Owen Rutter, an Englishman who visited Formosa in 1920, recounts a trip by push car to visit an aboriginal tribe near Taipei in his book Through Formosa. He describes the basic operation of the cars: We were met at Toyen by the usual officials, who had push-cars and coolies ready waiting for us. The push-car is simply a light trolley with brakes. On the flat one coolie can get it along, running behind and shoving until it is well underway, and then getting on until it begins to slow down. Going up hill two coolies are necessary, but it is when you are going down hill that the fun begins and you have all the thrills of a prolonged journey on a kind of private(and rather flimsy) scenic railway
The track is a very light line of about 18 inches gauge and and the sleepers are mere billets of wood. At present only the main towns of Formosa are connected by roads, and the outlying districts, even up to the hills, are linked up by means of these push car lines, of which there are over 550 miles in the island.
Pushcars actually played an important role in Taiwan's economic development during the Japanese colonial era. This is detailed in a chapter titled "Push Car Railways and Taiwan's Development" in the book China's Island Frontier: Studies in the Historical Geography of Taiwan edited by Ronald Knapp. Knapp writes:Without the daisha (pushcart) it is unlikely that agriculture would have become so commercialized so quickly because peasants would have been unwilling to produce a surplus unless it could be moved to market.
Note: Life Magazine has several images of Taiwan pushcarts from 1949. Open this pushcart.txt file for all the photo links. (I will post these links at some point in the future, now time is short so the .txt link is all I can offer.)
Note: In the last link, be sure to click on each photo to see before/after images of the old narrow gauge rail line.
Credit: Kuroganerail's Channel
Photo above credit: http://www.nationalgeographicstock.com/
Type in "Taiwan Formosa" and you will find 20 more old images of Taiwan.
Cross posted from "taipics/agri-biz/farmhouse. A school in Lugang with pushcart tracks running nearby.
Pushcart tracks along a Taiwan river.
A pushcart used for a modern day hipster clothing display (not sure if picture is from Taiwan)
Cross-posted from Agribiz/camphor
cross posted from media/mediapub_development