Today we’re going off to Taiwan! This was actually the best Taiwan trip, in my opinion, ever! So to start off we’re at San Francisco International Airport with a SunCountry 737-700, most likely bound for Minneapolis-St. Paul Airport. Behind it is a Hawaiian Airlines 767-300ER, which could be destined for either Kahului or Honolulu International Airport.
Here is our China Airlines 777-300ER parked at the gate. SFO has these weird sun-polarizing dots on their windows which makes it nearly impossible to take pictures! Fortunately the cafe above our gate did not have those dots, so…
Next to our plane was a Qantas 747 bound for Sydney.
Inside the penalty box was a WOW Air A330, which would travel to Reykjavik/Keflavik International Airport in Iceland the next morning.
On the other side was a Cathay Pacific 777-300ER bound for Hong Kong Chek Lap Kok International Airport.
Here’s a video!
I have no idea what this yellow thing is.
Here’s the Hawaiian 767-300ER.
This is what I was referring to when I was complaining about the airport’s crappy windows. WTH SFO?!
Here are our seats, 71 H and K. They were relatively comfortable for the flight.
Here’s an Aeromexico 737-700 sitting at the gate next to us.
Does anyone know what this airline is? What it resembles is the 2005 Delta scheme that never…took off…eh heh heh heh.
However, I have scoured the list of SFO airlines and special schemes, but I still haven’t found it! Argh!
Here’s the cabin of the 777-300ER, right before takeoff.
Here is our very shaky takeoff.
They gave us…”food” on the flight. It was steamed rice, chicken, (so far so good), gross vegetables, fruit, and coleslaw. There was, however, an absolutely HEAVENLY roll I devoured within 5 seconds of reaching my plate. Then I took the picture.
Here’s our “breakfast.” As always it was accompanied by a delicious roll. However, there were some gross pickles and spoon vegetables, but otherwise a good meal.
All right! Landing time!
(It was like 5 am.)
Here’s a Hong Kong airlines A330-200, most likely bound for…Hong Kong. Who would have guessed.
Here’s a China Airlines 737-800.
And here’s a China Airlines 777-300ER, which was the type of plane that we rode to TPE.
And here’s an A330-200.
We eventually parked next to it.
We arrived on the second day of the Taoyuan Metro’s public service. I was so excited, as this had been hyped since 2009!!!
Here is one of the cars on an express set.
Since it was a special day, they stamped us upon entry. Here’s my had right after I boarded.
First we hopped a commuter service to Taoyuan Terminal 1. Then we changed to an express service because it was faster and the seats were nicer. So here’s a seat review.
The comfortable seat comes with a tray.
However, the bad part of the seat was that the windows were so high up that shorter people (like me) could barely look out of them. Fortunately my camera could look out the window.
Well that’s certainly a road to nowhere.
Here we have one of the commuter service cars. Commuter service is the equivalent of all-stops service on other railways. All trains are of the same outer carbody, however, the Commuter cars have longitudinal seating, whereas the Express cars have 2+2 seating.
I managed to snag several videos of the MRT, so I compiled them all here.
Once we reached the labyrinthine Taipei Main Station, we walked to the Beimen Station to catch a Songshan-bound Songshan Line MRT to the Taipei Arena.
Here’s a video of our C371 train that we hopped to Songshan station arriving at Nanjing Sanmin.
At Songshan station we bought tickets for the Taroko service bound for Hualien. We got off at Ruifang, but that was another train I can knock off of my bucket list! So far I’ve ridden every train in the TRA system except for the Alishan Mountain Railway.
So I videoed the train’s arrival into Songshan Station, but that’s for later down in the post.
Now that we’re on the train and in the vestibule. Side note, I had to evict a person from my seat. I found it interesting that the gear track that moves the door was on the outside, and not covered by a metal plate. Weird!
Our arrival into Ruifang was heralded with a 4-car DRC1000 Pingxi Line service for Jingtong.Right after that train left we were greeted by a “famous” freight train that even had an old brakevan. The “famous” is in quotes because the guard there told us it was famous.
The RFW was taken between Ruifang and the Haikeguan, but between Haikeguan and Badouzi I managed to snag a quick video.
Here is our train parked at Badouzi, where there are two platforms. However, one of the platforms is unused.Our train was just flocked by tourists during the short stay at Badouzi.
Here’s the ocean.
As you can see all the stations are equipped with card readers and a schedule.
Here’s our DRC1000 sitting at Badouzi again.
For some reason there’s a second, short platform at Badouzi that is not used at all.
The driver found out that I’m from America, so he showed me the token between Ruifang and Badouzi. He also gave me several postcard prints of Taiwanese trains.
We took this train to the Haikeguan, where I took this picture.
At Badouzi they have the platform warning lights, even though the only services this station sees are the hourly Shen’ao/Pingxi branch line trains.The platform here is loooooong!
Here is our train leaving.
We made the short trek to the NMMST where they had some sort of Typhoon runoff system which looked incredibly complex.
This is supposed to be as escape system for the second floor. I don’t think anybody’s making it out alive.
Inside they had replicas of those rock things you see near harbors.
They didn’t have any real fish there, as this was a marine history museum and they just have models.One of the exhibits was a glass floor model.Here we have a cross-section of a worm tunnel.
What. The. Hell.
My camera can do some nice macro shots with flowers, so here are some crabs.
Here’s a sunfish.This is the mural apparently representing Taiwan. This dude looks like he’s trying to hump that beam. Wonderful…
They had a mock-up of a ship which actually looked pretty comfy. There’s a sofa…
and an IKEA-inspired kitchen.
Back outside we caught another Shen’ao Line service to Badouzi. Here it is arriving
In their defense, the ROW past this point is completely abandoned.
There was a stray dog running around. However, it may not be stray as I’m pretty sure I saw it going across the tracks at a farm crossing later on.
Since we were in the back of the train without the driver, I took a picture of the control board.
I took a RFW between Badouzi and Haikeguan.
We then proceeded to Sandiaoling Station, which is where the Pingxi line branches off from the Yilan line. I took a RFW video of the trip between Houtong and Sandiaoling. Also, Sandiaoling is in the mountains which makes it really nice.
Unfortunately when we arrived part of Sandiaoling was under construction. Fun fact: the roofs here at Sandiaoling are actually mountain stream runoffs. You can actually barely make it out in the background.
It’s a pretty run-down station, but the amount of trains that service this area is PHENOMENAL!
Here are all the trains we saw there.
I was rather surprised to see an unpainted DRC1000 operating as the lead car. Amazed!
I heard from the conductor that we would be stopping at Qidu for a couple of minutes because of a faster Puyuma service that would be passing us…sooooo…
Here’s all the trains from Songshan.
Here are all the trains we saw at Ruifang. I saw a total of 3 freight trains, which is a record!
And here’s a Danshui line C391 MRT at Zhongshan.
Tomorrow we do Xizhi!