To revive and preserve the historic Taipei Railway Workshop, the Ministry of Culture signed a memorandum with the Ministry of Transportation and Communications on the "Implementation Plan for Transforming the Taipei Railway Workshop into the National Railway Museum Park” on Feb. 14.
The two Ministries will combine and bring into full play their expertise in different fields to activate and transform the cultural space. The joint re-creation of the first historic railway experience in Taiwan will become a museum park with educational, cultural, and sightseeing functions.
Established in 1935, the Taipei Railway Workshop was the largest train depot in Taiwan. It was used for maintaining and manufacturing railway vehicles by the Taipei Railway Administration until 2012. The old site has since been designated as a national heritage site by the Ministry of Culture in 2015.
Culture Minister Cheng Li-chiun noted that the Taipei Railway Workshop is an important historical site that preserves the process of repairing, assembling, and maintaining railway vehicles. Moreover, the site encompasses facilities, equipment, and buildings used by employees in the past. Thus, it provides pristine conditions for establishing a national railway museum.
The cooperation memorandum details how both Ministries will bring their professions into full play to revitalize the cultural assets, and jointly establish the first national railway museum that will boast cultural, educational, and tourist elements.
In the future, the Ministry of Culture will be responsible for repairing and reutilizing the heritage site while operating, managing, and maintaining the museum.
The Ministry of Transportation and Communications will provide assistance in explaining the inheritance of railway technology, training volunteers, recording oral history from retired railway employees, conducting video recordings, curating exhibitions on rare locomotives, and collecting railway relics.
The Ministry of Culture noted that the transformation of the now-defunct Taipei Railway Workshop will add new vitality to eastern Taipei where the Songshan Cultural and Creative Park and the National Dr. Sun Yat-sen Memorial Hall are located, and achieve the objective of enriching regional life with culture.
In addition, the Taipei Railway Workshop is expected to form a network with other railway sites in Taiwan to create a "railway corridor” for the public to learn more comprehensively about Taiwan's railway history and culture.
Minister of Transportation and Communications Fan Chih-ku (far right, with sunglasses) and Minister of Culture Cheng Li-chiun (center, with green scarf) pose with a mannequin resting in the bathhouse of the Taipei Railway Workshop. Taiwan Railway Administration employees were once treated to a hot bath every day at 4pm to relieve the weariness of work.