Alishan Forest Railway was used for transporting lumber originally. It became the major mean of transportation for residents and carrying freights. As the rapid development of tourism and passenger loading, the locomotive had been changed from steam to diesel since 1962. The main purpose of the forest railway was also changed from the transportation of lumber into passengers, and gradually became mountain-tour trains. Since 1984, "Alishan Express" has been operating and providing more comfortable and convenient service for passengers in the duration of 3 hours and 15 minutes.

Watch the full form

Year Corresponding Year Important History
1900 Meiji Year 33 A Rail Department technician, Iida Toyozi, explored the possibility of constructing a railroad in Alishan. Ogasawara Tomijiro explored Alishan's forest resources.
1903 Meiji Year 36 The Governor-General appointed Kawai Shitaro to plan for the development of Alishan forest and railway route selection.
1904 Meiji Year 37 Alishan forest development project was denied due to financial stress caused by Japan-Russia War.
1906 Meiji Year 39 Alishan forest development project was approved and headed up by "Fujita Gumi" of Osaka. In July, the section from Chiayi to Zhuqi began construction.
1907 Meiji Year40 In October, Dulishan Spiral Section was finished. The railroad construction expanded to Liyuanliao Station. The 13-ton American Lima Shay steam locomotive was first imported to Taiwan.
1908 Meiji Year 41 Fujita Gumi announced to stop the Alishan Railroad project due to the lack of financial capability.
1910 Meiji Year 43 In February, the state-led Alishan forest development project was ratified in the Japanese congress. In October, the section from Chiayi to Zhuqi began operations. In November, the 18-ton Shay steam locomotive was purchased.
1912 Taisho Year 1 On December 2, the section from Chiayi to Erwanping officially opened for traffic.
1913 Taisho Year 2 The main line was extended to Zhaoping, Alishan for a total length of 71.9km.
1915 Taisho Year 4 Mianyue line was finished for transporting timbers near Tashan.
1920 Taisho Year 9 Alishan Railway officially started to carry passengers.
1927 Showa Year 2 Alishan was nominated as one of the "Taiwan's Eight Wonders"by Taiwan Daily News Agency.
1932 Showa Year 7 Zhijhong line was extended to Shingaoko, the terminal of the passenger train of Alishan Forest Railway.
1934 Showa Year 9 The section from Zhijhong to Tataka was finished. Tataka station is 2,584 meters above the sea level.
1945 Showa Year 20 In August, Japan surrendered unconditionally. In November, Alishan Forest was diverted to the administration of the Forest Bureau, Agricultural and Forestry Administration, Taiwan Provincial Government.
1946 Min Guo Year 35 In March, the first administrator of Alishan Forest, Yin Chuan-Duo reported to duty. The train had a schedule of going up the mountain on even-numbered days and going down on odd-numbered days with one train service per day.
1949 Min Guo Year 38 President Chiang Kai-Shek paid his first visit to Alishan.
1956 Min Guo Year 45 Alishan Great Tree was hit by lightning and burned.
1962 Min Guo Year 51 The first diesel express train was operated between Chiayi and Fenqihu.
1963 Min Guo Year 52 The railway was transformed for tourist purposes. "Chung Shing" express train began operation.
1969 Min Guo Year 58 DL25~30 diesel locomotives were imported. The first female stewardess was recruited on the Chung Shing Express.
1971 Min Guo Year 60 Non-regular "Guang Fu" Train started.
1973 Min Guo Year 62 "Guang Fu" Train started regularly scheduled service with two daily roundtrips. In October, New Beimen Station was finished.
1978 Min Guo Year 67 The branch lines for transporting limber were completely stopped. The entire Dongpu line was converted to the foundation for the New Central Cross-Island Highway.
1982 Min Guo Year 71 In October, Alishan Road was opened for traffic, and the passerger volume of the forest was greatly affected.
1983 Min Guo Year 72 "Chung Shing Express" train was changed to the direct express service which set a record of two hours and fifty minutes between Chiayi and Alishan. Mianyue Line started steam train service and was a hit domestically and internationally.
1984 Min Guo Year 73 The "999 Project" was launched with two daily roundtrips of air-conditioned luxury train service. On May 21, the Zhushan Line began work. In August, Zhao Ping Cart Hotel was finished. Steam train service suspended and changed to diesel trains for the Mianyue Line due to environment protection concerns.
1986 Min Guo Year 75 On January 23, the Zhushan Line was officially open for traffic. On January 25, Alishan Forest Railway signed sister railways with Japan's Oigawa Railway.
1989 Min Guo Year 78 Alishan Forest Administration was rescinded and the Railway Management Department of Chiayi Forest Administration took over control.
1998 Min Guo Year 87 On June 29, the Great Tree was laid down. Mianyue Shihou became the new landmark.
1999 Min Guo Year 88 The Alishan steam locomotive 26 resumed in Beimen Station and became an instant hit in international media.
The September 21 Earthquake severely damaged the railway business. The Mianyue Line service stopped. Alishan New Station was demolished, with its operation moved to Zhaoping Station.
2001 Min Guo Year 90 On December 22, the "90th Anniversary and Painted Tourism Train" ceremony was held. The comfortable painted trains were officially deployed.
2001 Min Guo Year 90 On December 7, the Forest Railway was awarded the honor of "Top Ten Taiwan Civil Engineering Feat" by the "Chinese Institute of Engineers", "Chinese Institute of Civil and Hydraulic Engineering", "Taiwan Construction Research Institute", and "Lu Zhao Chung Foundation".
