Aug 18, 2017
Sports fans get ready. To mark the 2017 Summer Universiade Games in Taipei (August 19 to August 30), the city is getting into the sporting spirit with newly decorated trains representing some of the 70 venues at this year’s 29th Games. As the largest sporting event in the world, next to the Olympic Games, Taipei will see over 10,000 athletes from 150 countries compete and vie for gold.
The MRT (mass rapid transit) train is the main driving force of the city, taking athletes to and from 70 new venues over the duration of the Games. If you can’t make it to an event, consider riding a swimming pool-themed train (above) to Shilin night market, or taking a selfie at the starting line in the track and field-themed MRT train.
From soccer and baseball to basketball, the trains are definitely generating a lot of social media buzz. Trains will continue to run in this decorated fashion from now until the end of the Games. This got us thinking, what other cool trains are there around the world? Here are our favourites.
Choo Choo Pikachu, Japan
Japan’s train system is known universally around the world for its precision and comfort, but what about cuteness? Japan’s JR East railway company and The Pokemon Company are offering anime-enthused travellers a chance to jump on the Pikachu Express.
The Pokemon With You train is adorable and eye-watering (if you are not a fan) at the same time. Much loved anime-character Pikachu invites you into his two-car carriage completely decked out in Pikachu-glory; you can even play with oversized Pikachus in the kids’ area, an entire car for you to hug, snuggle and play with other Pikachu fans. And guess what? There is even a reclining Pikachu to ride. Kids only!
On the Ofunato Line, this cute train is aimed at bringing joy to kids in Miyagi Prefecture which was affected by the 2011 earthquake and tsunami. The train departs Ichinoseki Sation and arrives at the coast of Miyagi Prefecture at Kesennuma Station. Tickets can be purchased in advance via the website but only in Japan. Anyone can hop on the Pikachu train – there are no age restrictions.
Dates the train is running:
July 15-17, 22-23, 29-31
August 1-20, 26-27
September 2-3, 9-10, 16-18, 23-24, 30
Hello Kitty, Taiwan
First there was a Hello Kitty airplane and now Hello Kitty has her very own train. Both Japan and Taiwan have given Hello Kitty fans a chance to get up close and personal with the world’s most famous kitty-cat. A new high-speed train completely adorned with Hello Kitty paraphernalia will travel from Taipei to Taitung.
The train is absolutely draped with Hello Kitty cuteness – on the walls, the headrest covers, serving carts and even Hello Kitty meal boxes for the lucky 376 passengers travelling daily on Fridays and weekends only. Buy tickets via the website. Each of the train’s eight cars represents different travel scenes: Taipei, Asia, Australia, Africa and the Americas. Don’t forget to take a selfie with Hello Kitty; the mascot is always on board greeting kids young and old.
Thomas the Tank Engine and Puffing Billy, Australia
A rite of passage is to ride the great old Puffing Billy in the Dandenong Ranges of Victoria in Australia. Just one hour from the hustle and bustle of Melbourne’s CBD, Puffing Billy takes you on a short 35-minute train ride through the green ranges before you stop for Devonshire tea at one of the cafes in the woods. Jump on at Gembrook Station, during the months of October and November, where Thomas The Tank Engine comes to life, taking over the 110-year-old train. Nine hundred devoted and dedicated volunteers run this old-fashioned choo-choo train so don’t forget to do as the locals do – grab a window seat, dangle your feet out the window and wave hello to the great Dandenong Ranges. Prices start at AU$37 for adults and kids. To book ahead, jump on their website.