- Write down wishes with an ink brush and let the sky lanterns pass on your blessings
- Taste local delicacies and shop at souvenir shops, and you will feel “Shifen” (very) happy
- Hop over to see Taiwan’s biggest waterfall – Shifen Waterfall
- See trains passing directly by doorways and in front of you
- Visit the largest station on the Pingxi Line of the Taiwan Railway Administration
From coal transportation to tourism, the revival of the century-old railroads
The Pingxi branch line along the Keelung River valley was originally named Shidi Line under the Tai-Yang Kabushiki Kaisha (joint-stock companies incorporated in Japan). It is 12.9 kilometers long, running from Sandiaoling Station to Jingtong Station, and was originally built by the tycoon of the coal-mining industry, Yen Yun-lian to transport coal. The line first opened in 1921, and in 1929 the railway was expropriated by the railway department under the office of the Governor-General of Taiwan, during which commuting services for regular passengers were also included. However, since the 1970s, there has been a significant population decrease due to the reduction of coal production. As a result, in 1989, the railroad department decided to close down the branch line due to continuous financial loss. However, following the locals’ active efforts to keep the station running, the department finally transformed the Pingxi branch line into a tourist line in 1992. Currently, the Pingxi Line has seven stations including Sandiaoling Station, Dahua Station, Shifen Station, Wanggu Station, Lingjiao Station, Pingxi Station and Jingtong Station, with a total travel time of 40 minutes.
Trains passing by doorways; sky lanterns filled with blessings
Shifen Old Street and Jingan Bridge are next to Shifen Station. One can stroll along the shops along the railway tracks and taste various local delicacies. The most unique attraction here is not the old buildings but the “trains passing directly by the doorways,” something one can only experience in Pingxi! Shifen has also become one of the must-visit attractions for foreign tourists, where they can write their blessings and wishes down on the sky lanterns. Then, following the instructions given by the local shopkeepers, they watch the sky lanterns slowly drift into the sky carrying the blessings they wrote, becoming a beautiful memory that can only be created in Shifen.