Cishan Railway Museum: An Old Railway Station with Beautiful Stories／聽老車站說故事─旗山糖鐵故事館
Cishan Railway Museum: An Old Railway Station with Beautiful Stories
◎English translation: Tan You-yi
◎Photos by Jhou Shu-jheng
Have you heard of the Ciwei Branch Line? Before operations ceased in 1978, the Ciwei Line was once a highly significant railway line, carrying large volumes of sugar for south Taiwan's once mighty sugar industry. The Ciwei Line started from Jioucyutang (Jiuqutang TRA Station) in Kaohsiung City's Dashu District and ended 39.4km away at Jhutoujiao in Meinong District. For almost 70 years, narrow-gauge trains were a familiar sight, hauling sugarcane from one end of the line to the other.
The branch line was consigned to history as public transportation networks advanced and agriculture evolved. The line's wooden railway stations were removed one by one, and the running of the trains became nothing more than a memory.
Thanks to support from local cultural activists and Kaohsiung City Government's Bureau of Cultural Affairs, the beautifully preserved Cishan Railway Station has been transformed into Cishan Railway Museum. Inside, stories are told of the past prosperity of the Cishan area. The museum itself is not a big facility, yet visitors can see touches of ingenuity in every corner. Deafening train whistles can be heard in every 15 minutes, while visitors can savor the nostalgia of the old, busy Ciwei Line by taking a simulated train ride in shaking passenger cars.
As museum docents provide narration, the station's history unfolds right before your eyes. By connecting different elements of its unique history, including the sugar industry, the railroad, the land, and local people, you will be see a bigger picture of Kaohsiung and Taiwan's development. Next time you visit Cishan and its old streets, do not miss this historic railway station. You will find many beautiful local stories inside.