Two classical music concerts were held at the national historic site of Taipei Railway Workshop to promote cultural equality and cultural heritage on Nov. 17 and 18.
Organized by the Ministry of Culture and the Ministry of Transportation and Communications (MOTC), the concerts were presented by conductor Chiu Chun-chiang (邱君強) and the National Taiwan Symphony Orchestra.
The opening concert was attended by Culture Minster Cheng Li-chiun, Deputy Transportation Minister Fan Chih-ku (范植谷), and students and teachers from Nantou's Chin-ai Elementary School as well as several Taipei-based schools.
The Taipei Railway Workshop also showcased Taiwan's first railway car - the EMU100 series from the United Kingdom - and the world's first sleepers that could be transformed into three-berth beds - the 583 series that was donated by Japan.
Minister Cheng noted that culture is a nation's soul and that the Taipei Railway Workshop was closely tied with Taiwanese people's memories. The revival of the nation's railway culture is expected to strengthen Taiwan's cultural confidence, the Minister stated.
It is essential to achieve cultural equality and equal access, stressed Minister Cheng. Only by fostering a cultural education based on immersion and hands-on experience will Taiwan's culture and arts further flourish, she stated.
As the Taipei Railway Workshop was once home to all the trains that ran in Taiwan, it witnessed the technological development of railway repairs and played a significant role in the history of architecture, transportation, economy, labor, and industries such as forestry in Taiwan.
The Ministry decided to designate the whole venue as a National Historic Site in 2015 to preserve the historic development of industrialization and locomotives in Taiwan. Earlier this year, the Ministry also signed an agreement with MOTC on transforming the workshop into a museum.
Following the launch of guided tours for visitors to take a peek at the venue this July, a six-year-long restoration project will begin next year to turn the workshop into a national railway museum and park.
In addition to being restored to its former glory, the national railway museum will be the first cultural asset-turned museum that embodies the functions of culture, education, and tourism in Taiwan. In the future, commercial activities will also be introduced to the museum to vitalize the city and make cultural preservation a spotlight of Taipei tourism.
The Ministry has been actively pursuing railway exchanges with countries including the Czech Republic, Germany, and Japan. Minster Cheng also attended the donation ceremony of the 583 train series in Tokyo this August.
The national railway museum is expected not only to display cultural relics but also serve as a platform integrating art and cultural technology to enhance international exchanges. The Minister ultimately hopes that the venue will become a foundation of cultural education for the next generation in the future.
Minister Cheng concluded that from the perspective of Taiwan, the establishment of the museum will be the complete reconstruction of Taiwan's railway history; from an international perspective, the connection between Taiwanese, Japanese, and British cultural assets will enrich global railway culture.