Taiwan Old Train Ride 藍皮火車



If you like train travel as much as I do then you have to take the old Fangliao 枋寮 to Taitung 台東 Ordinary( 普通車) Train. Colloquially known as the Blue Skin Train 藍皮火車, it’s the last diesel train in south Taiwan.

This will probably be my most normal “Taiwan Travel Blog Post” kind of post, but I just really love this train ride and want people to try it out before it’s too late.

The train runs along the South-Link Line 南迴線 which was completed in 1991. It’s the newest normal rail line operated by the TRA and created an around-the-island railway network. It also has my favorite train route in all of Taiwan.

My first year in Taiwan and I had Monday night classes in Pingtung and when I would take the train back to Kaohsiung, I took these old trains back. And man I was like yeah!! , classic Asian train travel. Unfortunately, one night I went to take the train back and it was gone. No more slow train.

Then a few years ago I found out that there still is an old train line in south Taiwan. So I had to get on it. I have done it three times now. Twice from Fangliao to Taitung and once from Taitung to Fangliao.

From Fangliao you have to take this train.

Ordinary Train367110:4013:052 hr 25 min詳細$ 104

From Taitung to Fangliao you have to take this train.

 Ordinary Train367216:1018:222 hr 12 min詳細$ 104

These types of trains were bought from Japan after the war. They used to be the common ordinary train back in the good old days. You can get a nice old-time Taiwan feel while taking this train.

There are lots of tunnels on the trip so remember to take your head, hands and dogs back inside before you go into the tunnel.

The train route goes through the Central Mountain Range. And since it is a diesel train, it does get a little stinky in the tunnels. I don’t mind it, but some people recommend taking a mask with you for the long tunnel parts.

If you go from Fangliao to Taitung make sure you get seats on the right-hand side. You’ll want a clear view of the Taiwan Strait and the amazing Pacific. You can easily move about the train so don’t worry if you don’t but try to get the right side. If going from Taitung, then get the left hand side.

Here are a few of the train stations that you’ll see on the trip. Some of the train stations along the way are the least used train stations in all of Taiwan.

I am not sure is better, leaving from Fangliao or Taitung. It all depends on when and where you want to go. However, if you leave from Taitung to Fangliao at the right time of the year you’ll roll into western Taiwan with this beautiful sunset.

Happy conductor.
Happy Passenger.

I always hear that the train will be discontinued soon, but I have been hearing that for a long time now. Hopefully, it’s all talk. The train ride has gotten popular with Taiwanese in the past few years, and there is lots of information in Chinese about it. So hopefully the popularity will keep it alive.

So if you’re going to the east coast anyway, why not stop in Fangliao and take this train before it’s too late. Don’t be like me in Pingtung on that sad night.


5 thoughts on “Taiwan Old Train Ride 藍皮火車

  1. Nice article. I took the train in 2019 and loved it!

    I’m sorry to hear that it has been suspended — is that because of the electrification of the South Link Line? Any word on whether it will come back, or is it gone for good?

    Liked by 1 person

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