Old Xinbeitou train station to reopen April 1

The recently renovated old Xinbeitou train station in Taipei City's Beitou District is scheduled to reopen its doors April 1, giving visitors a taste of the past and a chance to explore local culture and history, according to the Taipei City Government.

The restoration of the century-old train station is a good example of cultural heritage conservation in Taiwan, said Deng Wen-tsung, chief of the Cultural Construction Division under the city government's Department of Cultural Affairs. More significantly, it was through the joint efforts of the public and private sectors that the conservation project was realized.

Built in 1916 during the period of Japanese colonial rule (1895-1945), the wooden station opened as the terminus of the local railway system and was expanded in 1937. However, following the discontinuation of train services in the area, the building was dismantled in 1988 to make way for the Taipei Metro's Tamsui Line.

In 1992, the structure was purchased and rebuilt at a folk culture park in central Taiwan's Changhua County. The park, however, went out of business in 2007. After a lengthy campaign by Beitou residents and several years of negotiations, the former park's creditor agreed to donate the old train station to the city government.

Upon the building's return, Taipei authorities launched a NT$20 million (US$645,161) restoration effort, utilizing as many of the original materials and construction techniques as possible. The building is located 50 meters from its original site.

The newly renovated historic structure now looks much like it did in 1937, featuring copper roof tiles with flower carvings under the eaves and roof windows that illuminate the interior with natural light and provide ventilation. Built largely with planks of cypress, it has a high ceiling that creates a spacious atmosphere.

The old Xinbeitou train station lies in the heart of one of Taipei's premier tourism destinations. Famed for its abundant hot spring resources and distinctive resort hotels, the district is home to many cultural and historical attractions, including the Beitou Hot Spring Museum, Beitou Museum and the Taipei Public Library Beitou Branch, Taiwan's first green library building.

Source: Taiwan Today