August 25, 2018

The Railway Roundhouse - a living history

This day didn't start well. We back to husband's parents to pick something but they wasn't home... It's pretty bad since it's 2 hours drive for nothing. And the rainy weather all the time. Due to no parking place we couldn't even eat lunch here, so we just drive back home. 
Passing through Changhua we thought to stop by in Tianwei Highway Garden, but it was a place we have been a few times already so the plans changed. And here we are - the Changhua Roundhouse (扇形車庫)

The Changhua Fan-shaped Garage is located in the north of Changhua Station. It's a part of the Changhua Locomotive Depot and was built in 1922. The warehouse building is centered on the railway turntable, forming a semi-arc-shaped garage in a radial pattern of twelve lanes. It belongs to one of the legacy of Taiwan’s Japanese rule. In the beginning the roundhouse had only 6 stalls until 1933 when more stalls was added.  
Currently, the only preserved fan-shaped garage in Taiwan is the county-level monument in Changhua County. In the world there are only 3 roundhouse still in use. Except the one in Taiwan, other two are in Mexico. 

changhua roundhouse fan shaped garage Taiwan tourist attraction

changhua roundhouse fan shaped garage Taiwan tourist attraction 

The purpose of this roundhouse was maintaining and repairing locomotives and parking space for long-distance traveling locomotives. For this reason the place was also called "locomotive hotel".

Nowadays it's used as a maintenance depot for diesel and electric trains and a home to old steam engines. It's the only place in Taiwan where all type locomotives are serviced. 

The garage building is divided into 12 stalls with own rail spur, big enough for one locomotive. It's centered around the turntable and is spread at 99 degrees towards the garage. Since the steam locomotive can only drive forward, unlike the electric or diesel front and rear cockpits are available for two-way driving, the steam locomotive needs to be turned on the transfer platform to turn the front of the car back. Locomotives stop onto this bridge-like structure and wait for it to turn on the right position to take their space.

See also: Glass Museum

changhua roundhouse fan shaped garage Taiwan tourist attraction     
changhua roundhouse fan shaped garage Taiwan tourist attraction

In addition to the Changhua fan-shaped garage, in the years 1895 - 1945 was build six roundhouses in different cities like Taipei, Hsinchu, Chiayi and two in Kaohsiung. The first roundhouse was build in 1901 in Taipei. 
As cities grew and steam locomotives was taken out of service, roundhouses became a waste of space. In the 1970s roundhouse in Kaohsiung was the first one to be demolished. After five of roundhouse was demolished people realized that if the last one wasn't left, the memory of steam locomotive in Taiwan would fade away. 
Because the Taiwan Railway plans to build a central electric train maintenance base. The last remaining garage must be dismantled and retained by local people and railway fans after they strive to save. The electric vehicle maintenance base is moved to the south of Changhua Station.
In January 2001 Changhua County Government designed the roundhouse a county historic site.

changhua roundhouse fan shaped garage Taiwan tourist attraction 
The fan-shaped garage in the Changhua Locomotive Depot is still in the process of maintaining the vehicle, and can see the operation of the vehicle entering the transfer platform. It's the only living history of the six fan-shaped garages. The garage also stores three steam locomotives CK101, CK124 and DT668 and a steam crane, as well as electric locomotive E101, diesel electric car R50 and truck moving machine DL1001. At present, the steam cranes, E101, R50 and DL1001 have been moved to other garages in the Changhua locomotive section and cannot be seen in the fan-shaped garage.

Although the fan-shaped garage has become the permanent monument of Changhua County, the last remaining dynamic fan-shaped garage, if the elevated project is carried out, all the dynamically stored locomotives will not be able to enter and exit the fan-shaped garage, but become a static museum. At present, the "Half-line Railway History Studio" is working hard to build a connection line to maintain the normal operation of the fan-shaped garage.

changhua roundhouse fan shaped garage Taiwan tourist attraction

changhua roundhouse fan shaped garage Taiwan tourist attraction    
You only need to register in the entrance guard room before you can enter for free. More than ten people can also apply for group tours. The garage is still in service and the maintenance function is retained. You have an opportunity to witness the on-site maintenance or departure from the warehouse and experience the actual operation of the fan-shaped garage. In addition to the main body of the library and the random dynamic display, there are two robot sculptures in the factory, which are reconstructed from the discarded parts of the Taichai diesel engine. There are also construction observation decks, a number of rows of chairs under the tree and open toilets. 

There are 25,000 volts of high-voltage electrical equipment in the plant area and it's adjacent to the western trunk line. Therefore, it's strictly forbidden to use the aerial camera and the self-timer to shoot to ensure safety.
Slippers are strictly forbidden to enter to avoid falling.
If the Changhua County Government issues the scope and time of the natural disaster warning, the factory immediately stops the visit. 

Cost: free / Opening hours: Tuesday to Friday: 13:00-16:00 ; Saturday, Sunday and during the holidays: 10:00-16:00.

changhua roundhouse fan shaped garage Taiwan tourist attraction

changhua roundhouse fan shaped garage Taiwan tourist attraction

No. 1, Section 1, Zhangmei Road, Changhua City, Changhua County, 500

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