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Request for info about old Kaohsiung Railway Station building

Moderator: hansioux

Request for info about old Kaohsiung Railway Station building

Postby MattInSydney » 20 Mar 2016, 12:51

I'm wondering whether anyone has information about the Old Kaohsiung Railway Station building which was designed and built by the Japanese in the 1930s.

I was very struck by this building on a recent visit, and found it very charming and unusual. However, objectively speaking, it's perhaps not the greatest piece of architecture, and there were other finer buildings built by the Japanese in Taiwan.

I was quite surprised to learn that in 1992 (correction 2002) it was moved approximately 60 metres from its original location to where it stands now. This took enormous engineering resources, and cost millions of dollars. I understand it will eventually be moved back to its original location – again at enormous cost.

I'm hoping to find out why it was moved. Apparently the Taiwan Railway Administration was originally going to demolish the building but was prevented from doing so.

Does anyone have any historical information about the building's move, such as newspaper coverage from that time, etc.?

I am assuming there was community discussion of some sort. It would be interesting to know the reasons why so much trouble was taken to preserve it intact.

Is there some significance as a part of Taiwan's history -- or was the local community just very fond of the building as a part of their own family stories, etc.?

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Re: Request for info about old Kaohsiung Railway Station building

Postby Tempo Gain » 20 Mar 2016, 18:06

There's an article here, but it describes a 2002 move.

http://www.chinapost.com.tw/news/2002/0 ... ailway.htm
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Re: Request for info about old Kaohsiung Railway Station building

Postby MattInSydney » 21 Mar 2016, 09:37

Thanks yes, the move took place in 2002.
My mistake, now corrected.
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Re: Request for info about old Kaohsiung Railway Station building

Postby hansioux » 21 Mar 2016, 11:04

The building was built by the Shimizu Corporation, which is still in operation today in Japan. It's roof was designed to echo Tang dynasty architecture, which usually is reserved for temples and nobles in Japan.

In 2002, after the public halted its demolition, the move was again tasked to the Shimizu Corporation, the company that built it in the first place. Shimizu has a branch in Taiwan called Jipu (吉普) and carried out the move. They first dug down to the station's foundations, then held it in place with hydraulics, fitted them with wheel platforms, sort of like putting the station on roller skates. They then laid dozens of tracks under the station, and slowly rolled the station towards it's new location.

The move began on Aug. 16th. The hydraulics that drove the forward motion could only push the 3,500 ton station forward 60cm at a time. Afterwards they had to reset which took about an hour, which meant the average speed was about 1cm per minute.

Originally the city planned to have 10 thousand citizens come out and pull the station forward with ropes, however those in charge of engineering pointed out that would only work for smaller buildings. Since the original Takao Eki is an RC building, it's impossible to pull it using man power, and they needed a slow and steady driving power to prevent damaging the structure. In the end the city had a ceremonial pulling the station with ropes, and the rest were done by hydraulics.
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Re: Request for info about old Kaohsiung Railway Station building

Postby afterspivak » 22 Mar 2016, 08:22

Great post!

Hansioux: what's an "RC building"?

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Re: Request for info about old Kaohsiung Railway Station building

Postby MattInSydney » 22 Mar 2016, 08:52

Afterspivak, I think "RC" is Reinforced Concrete.

I went inside and saw that the original railway clock had been tucked away in a corner, waiting to be re-mounted on the front of the building. I guess, a few decades ago, that might have been the most important clock in Kaohsiung.
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