(2-15/16-17) Arrival to Taiwan, Shen’ao Line

Hey guys,

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.IMG_2658

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…IMG_2661

Next to our plane was a Qantas 747 bound for Sydney.IMG_2662

Inside the penalty box was a WOW Air A330, which would travel to Reykjavik/Keflavik International Airport in Iceland the next morning.IMG_2663

On the other side was a Cathay Pacific 777-300ER bound for Hong Kong Chek Lap Kok International Airport.IMG_2664

Here’s a video!

I have no idea what this yellow thing is.

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Here’s the Hawaiian 767-300ER.IMG_2666

This is what I was referring to when I was complaining about the airport’s crappy windows. WTH SFO?!IMG_2669

Here are our seats, 71 H and K. They were relatively comfortable for the flight.IMG_2670

Here’s an Aeromexico 737-700 sitting at the gate next to us.

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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!IMG_2672

Here’s the cabin of the 777-300ER, right before takeoff.

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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.

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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.IMG_2680

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.IMG_2685

Here’s a China Airlines 737-800.IMG_2688

And here’s a China Airlines 777-300ER, which was the type of plane that we rode to TPE.IMG_2690

And here’s an A330-200.IMG_2691

We eventually parked next to it.IMG_2693

We arrived on the second day of the Taoyuan Metro’s public service. I was so excited, as this had been hyped since 2009!!!IMG_2694IMG_2696

Here is one of the cars on an express set.IMG_2698

Since it was a special day, they stamped us upon entry. Here’s my had right after I boarded.IMG_2702

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.IMG_2707IMG_2708

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.IMG_2709

Well that’s certainly a road to nowhere.IMG_2714IMG_2715

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. IMG_2716

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!

IMG_2735Our arrival into Ruifang was heralded with a 4-car DRC1000 Pingxi Line service for Jingtong.IMG_2738Right 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.   IMG_2742

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.IMG_2746Our train was just flocked by tourists during the short stay at Badouzi.IMG_2749

Here’s the ocean.IMG_2750

As you can see all the stations are equipped with card readers and a schedule.IMG_2753

Here’s our DRC1000 sitting at Badouzi again.IMG_2754

For some reason there’s a second, short platform at Badouzi that is not used at all.IMG_2755

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.IMG_2756

We took this train to the Haikeguan, where I took this picture.IMG_2758

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.IMG_2759The platform here is loooooong!IMG_2762

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.

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This is supposed to be as escape system for the second floor. I don’t think anybody’s making it out alive.IMG_2765

Inside they had replicas of those rock things you see near harbors.IMG_2766

They didn’t have any real fish there, as this was a marine history museum and they just have models.IMG_2768One of the exhibits was a glass floor model.IMG_2770Here we have a cross-section of a worm tunnel.IMG_2771

What. The. Hell.IMG_2772

My camera can do some nice macro shots with flowers, so here are some crabs.IMG_2773

Shark junk!IMG_2775

Here’s a sunfish.IMG_2776This is the mural apparently representing Taiwan. IMG_2777This dude looks like he’s trying to hump that beam. Wonderful…

IMG_2779They had a mock-up of a ship which actually looked pretty comfy. There’s a sofa…IMG_2780

and an IKEA-inspired kitchen.IMG_2781

Back outside we caught another Shen’ao Line service to Badouzi. Here it is arriving

Trespassers.

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In their defense, the ROW past this point is completely abandoned.IMG_2799

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.IMG_2801

Since we were in the back of the train without the driver, I took a picture of the control board.IMG_2802

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.IMG_2808

Yay! Sandiaoling!IMG_2809

It’s a pretty run-down station, but the amount of trains that service this area is PHENOMENAL!IMG_2814

Here are all the trains we saw there.

I was rather surprised to see an unpainted DRC1000 operating as the lead car. Amazed!

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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!

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