Friday, October 9, 2015

Spring Has Sprung.....

It's October and in Australia we're well into spring.

We've already had a few hot days (35 celcius hot enough  for you?) and it's not even summer!

Spring is also a time of renewal and growth and the time for the DSVN to make another announcement about it's future.

It's almost become an annual event! Sort of like Tet.

There have been quite a few announcements in recent years. The construction of a new line to Vung Tau, another to the Mekong for example.

Worthy projects you might suggest. And they are. If they are ever built!

The latest plan calls for a number of new locomotives, designated passenger and freight.

Up to now most VNR engines have been mixed traffic, so this is new.

The other interesting item is that the Hanoi - Saigon very fast train seems to be still on the menu, despite National Assembly concerns about it's cost and whether  Vietnam can build it.

It's still a long way off but it is still on the table.

See ya later!

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Riding the Rails

This is a bit of an experiment.
I'm writing this as I travel home on the train.  On my mobile. Ah the wonders of technology!
I'm currently doing quite a lot of work on my Ga Hong Ha layout, especially finishing off the backscene and planting lots of trees.
I also have about four boxes of people on motor bikes to add. Never too many motor bikes on a Vietnam model railway.
I also have some cars from China which I intend to repaint into various VN cars such as taxis, police cars etc.
Unfortunately these tasks all take time as you know. No wonder so many people involved in the hobby are retired!
I came across sn interesting story about VNR. Apparently they intend to spend quite a lot of money on the system over the next few years including 24 new locomotives. Can't wait to see that!
My train is arriving at my destination shortly, so until next time.
See ya.

Sunday, September 20, 2015


Well it wasn't quite two years but it's been a long time. Early in the year I was quite sick (a combination of the earlier pneumonia and another respiratory problem) but I'm a lot better since our May Vietnam visit.

We travelled to Vietnam again in May this year, a short 3 week trip. Boy was it hot! Temperatures in the order of 39 and 40c were the order of the day.

We travelled to Danang and had a look at the station there.

I maintained my promise of never travelling by coach again so we travelled by train of course and enjoyed the trip. We travelled back by sleeper and surprisingly we had a good nights sleep. Must be the gentle rocking of the carriage. Vietnam coaches tend to rock a bit because of the narrow metre guage.

We also got to the entrance of the locomotive depot in Saigon, but couldn't get in. But I did get some photos at the entrance. We weren't prepared to walk all the way back to the station in the heat just to get permission! Next time maybe.

I’m actually very excited.

I was recently browsing the internet and came upon an image of the cover of a book I have been trying to obtain for quite a while. I clicked on the image and was taken to a bookshop in Adelaide (Australia) where a copy of the book was being advertised.

The book was described as second hand and in good condition. Now this book, published in 1990, is exceedingly rare so I got quite excited. The price being asked for was probably about 3 or 4 times it’s initial price when new, but I couldn’t resist.

So I now have the book and it lives up to all my expectations. It is indeed in excellent condition including a clear plastic cover.  I have a little French so I am currently wading my way through it.

How it found it's way into a bookshop in Adelaide, Australia, is a mystery. 

The book is “Les Chemin de fer de la France D’Outre-Mer” Volume 1 “L’Indochine Le Yunnan”by Frederick Hulot. For those that don't speak French, "French Overseas Railways".

The book covers the French era of Indochina Railways and contains some wonderful photos as well as detailed text, particularly about locomotives.
So expect a number of corrections to be made on the website, as well as additional data.

I know I've said this before, but hopefully you will get a few more blogs now that my health is significantly improved.

Don't forget Issue number 5 of my e-magazine "Re-unification Express" is also due in the next couple of weeks, so look out for that one on the "Railways In Vietnam" website. 

Until next time.