September 13, 2011

French built Railway from Yunnan to Vietnam

It is fascinating to find a French built railway in Kunming-Mengzi area. Though the tracks are more than a century old the Chinese-Yunnan government continues to use this railway and trains as an important mode of transport. Soon a modern system would be completed. Perhaps in 2015 I will get a few friends together to travel from Singapore to Kunming by train!! That's a nice event to look forward to.

Our lives can be like railway tracks - some are straight lines - some have too many criss crossed tracks. Some one may pull the gauges and we take a different journey. Someone may de-rail us and we are thrown into chaos.

This is the main railway in the Honghe Prefecture (Mengzi area) - and is called the Dianyue Railway. It actually runs from Kunming to Hanoi. Built by the French in 1908 it is the only International Railway in Yunnan at the moment. When the Singapore -Hanoi Railway link is completed in the near future we can travel from Singapore by rail all the way to Kunming!!
The railways runs from Kunming to Mengzi and Hekou with 460 km of railway tracks. The total time taken for travelling is about 18 hours. Interestingly it is also one of the only two narrow gauge railways inthe world!!
 You might also be interested to know that one of the earliest railway stations in modern Chinese history- the Bisezhai Railway Station can be reached by train from Kunming. The Ancient fort city of Jianshui can also be reached by rail.

Lovely tracks along one of the villages we passed by.

One may marvel at it that on the section of Yunnan, there are altogether 425 bridges crossing over deep valleys and 155 tunnels taking 36 percent of the total length of Dian section.(

New buildings are fast coming up around the railway tracks in Mengzi.

Motor cyclists and a covered lorry wait patiently while the train passes by early in the morning in Mengzi. Three persons on a bike is very common here.

Future Train Rides from Singapore or KL!!

Note : You can watch this movie and learn more about the modern history of Yunnan. Liu Ye is an exceptionally great actor. Watch out for him!

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