Before we moved to Tainan in 2008, we had spent 25 years in Kaohsiung. Being back in Taiwan for a brief two weeks, and staying in Tainan while we do so, we set aside some time to see the city. Throughout the years we spent in Taiwan, a great way to see the city was from the train. No more.
In the mere 18 months we’ve been gone, the passenger trains through the city have moved underground. It both WAS and WASN’t a surprise. After all, digging began on the city’s new subway system in the 90s, and traffic was disrupted for YEARS! The automobile tunnel under the train station, which had been opened in the mid 80s, was replaced with a temporary bridge in about 2002. Digging parallel and perpendicular to the original rails began soon after. But apart from the subway, all travel was on the surface, until sometime after we retired.
Heading for Pingtung on the 10th we noticed the train angling downward somewhere in the northern exurbs. Then all got dark. It stopped at a station we didn’t recognize (underground), then started again and emerged somewhere east of town. We saw NOTHING of Kaohsiung. A few days later we went back to wander around our old neighborhood. A ride on the city’s light rail trolley took us along the harbor, which we recall from the old days as having been almost completely walled off.
Having the main railroad tracks underground makes it easier to get around on the surface without all the bottlenecks for bridges and tunnels that were common previously. It also frees up lots of green space. But… we missed the views.
David Alexander now resides in Holland, MI after 39 years in Taiwan.