An Unusual Hanoi Train

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Asia » Vietnam » Red River Delta » Hanoi
October 24th 2018
Published: October 24th 2018
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If you have read many of my previous emails, you already know how much train travel I have done in various parts of the world. This train in Hanoi, is rather different. I will not be a passenger, but an observer. Let me tell you why.

About 3pm and 7pm each day, a train "hurtles" through a series of narrow streets in Hanoi's Old Quarter, where we are staying. The photos are before, during, and after.

From Atlas Obscura:

Drying clothes are carried inside, children ushered indoors, and bikes pulled to the side of the road just before the train speeds past, with a couple feet of clearance at most on each side. In some places the train is mere inches from the buildings.

The street’s residents press tight to the walls or duck into nearby doorways with a startling nonchalance and go right back to walking across or sitting on the tracks as soon as the train has passed.

The railroad tracks take up nearly the entirety of the “train street,” as it’s been dubbed by the increasing trickle of tourists that come to glimpse the startling sight. The train passes the narrow road early in the route that connects Vietnam’s capital to Ho Chi Minh city in the south.

I have actually not seen this on my previous trips here. But I plan to see it this time. The train street is located between Le Duan and Kham Tien street in Hanoi's Old Quarter. The exact lane the train passes along is called Ngo 224 Le Duan.

They say it is a speeding train. And within inches of buildings and property. After the train passes, everything returns to normal. Getting here early means getting to see the "before" as well as the "during" and the "after". They say the people here have a harmonious relationship with the train.

The train started in Hue, and ends up at Long Bien railway station in Hanoi. Why am I doing this? They say it is one of the highlights of visiting Hanoi. Why have I not done this before?

We drove past the train track street on Sunday, but I want a closer look. We also rode along these tracks on our motos last night. A white "safety" line is painted on the path, indicating where it is safe to stand or place things. Also, on the bridge over the Red River last night, people love to hop over the barrier, and have their photo taken on the railroad tracks. No safety net! In fancy clothes, even wedding attire. Go figure!!!

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