Yesterday I went out with a friend to explore several abandoned and neglected sites in Hsinchu 新竹, Taiwan 台灣. Our first stop was one of many mothballed cable car 空中纜車 towers in Guānxi 關西 connecting a stone quarry near Yùshān Village 玉山里 (formerly known as Chìkēshān 赤柯山) with a cement plant next to Jiǔzàntóu Station 九讚頭車站 in Hengshan. There seems to be no general agreement about the formal name for the system so I’m picking one of many options and dubbing this the Asia Cement Aerial Tramway 亞泥空中纜車 for the sake of simplicity.
Jiuzantou Station is on the Nèiwān Line 內灣線 (see Chinese Wikipedia for more info), which was originally built in the 1940s and expanded in the 1950s to support the growth of the cement and forestry industries in the area, both of which have fallen into steep decline in recent decades. Much like the historic Píngxī Line 平溪線 in Xinbei, the Neiwan Line has recently seen renewed interest and growing passenger numbers in support of tourism in the region.
The same cannot be said for the cable car system, which runs approximately 9.5 kilometers over the rolling hills of rural Hsinchu 新竹. From the looks of it the system is still in good shape despite shutting down about a decade ago (although the buckets are still visible in 2009 even if the tramway isn’t moving). This long period of inactivity would suggest that there are more abandoned facilities to be explored along the tramway route, with particular emphasis on the stone quarries at one end and the cement factories at the other1, but that’ll have to wait for another day.