Sunday, 3 July 2011

Alishan Forest Railway

My sender, Tanya, tells me that this is Mount Ali and that the old train and old tree are very popular tourist attraction in Taiwan. She also shows me how to write hello in Chinese which is also the language of the postcard description, happily it has a date amongst the Chinese characters of 1968, when I guess this photograph was taken. The photo must be of one of the last steam locomotives to run on this line for in 1969 diesel took over.

Building of the line started in 1895 for logging operations but this narrow gauge mountain railway is now a tourist attraction. The train sets out at the foot of Mount Ali and journeys up 2000 feet through 55 tunnels and 77 bridges and through different vegetation from the tropical to the alpine with  spectacular views of deep ravines.  This is part of the Alishan National Scenic Area, a mountain resort of hiking trails, mountain villages and tea plantations. Sounds wonderful.

The card came with
one of the 2009 flower definitives.  I guess the Chunghwa Post had just put some more ink into their franking machine as it has blobbed onto both the stamp and the postcard corner. Never mind it is a pretty stamp of Tabebuia chrysantha also known as the Golden Goddess or Golden Trumpet Tree. The flowers appear in Spring before the leaves. The warm and humid climate of Taiwan produces some spectacular plants.  The flowers of this set of 4 were painted by Hung-tu Ko who has also painted the other, ongoing. issues of flower definitives and this year's Alpine Flowers issue.

Thank you Tanya for introducing me to this mountain area of Taiwan

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