North Gate Station
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The North Gate Station was the starting point of the Alishan Forest Railway as well as the cargo distribution center of the Alishan Railway. All resources and living commodities along the Alishan Railway were transported up the mountain from here, hence its significant location. Alishan Forest Railway is one of the only three surviving mountain railways in the world, making it an especially unique attraction.
The Alishan Forest Railway – North Gate Station was built with Taiwanese red cypress and it was completed before the opening of the Alishan Railway in 1912. After the new North Gate Station was built 20 years ago, it was converted into the office of the maintenance staff. The site covers an area of about 28 ping and is mainly divided into three parts: offices, box office, and waiting room.
The Alishan Forest Railway is known internationally for its rare features such as “spiral railroads”, “Z-shaped climbs” and “slopes of 62.5‰”. The North Gate Station is the starting station of the Alishan Railway. The architecture of the station uses prime red cypress typical of Alishan, thus giving the station a classic and elegant style.
During the Japanese occupation period, forestry development was the most important source of economic resources. Near the North Gate Station there were forestry offices, timber basins, wood storage pools, train maintenance facilities, and forest clubs. The North Gate Station became an important center for the harvesting of timber in Alishan.
Before the war, it was operated by The Taiwan Development CO., LTD. After the war, by the Forestry Bureau, COA, Executive Yuan. In October 1973, the construction of the North Gate new station was completed. The Alishan Forest Railway transported timber down the hill and commodities gathered in the proximity of the North Gate Station, which spurred on the wood industry, lumber companies, sawmills and timber factories. The timber merchants from the south spurred on hotels, restaurants, theaters and other business opportunities, and the population increased rapidly. In that period, the industry was active and all walks of life were thriving.
Alishan Forest Railway is one of the three remaining mountain railways in the world: it has a unique charm. Although the old station lost its function in March 1974 due to the construction of the new station, its simple appearance and facilities are extremely valuable from a cultural point of view. The Chiayi City Government has listed it as a municipal historic site.
The North Gate Station can be considered as a Japanese style wooden station with a building area of 95.15 square meters. It is mainly divided into a box office, a waiting room and an office. At present, there is a plan to build a railway cultural relics exhibition hall. Near the station and in the square right before the station, there are public arts such as “Calling Landmark,” “Space and Time Corridors,” and “Eco-artistic Wall”, in order to bring together a collective consciousness of the railway culture.