The National Taiwan Museum will launch guided tours of a national railway heritage site – the Railway Division of Taiwan Governor-General’s Bureau of Transportation – starting this July.
Situated near the Beimen MRT Station in Taipei, the railway division is hailed as the first science and industrial park as well as the first-generation prototype for all railway workshops in Taiwan.
The railway site had played an important role in Taiwan’s transportation and economic development. It underwent a few changes in the past, including previous reincarnations as the Taipei Machinery Bureau of Qing dynasty, the Railway Division of the Japanese colonial era, and the Taiwan Railways Administration headquarters after the Second World War.
The original site was left idle after the Taiwan Railway Administration relocated its head office to the newly opened Taipei Train Station in 1993. The National Taiwan Museum took over management of the workshop in 2009 with the intent of transforming it into a railway museum with contemporary significance.
The revitalization of the Railway Division is part of the National Taiwan Museum’s ongoing initiative of preserving, reviving, and connecting historical buildings in the core area of old Taipei.
Located in the intersection zone of Zhongxian West Road, Tacheng Street, Zhengzhou Road, and Yangping North Road, the Railway Division boosts a traditional Japanese red-brick facade, but contains within various forms of architecture reflecting construction techniques in different eras.
So far, the National Taiwan Museum has completed repairing the offices, canteens, the octagonal main building, the power room, the engineering affairs office, and the air-raid shelter of the historical site.
The landscape and interior space of the historic workshop are still under renovation, and curators are still planning the permanent exhibitions.
However, the guided tours – which are available by preregistration only – will walk visitors through the individual history and development of the repaired buildings, and evoke memories of Taipei City throughout the ages.
More information on the Railway Division of the Taiwan Governor-General’s Bureau of Transportation is available here.