Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Hokuto and Shin-Hokuto

The town of Hokutō 北投 is well-known for its hot springs, and appears to have been a popular tourist location during this era, as evidenced by the map in the 1935 publication of Taiwan tetsudo annai 台湾鉄道案内 (Guide to Travel on the Formosan Railways):

In the map, Hokutō is the station on the main line, and the branch line runs toward Shin-Hokutō at the upper right of the map.

A very short branch line from the main Tansui railroad runs up the hill to the center of Shin-Hokutō (New Hokutō) where there are many hot springs resorts, restaurants, and the like. The line was served by diesel locomotives of one or two cars, and was exclusively a passenger line.

This image from the 1935 map of Greater Taihoku shows the two towns and their position on the river.

This is an image of a wooden diesel passenger locomotive that was upgraded in the 1950s to a steel frame. It was likely cars like this that served the Shin-Hokutō branch line, and likely made local runs along the main lines as well.

The station at Hokutō, taken some time in the 1980s.

The terminal station for Shin-Hokutō is very distinctive. It was built in 1916 and was expanded with a wooden structure in 1937, the target year for the model railway.

This picture is of very low resolution, but appears to show a single-car passenger locomotive at the station. This was before the shelter depicted in the first picture was built.

A much later picture of the platform.

The current plan incorporates a dual-track station for Hokutō, with a sharp curve leading uphill toward the terminal in Shin-Hokutō. Some of the restaurants and pleasure quarters in the town will be depicted. There's a famous hot-springs resort that still stands today, if space allows I'll incorporate this historic building into the plan.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Tansui to Hokuto

From Tansui to Hokutō, the single-rail line winds along the bank of the Tansui river, passing the stations of Chikui 竹囲 and Kōtō 江頭 before meeting the Shin-Hokutō 新北投 branch line at Hokutō 北投.

The line runs between the river and the hilly terrain further inland, and skirts the large wetlands fed by the river. This map seems to use different names for the towns along the route, perhaps they had changed by 1944 or these were the designations that the Chinese government had decided upon for the towns.

In the model, this portion is reduced to a broad curve leading through a tunnel toward Hokutō station and the junction with the branch line. The river, along with a boat, is represented as are the wetlands. The hills will be forested with a few scattered buildings, as they would have been in 1937 and as they mostly remain today, as building on the hillside on an island known for its heavy rains and earthquakes is still not completely safe.

The line has a highway that runs parallel to it for most of the way, except where it climbs the mountains rather than tunneling under them. It would be possible to model the omitted Chikui station, but as it would have to be on the curve and so close to the other two, I'll probably just leave it out.

Thursday, October 8, 2009


Tansui (淡水, modern Danshui) is the terminus of the Tansui branch line, which runs north from Taihoku along the Tansui river. Details on the yard facilities are hard to come by.

This undated photograph shows some of the main buildings in central Tansui. These include the local post office, a distinctive-looking L-shaped building in the center-left of the image.

This photograph shows the same area from a different angle, with Guanyin Mountain in the background. The large building to the left of center looks like the post office.

The Tansui post office was built in Taisho 6 (1917) and stood until 1982 when it was torn down.

This image from a 1935 "Bird's Eye View of Greater Taihoku" shows Tansui's position on the river. Note the cluster of ships in the harbour.

The US Army Service map from 1944 shows two sidings and some warehousing facilities, but no turnaround points for locomotives. It also shows the large petroleum facilities to the southeast of the station area.

This was apparently the station built in Showa 10 (1935) that stood until it was torn down in 1990 to make way for the new MRT station.

For a station that was in use for 55 years, it's strange that these are the only two images that I could find of it. This photograph is from Li Qianshuo (2004).

The initial plan for the model Tansui has a passenger platform, a siding for loading and offloading boxcars into warehouses, and a turntable, but no major engine storage facilities as these will be handed by the main yard east of Taihoku. Tansui was not a major port, and so passenger and cargo fright will originate locally and arrive for local consumption.