The Alishan Forest Railway in southern Taiwan will continue its suspension of runs on its main line Tuesday because of the difficulty and slow pace in removing rocks that blocked the tracks during landslides caused by heavy rain.
The administration of the forest railway announced the suspension of services Monday, saying that its staff overseeing repair work on the forest railway discovered the debris at the main line's 44.7 km-mark the previous day during an early morning inspection.
The railway administration said it decided immediately to close the railway and take steps to fix the problem.
Because of the rough mountainous terrain, it was difficult to get machinery to the blocked tracks, the administration said. Also, the fallen rocks are big and hard, which slowed the work of breaking them down into smaller pieces, it added.
The administration estimated that the blockage would not be cleared until 2 p.m. Tuesday. Moreover, the tracks will then have to be examined to assess damage. "Train services will not be resumed until after trial runs have been carried out," the administration said.
Mudslides hit the main line tracks Sept. 17 when Typhoon Malakas affected Taiwan with strong wind and torrential rain.
The Alishan Forest Railway Administration said that the blockage is situated in an area where the soil structure is unstable and prone to heavy rain-caused erosion, and that it has been planning to renovate that section to prevent similar damage from happening again.
People who possess unused tickets for the forest railway can seek a refund within one year of the scheduled ride date.
Meanwhile, all three branch lines of the forest railway will be in the service as normal, the administration said.
The Alishan railway was also forced to close Sept. 14 and 15 due to damage inflicted by Typhoon Meranti, and only reopened Sept. 16.
The 71.4-km Alishan Forest Railway, which has been in operation since 1912, was constructed initially to transport timber from the mountains, but is now used for recreational purposes, carrying passengers to the popular Alishan scenic area.
Source: Focus Taiwan News Channel