The Alishan Mountain Railway was opened in 1911 .
Used in its earlier days for transporting timber,
when the policy of conservation of forest resources was introduced it became a tourist railway. The locomotive pulls the cypress carriages through the misty forest, passing fallen cherry blossom, also greeting the dawn each day, the turning gears and loud whistle arousing special railway memories.
Alishan Mountain Railway Journey
Alishan Mountain Railway is 71.4 kilometers long, climbing from the 30 meters elevation of Chiayi’s Beimen Station to 2216 m Alishan Station, stopping at 17 stations along the way and taking around three hours and 20 minutes to complete the journey. The terrain the railway passes through can be divided into two kinds, plain and mountains.
The plain section is the 14.4 km from Beimen to Zhuqi, after which the railway begins to climb slowly through the mountains. The slope is steep and the turn round radius small, and many bridges are crossed and tunnels passed through, all making up the special experience that is taking a train on the Alishan Mountain Railway.
The switchbacks and the high mountain scenery make Alishan Mountain Railway a world class tourist attraction. It has also been given an injection of life in recent years by the surge of interest in eco-tourism and train travel.
The Zhushan line from Zhaoping Station to Zhushan Station carries visitors to watch the sunrise. When the Forestry Bureau built the line it was the first high mountain railway designed and built by Taiwanese. The line climbs from the 2216 m elevation of Zhaoping Station to the 2451 m of Zhushan Station, covering a distance of 6.25 km. The sunrise viewing train departs from Zhaoping Station at different times in accordance with the time of sunrise.
Sacred Tree (Shenmu) Line Journey
The Shenmu line is part of the Alishan Mountain Railway’s main line. This is where the third junction is.To make it easy for visitors to view the sacred tree, all trains stop at Shenmu Station. While here, why not take a walk on the Shemnu Trail and view the 20 tall Formosan red cypress trees along it? Through air filled with Pythoncidere, the wooden plank trail leads to Zhaoping Station.
It was built to transport timber but is now carries tourists through the mountain forest. Next to Zhaoping Station an old steam locomotive and disused carriages have been turned into a train carriage hotel and railway display area.