Taiwan Sugar Railways

The Taiwan Sugar Railways is a 762 mm (2 ft 6 in) industrial railway operated by the Taiwan Sugar Corporation. The railway was primarily used in the production of sugar by transporting sugarcane to mills, but some lines also provided passenger service.

A Sugar Railway DIEMA diesel locomotive on the Magongcuo Line
Main region(s)Taiwan
Parent companyTaiwan Sugar Corporation
Dates of operation1907 (1907)present
Track gauge762 mm (2 ft 6 in)
Taiwan Sugar Railways
Traditional Chinese臺灣糖業鐵路
Simplified Chinese台湾糖业铁路

At its height, the Sugar Railways had an extensive network spanning 2,900 km (1,800 mi) of track, but since the Kuomintang's takeover of Taiwan in 1949, most of the infrastructure has been abolished and removed.[1] The only line still used to carry sugarcane today is the Magongcuo Line in Huwei, Yunlin, though many other lines are preserved as heritage railways.[2][3]


Exhibition of retired sugar-carrying trains at the Hualien plant

The Sugar Railways were initially constructed by Meiji Sugar Co., Ltd. during Japanese rule in the early 20th century and continued to operate well into the 1990s under the management of the Taiwan Sugar Corporation. During its peak, the Sugar Railways included over 3000 km of track though by 2003 only 240 km remained. Regular passenger service was discontinued in 1982 as the need for train service to rural areas dwindled with the increasing urbanization of Taiwan and the dominance of highways. More lines were closed in the 1990s as the importance of the sugar industry decreased. Generally the remaining lines are only in operation during the sugarcane harvest season. With domestic sugarcane production dwindling in recent years, rail operations have been sporadic. Some short distance train services resumed in 2003, now mostly catering to tourists and residents wishing to relive childhood memories.


Typically, most of the Sugar Railway lines centered on the many sugar mills in southern and central Taiwan, radiating outwards through sugarcane fields and small towns. Most of the lines were also linked with stations shared with the main railway lines allowing passengers to transfer to long distance trains. Trains carrying sugarcane and passengers ran along the Sugar Railway lines at relatively slow speeds of roughly 10 km/h. Locomotives were initially steam powered, but by the late 1970s the railway had converted to small diesel locomotives.

See also


  1. "來!來!攏來搭五分車!-糖金時代的轉輪印記 盡訴糖鐵的美麗與哀愁". 台糖通訊 (in Chinese (Taiwan)). Taiwan Sugar Corporation. August 2014. Retrieved June 22, 2021.
  2. "來!來!攏來搭五分車!-蔗香飄飄 唯一以五分載蔗的虎尾糖廠". 台糖通訊 (in Chinese (Taiwan)). Taiwan Sugar Corporation. August 2014. Retrieved June 22, 2021.
  3. 黃淑莉 (December 10, 2020). "追火車!虎尾糖廠製糖開工 「五分車」穿梭市區田間" (in Chinese (Taiwan)). Liberty Times. Retrieved June 22, 2021.
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