This Saturday afternoon I spent my time guiding the Hanoi Photo Club along the railway tracks in the Vietnamese capital and so avoiding the tourist crowds and tiptoeing instead along the train tracks of the “Reunification express”, a surviving kind of relic of a bygone era, but still working today.
There are shops and families living along the tracks and there are shops you might not have thought about. A lot of wood crafters are settled here and as well hairdressers, hairdressers, hairdressers.
The North–South Railway still is the principal line connecting Hanoi to Ho Chi Minh City. The single-track line has a total length of 1,726 km. This trains are referred to as the “Reunification Express”. The railway established during French colonial rule was completed in between 1899 and 1936. The tracks run between the homes on both sides in a narrow kind of tunnel.
Nearly 80 years later, the train line is at certain parts a colourful path decorated walls with graffiti and endless rows of houses, little shops, hairdressers and tenants. At some intersections the railroad tracks are expertly marked. There are warning signs for passersby to keep a look out for oncoming trains. But walking along the tracks the train just steps from you or you directly on the tracks you have to look out. This is the case for many occupants along the Reunification track in Hanoi. Amidst this as well busy part of Hanoi, people live and work alongside the railroad tracks. You can found such sites in part of the city's Old Quarter, and on a longer stretch to the south of the Hanoi main station where we started our photo walk.
Due to the railway tracks you can get some very well composed images with leading lines and as well another face of the Vietnamese capital. As we had done this not for the first time we started to explore the neighbourhood with it small lanes, markets and different shops.
There is more to come. So much to see, so much to document.