apply for an entry permit five to 60 days in advance. The permits are capped at 500 a day.

Those who have applied to hike the trail in January have been asked to cancel their plans or delay their trips due to the closure, CNA cited Chiayi Forest District Office Deputy Director Lee Ting-chung (李定忠) as saying.

For related information, visit the Taiwan Forest Recreation website, the Forestry Bureau's natural reserve entry application system, or the Facebook page of Alishan National Forest Recreation Area.

Taiwan’s Alishan rail trail to close 3.5 months for repairs in mid-January
(Alishan Forest Railway and Cultural Heritage Office photo)