Why you should head to Taiwan if you're a fan of scenic railway journeys

3 mins read


Why you should head to Taiwan if you’re a fan of scenic railway journeys: Channel 5 documentary reveals the island’s stunning train trips

  • The World’s Most Scenic Railway Journeys takes viewers on a trip of a lifetime around Taiwan’s rail network
  • This week’s episode, narrated by Bill Nighy, takes in the Alishan Forest Railway and the high-speed system
  • Another highlight is the 19-kilometre-long (11-mile) Taroko Gorge, one of Taiwan’s greatest natural attractions 

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If scenic railway journeys are your cup of tea, then you should investigate what’s brewing in this department in Taiwan.

But no need to trouble yourself with arduous research – just tune in to the latest episode of Channel 5’s documentary series The World’s Most Scenic Railway Journeys, which has the inside track on several of the island’s most eye-catching train trips.

This week’s hour-long episode, narrated by Bill Nighy, begins in the port city of Hualien, before heading north to Taiwan’s rugged Pacific coast. The first stop on the journey is the 19-kilometre-long (11-mile) Taroko Gorge, one of Taiwan’s greatest natural attractions.

Viewers will be taken on a rail journey to the striking ruins of the original Longteng Bridge

Viewers will be taken on a rail journey to the striking ruins of the original Longteng Bridge

The stunning Alishan Forest Railway was constructed more than 100 years ago and climbs to 2,405 metres (7,890m), taking in the famous Dulishan Loop, where the track spirals through and around a vast rock formation

The stunning Alishan Forest Railway was constructed more than 100 years ago and climbs to 2,405 metres (7,890m), taking in the famous Dulishan Loop, where the track spirals through and around a vast rock formation

The train journey continues along the coast to Yilan county, a popular destination for cycling and hiking, before reaching Taiwan’s capital, Taipei, to discover the city’s emerging craft brewing industry.

Viewers will then be taken on a journey south on the high-speed rail network to Longteng Bridge (officially known as the Yutengping Bridge), which runs alongside the striking ruins of the original nine-span version.

This was built in 1907 but largely dismantled after an earthquake in 1935 caused serious structural damage.

However, several of the imposing pillars remain and, unsurprisingly, attract plenty of snap-happy tourists.

The next stop is Chiayi City and then the stunning Alishan Forest Railway.

The World’s Most Scenic Railway Journeys airs on Channel 5 at 9pm tonight and begins in the port city of Hualien, close to where this image was taken

The World’s Most Scenic Railway Journeys airs on Channel 5 at 9pm tonight and begins in the port city of Hualien, close to where this image was taken

This was constructed more than 100 years ago and climbs to 2,405 metres (7,890ft), taking in the famous Dulishan Loop, where the track spirals through and around a vast rock formation.

Travellers can catch the early morning train from Chiayi Station and reach the summit in time for sunset over the magnificent Jade Mountain, which at 3,952m (12,965ft) in height is Taiwan’s loftiest peak.

The show reveals that reconditioned Shay steam locomotives are used for special runs to the top.

The World’s Most Scenic Railway Journeys airs on Channel 5 at 9pm tonight.

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