Sandiaoling is a small station along the Pingxi Railway in Ruifang District of New Taipei, near Shuoren Village that was once reliant on coal mining. Officially the first station along the Pingxi Line, it is popular with hikers for nearby trails to waterfalls. The village also has a few historical sites such as the defunct Sandiao Mine and the abandoned Shuoren Elementary School. There are also quite a few tea and coffee shops here, perfect for resting hikers to relax. Sandiaoling Station is the only train station in Taiwan that is inaccessible by car; it can only be reached by foot.
The name Sandiaoling Comes from the Spanish name Santiago, which was the name the Spanish gave to the of the nearby Fulong Village and Santiaogo Cape in when they landed there in 1626. Sandiao is the Taiwanese transliteration of Santiago.
During the Qing Dynasty, Sandiaoling was also a town along the Danlan Old Trail that connected Taipei to Yilan.
The Pingxi Line was completed in 1921 by the Japanese for coal transport, and opened to travelers in 1929.
The reason that Sandiaoling Station is inaccessible by road is that originally it was only meant as a stop for railway workers who were directing trains at the fork here. Trains from Sandiaoling can either go up the Pingxi Line or travel on to Yilan. Another reason is that the Keelung River acts as a natural barrier to the nearest road.
In 1968, another track was added between Houtong Station and Sandiaoling Station, so as to prevent train accidents, as Sandiaoling is a convergence of the Pingxi and Yilan lines.
Coal mining at Sandialing stopped in the 1980s with the decline of the coal industry in Taiwan.
In 2018, there were an average of 86 passengers per day to Sandiaoling Station.
24/7 （first train comes at about 5:30 AM, last train leaves at about 10:30 PM, with one train coming every half hour or so)
How to get there:
By Train: Take the TRA to Ruifang Station, and then switch to the Pingxi Railway line. Get off at Sandiaoling Station, and you have arrived!
By Car/Scooter: Take provincial highway 2 east toward Pinglin, then get off the main highway once you reach Shuangxi. You then need to take highway 102 past Mudan (牡丹) and then turn left onto Houmu Public Road (侯牡公路), take it to the end and you will reach Shuoren Village near Sandiaoling Station (you then need to walk about 5 mintues to get the station).
Please see below:
First, check out our drone video of Sandiaoling. Be sure to follow our Youtube Channel here: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCCeahPf5SIYB3KtQuFVS8bg
I have only been to Sandiaoling once, and I went there on a scooter. Getting there by scooter from Taipei takes a long time. There is no direct road from the next station on the line (Dahua) to Sandiaoling, so you have to make a giant loop around Shuangxi and come from the opposite side, which adds an extra half hour to the journey.
On the road you will pass Mudan, and see views of Jiufen from the backside.
You then need to make a turn onto the small mountain road called Houmu Public Road. On the way down you will see a vista of Shuoren Village (Sandiaoling) as per the photo above. As you can see the village lies in a vast wilderness in Ruifang District of New Taipei.
While I was here they were doing some road construction to better integrate the roads in the village. This road connects to Houtong Cat Village.
Construction of a new road down the hillside.
Sandiaoling Station itself lies across the Keelung River and is inaccessible to motor vehicles, but you can park across the river.
Officially you cannot walk across this bridge; you need to go around the other side of Shuoren Village and walk back on the opposite bank of the river.
You can see the station on the far right in the background. Travelers must cross under the tracks in order to reach Shuoren Village.
The train tracks here converge from the Yilan line and the Pingxi Line.
Another house sits right across the tracks here.
Sandiaoling Tunnel that connects all train traffic to the east coast of Taiwan.
In Shuren Village are quite a few abandoned houses.
I assume that these houses were abandoned after the fall of the mining industry in Taiwan.
This one has a collapsed roof and looks like it is used for storage.
This one is being used as a garden now.
Sandiao Coal Mine 三貂煤礦
Sandiao Coal mine lies near the southwest side of the village. It was the main coal mine in the village from1948 to 1984.
"Sandiao Coal Mine"
"The Sandiao Coal Mine is located between Youkeng Tunnel and the Pingxi Line and Sandiaoling Tunnel on the Yilan Line, which run along the Keelung River. The mine was opened in 1948 and operated until 1984, during that time it changed hands several times because of operating difficulties, with a change of name each time. Hehe Mine, Shuini Mine, and Sandiao Mine. Rising costs finally made the mine uncompetitive and its operator was dissolved in 1987, the pits were closed one by one, the locomotives were moved away, and Sandiaoling just about became a ghost town as coal was replaced by petroleum. Sandiaoling's glory days are gone now, but the natural environment and the beautiful scenery remains, with the Keelung River flowing through it, providing idyllic scenes of bucolic tranquility."
This is probably the best English translation of a historical sign I have ever seen in Taiwan.
Remains of the old electric power shed in front of the mine.
The shed is now being used as storage space for some rotting junk.
The tunnel is 750 meters long and is dammed at the entrance, probably to provide a water reservoir for the town. For more information on the mining history of the town, check out this blog by Willy Chang.
View of the town and railway bridge.
Hiker enjoying a meal at a small restaurant near the train tracks.
Another small restaurant in town.
From here you can go straight to the Youkeng Trail that connects with Dahua Station, or go right to the Sandiaoling Waterfall trail.
View north looking at the Keelung River.
Train passing over the bridge connecting the town.
Train passing through town to the Youkeng Tunnel.
View of the south side of town from the bridge.
There are the remnants of an old suspension bridge that I assume connected rail carts from the mine to Sandiaoling Station. Like most all such suspension bridges in Taiwan, they have long since fallen down or have been dismantled.
On the other side of the river, there are also a few cafes in the old houses there. It seems like a chill spot to enjoy a drink or a meal out in the open.
The train tracks pass right through the north part of town with no fences or anything.
Right in front of Shuoren Elementary School (碩仁國小), the Sandiaoling Waterfall trail begins.
Shuoren Elementary School 碩仁國小
View of the entrance to Shuoren Elementary School.
Shuoren Elementary School was originally built as Japanese language school in1938. It was officially made an elementary school in 1964. Due to lack of children in the area, it officially closed in 1996.
There are still some public restrooms here, along with a small piece of playground equipment.
Description of the school in Chinese, and how it has become an art space.
An old mining cart sits rotting next to the school.
After the school, the trail continues up the mountain.
For our full blog on the Sandiaoling Waterfall Trail, clickhere.
For our full guide to the Pingxi Railway, clickhere.
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