Taiwan completes digitization of Japanese colonial-era blueprints of seven railway stations

Kyodo

A project to digitize and restore the blueprints and design documents of seven major railway stations built by Japan during its 50-year colonial rule of Taiwan has been completed, authorities announced Tuesday.

National Cheng Kung University architecture professor Liou Shuenn-ren, the leader of the one-year project, said his team scanned around 430 pages of building maps of the seven stations.

The stations are located respectively in the cities of Keelung, Taipei and Hsinchu in northern Taiwan, Taichung and Chiayi in central Taiwan, and the southern cities of Kaohsiung and Tainan.

Liou said that while the Japanese built around 230 railway stations all over Taiwan during its colonial rule, fewer than 30 still stand today.

The documents that were processed are among some 5,000 blueprints of all the stations that were discovered in 1988 at the then-disused Japanese Railway Administration Building close to Taipei railway station.

Liou said his team has applied to the Bureau of Cultural Heritage under the Ministry of Culture for more funding to cover the digitization of stations in small towns.

Tsai Fei-wen, who is in charge of a team of students responsible for maintaining and repairing the delicate paper drawings, said that the most difficult piece to handle was that of the first floor of the Tainan station.

Tsai, a professor of conservation of cultural relics and museology at Tainan National University of Arts, said her team spent about a month repairing the drawing that was in poor shape.

Tsai’s team repaired 11 damaged blueprints and completed the cleaning of more than 300 more.

The digital images of the design drawings will be stored on cloud servers at the National Railway Museum, which is scheduled to open to the public in 2020.