I was blessed to grow up in the Narrow gauge wonderland of Taiwan. The former Japanese occupiers of Taiwan built extensive 30 inch gauge railways for the extraction of natural resources in Taiwan starting in the early 20th century. At the highest point of operation of these lines there were several thousand miles of 30 inch gauge track. Mostly the lines were sugar cane lines but there were several logging railways as well. Taiwan has large mountains along the spine of the Island rising up to ten thousand feet or so. In the early teens the Japanese built a logging railroad from the coast city of Chia yi up into the hills to a place called Ali Shan(mountain) This railway was built to mainly access the giant Camphor tree and cypress forest that was up at high elevation. The line rises from not much above sea level to 8000 feet or so in something like 76 km. Extensive steep grades were needed. The solution for motive power was found in the Shay locomotive from Lima Locomotive Works. They ordered two different models. Some were 18 ton two cylinder models and some were 28 tons with three cylinders.
My dad who is also a railfan took me on two different occasions up to Alishan to ride these trains. These trips are a great memory.
This is a Japanese Kato critter.
____________________ Phil Randall
Trinity Valley Traction Co.