Sōngshān District 松山區 has long been a major hub for the railway industry in Taiwan. It is the location of the massive Taipei Railway Workshop complex, now closed but not completely abandoned, as the city government is planning to transform it into an attraction of some kind. I went poking around the area a few weeks ago and found no obvious way inside without being seen—but I did find a number of decaying old residences all in a row along Civic Boulevard Section 5 市民大道五段, not far from the western entrance to the rail yard. Although I haven’t found anything about them online I suspect they are Japanese colonial era homes for railway workers or officials, usually referred to as Táitiě Sùshè 台鐵宿舍, or TRA residences.
These certainly aren’t the most interesting kind of ruins one will encounter in Taiwan, nor is this exploration particularly comprehensive, but they can’t all be winners. I am not even certain these are railway worker residences, though they certainly look like others you will find in Taipei 台北, particularly those around Taipei Main Station. While searching for more information I found several news stories pertaining to corrupt landlords in much newer buildings for railway workers, something that makes finding out about these old homes much more difficult. Then again, these are really minor ruins, and there are hundreds more like these all up and down the island. There’s a good chance nobody saw fit to properly document them until now.
Only one other detail is worth mentioning: from sleuthing around on Google Street View it is clear that these homes were already long-abandoned in 2009. Seven long years of exposure have taken their toll on these old homes.
I returned to these abandoned residences more recently, this time to skulk around the back of the block. Last time I was there a bunch of dogs stalked through the open area that must have once been lined with tracks. I crept through the gate facing the Songshan Cultural and Creative Park 松山文創園區 for a closer look at the side of the neighbourhood that would have once backed out onto the railway line.