2001 Min Guo Year 90 On December 17, the "Zhuqi Station" was awarded the honor of "Top 100 Historic Scenic Spot" by the Council of Cultural Construction, Executive Yuan.
2002 Min Guo Year 91 On April 12, President Chen Shui-Bian took the VIP train to visit the Alishan region and highly commended the forest railway.
2003 Min Guo Year 92 The temporary Alishan platform was opened in January.
2004 Min Guo Year 93 ※ On June 11, the Alishan Forest Railway was qualified into the list of "Potential World Heritage Sites" after evaluated by the Council of Cultural Construction, Executive Yuan.
※ Steam Locomotive 31 was ceased and changed to the diesel engine.
※ After treating the environment and landscape, the Chiayi Garage was opened to the public and became a landmark of Chiayi City.
2005 Min Guo Year 94 ※ The nostalgic train carts made of rare Taiwan cypress and cedar joined the operation.
2006 Min Guo Year 95 ※On June 19, the Forest Bureau signed the contract with the private company, Hongdu Alishan International Corp., which operated the Alishan Forest Railway and part of the amusement park operations.
※ The two diesel engines ordered in December of Min Guo Year 93 (2004) joined the operation.
2007 Min Guo Year 96 ※ The five diesel engines ordered in December of Min Guo Year 93 (2004) joined the operation.
※ On July 15, the Chiayi-Zhuqi steam cypress trains operations commencement ceremony was held. The steam cypress trains started service every Saturday and Sunday on July 21.
※ On September 13, the New Alishan Station was completed for operations.
2008 Min Guo Year 97 ※On June 19, Alishan Forest Railway was officially transferred to Hongdu Alishan International Corp. for operations.
2009 Min Guo Year 98 ※On August 8, the entire Alishan Forest Railway was devastated by Typhoon Morakot and the service was temporarily ceased.
2010 Min Guo Year 99 ※On March 23, the contract with Hongdu Alishan International Corp. was terminated.
※ On June 19, the Zhushan Line and the Great Tree Line resumed.
※On June 25, the "Glory Rekindled" activity was held in which the officials of the Executive Yuan and all other levels of government agencies were invited to participate and witness the rekindling of the past glory of tourism in the greater Alishan area.
※On December 19, Alishan Forest Railway celebrated its 99th anniversary, and the wood sculpture exhibition hall and multi-functional entertainment area were also completed and opened for operations.
2011 Min Guo Year 100 ※"Sunrise Impression Concert" on January 1 was held at the Dueigaoyue Station. More than 10 thousand people attended.
※On April 27, the Great Tree Line had a tree falling incident; the entire line’s operation was suspended.
※On October 27, the operation of Zhushan Line was restored.
※On December 25, Alishan Forest Railway celebrated its 99th anniversary, and the commemorative stamps were issued. Zhaoping shuttle trains also began operations.
2012 Min Guo Year 101 ※On January 20, Great Tree shuttle train operations resumed.
※Between December 23-25, the "Centennial Forest Railway-Alishan Forest Railway 100 Year Celebration" was held.
※Starting on December 26, Chiayi-Zhuqi service officially commenced.
2013 Min Guo Year 102 ※On April 20, Alishan Forest Railway signed sister railways with Japan's Kurobe Gorge Railway.
※On April 21, Zhaoping Station was completed for operations.
※On April 26, the Forest Bureau, the Council of Agriculture of Executive Yuan signed the contract with Taiwan Railways Administration of the Ministry of Transportation to transfer operations to the Taiwan Railways Administration starting on May 1.
2014 Min Guo Year 103 ※Zhuqi-Fenqihu main line resumed on January 27.
2015 Min Guo Year 104 ※The section from Fenqihu to Alishan was scheduled to resume on December 25 but was interrupted at the 58k mileage mark by damages caused by Typhoon Dujuan on October 1, so the line was open only from Chiayi to Fenqihu.
2016 Min Guo Year 105 ※On May 6, Alishan Forest Railway signed sister railways with Gornergra Railway of Matterhorn Gotthard Bahn of Switzerland.
※On December 24, Alishan Forest Railway signed the letter of intent with India for the cooperation of railway heritage.
2017 Min Guo Year 106 ※On July 3, the section from Shenmu to the first switch was reopene; July 5, the section from Fenqihu to Shizilu was reopened.
※On September 27, Alishan Forest Railway signed the letter of intent and sister railways with British Welshpool and Llanfair Light Railway for cooperation.
2018 Min Guo Year 107 ※"Alishan Forest Railway and Cultural Heritage Office" was established to confirm the mission of the Alishan Forest Railway as a heritage railway.
※Alishan Forest Railway was awarded the "Japan Railway Awards' overseas special award" by the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism, Japan because of special railway constructions, the large number of passengers, and being welcomed by Taiwanese people on October 15.
※On December 5, Čierny Hron Forestry Railway, Slovakia signed the agreement of the sister railway with Alishan Forest Railway.
2019 Min Guo Year 108 ※"The second Forum on Asian Industrial Heritage Conservation" was held by the Bureau of Cultural Heritage, Ministry of Culture and the Forestry and Nature Conservation Agency, the Council of Agriculture, Executive Yuan on July 1 and 2. Railway specialists and scholars from nine countries were invited to Chiayi for the international exchange of industrial railway and railway heritage.
※The Ministry of Culture announced "Alishan Forest Railway Cultural Landscape" as the first nationwide significant cultural landscape in Taiwan on July 9.