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TRA to assess possibility of reoperating old steam train

TRA to assess possibility of reoperating old steam train

After careful evaluation, the Tourism Bureau and Taiwan Railway Administration will decide whether to resume operation of an aged steam locomotive one day per month with the aim of attracting train lovers and stimulating local tourism, according to the bureau.
The Tourism Bureau said that from April to June next year the TRA will conduct an evaluation of the possible operation of a passenger service via the CK-124 steam locomotive on the Pingsi Line. On December 28, 300 Japanese passengers would take part in test run of the locomotive, the bureau added.
The CK-124 and CK-101 are the only two steam locomotives preserved by the TRA, with the CK-124 being the only one capable of being put into operation. The CK-101 is used for static display purposes only. Both the CK-124 and CK-101 are Japanese Class C12 locomotives made in the late 1930s.
According to the bureau, the three-month evaluation would help the TRA to decide whether the priceless steam locomotive should resume a regular service.
Director General of Tourism Bureau Lai She-jen said the bureau had received numerous calls from Japanese and European tourists requesting rides on the steam locomotives in Taiwan.
"In Japan, there are about one million rail enthusiasts, and many local travel agencies have called on the bureau to pay attention to this market," said Lai.
At a meeting on Monday, the TRA and Tourism Bureau reached a decision to conduct an evaluation and a test run of the locomotive, Lai said.
TRA said its limited manpower and maintenance capability allow only for a service one day per month, particularly as the train is located in central Taiwan, as are the drivers who have the skills specific to that type of train. TRA Director General Frank Fan said that new drivers are now being trained to operate the CK-124. "Now we have to ask retired drivers to train new drivers and technicians in order to preserve their precious skills," said Fan.
The Tourism Bureau said that it can't say when a regular service might be resumed, as the revenues from the service might be able to balance the cost of operation.


Updated : 2021-10-27 16:09 GMT+08:00