《TAIPEI TIMES》 Railway park in Taipei opens to public
Journalists attend an event outside the National Taiwan Museum’s Railway Department Park in Taipei’s Datong District yesterday. The park opens to the public today. Photo: Wang Wen-lin, Taipei Times
By Sherry Hsiao / Staff reporter
The National Taiwan Museum’s Railway Department Park in Taipei is to open to the public today.
The park in Datong District （大同） near the North Gate （北門, Beimen） is one of the museum’s four branches.
During the Japanese colonial era, the site housed the railway department of the Office of the Governor-General of Taiwan’s Bureau of Transportation.
After World War II, it served as the headquarters for the Taiwan Railways Administration （TRA） for several decades. In 2007, it was listed as a national monument under the Cultural Heritage Preservation Act （文化資產保存法）.
At an opening ceremony yesterday, Minister of Transportation and Communications Lin Chia-lung （林佳龍） said that after the TRA moved to Taipei Railway Station about three decades ago, its original buildings fell into neglect.
In 2005, then-premier You Si-kun （游錫?） facilitated a series of collaborative efforts between the Ministry of Transportation and Communications （MOTC） and the then-Council for Cultural Affairs to restore the area, Lin said.
“Railways are an indicator of modernization,” he said.
While in the past the MOTC focused more on public transportation, in the past few years it has paid special attention to railway culture, the economy and tourism, Lin said, adding that it has designated 2022 as the “Year of Railway Tourism.”
President Tsai Ing-wen （蔡英文） told the attendees that the site was significant, as it was “one of the starting points of Taiwan’s modern history,” and has witnessed the nation’s development and changes over the past century.
Through the restoration, the nation is able to not only preserve tangible cultural assets, but also pass down intangible assets, such as architectural knowledge, craftsmanship and railway culture, she said.
Railways have driven the modernization of Taiwan, Minister of Culture Lee Yung-te （李永得） said.
The park has three permanent exhibitions: the “Historic Site Exhibition,” “Taiwan’s Railway Culture Exhibition” and “Steam Dream Works,” which was designed for children.
There are two special exhibitions on until early next year: “Taiwan Railway Hotel （1908-1945）,” which explores the first European-style hotel in Taiwan, and “Debating ‘Modern’: The 1935 Taiwan Exposition,” which highlights a 1935 event marking 40 years of Japanese colonial rule.
The hotel exhibition is to run through April 30, while the other is to close on Feb. 28.
The culture and transportation ministries have opened a preparatory office to establish a national railway museum at the Taipei Railway Workshop in Xinyi District （信義）, which has also been listed as a national monument, Lee said.
The Railway Department Park is open Tuesdays to Sundays from 9:30am to 5pm, including national holidays, except for Lunar New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day.
Admission is NT$100, although half-priced tickets are available for children aged six to 12, students, military or police personnel, people aged 65 or older and groups of 20 people or more, although groups require a reservation, one week in advance of the visit.
Chinese-language guided tours are available at 10:30am and 2:30pm.
Additional reporting by staff writer