Chris Tarrant Extreme Railway Journeys Vietnam on Vimeo

vâng, đó là một ngày đẹp trời khác ở một trong những những đất nước đẹp nhất trên trái đất Việt Nam là quê hương của 1000 dặm đường sắt dài Người lái Tàu đang hút thuốc Lào chỗ ngồi cũ bây giờ rất khó thông gió là không tồn tại nhưng trong đất nước ít tiền mặt và thắt chặt không gian làm thế nào mà đường sắt này sống sót một trong những Chiến tranh đẫm máu nhất thế giới từng thấy nó có thể kéo dài bao lâu nên ở đó trong khoảng sáu tháng nhưng một chuyến tàu có thể thực sự đoàn kết đất nước bị chia cắt cay đắng hành trình của tôi bắt đầu tại thành phố Hồ Chí Minh từng được gọi là Sài Gòn, nơi có hơn 8 triệu người hàng triệu người dường như hết trên đường phố sáng nay Tôi chắc chắn trên thế giới Thành phố HCM không bao giờ có lưu lượng XE MÁY như thế này đời sống đừng dừng lại mọi thứ riêng biệt giao cắt có báo động đây không phải là hệ thống nếu bạn chưa từng đến đây trước bạn fcảm thấy như bạn có vì tất cả những phim chiến tranh như Apocalypse Now và thợ săn nai Tôi chưa bao giờ rất vui khi thấy trong cuộc sống của tôi bạn là một người đàn ông rất tốt /***i Tên của nơi này đến Hồ Chí Minh Thành phố nhưng thật ra nó vẫn nói Sài Gòn xin chào tôi có thể nhận được một vé đi tàu xin vui lòng càng sớm càng tốt chuyến tàu tiếp theo vâng cảm ơn bạn ổn 13.00 đô la tôi mặc cả thank you a my ticket thank now okay thank you I’ve no idea I soon to have got hard no air come I do hope I haven’t over economized yeah you can get soft you can get hard you can get full air conditioning I assume you got the cheapest possible you think be in a communist country all train seats will be the same before on down thank you right to the end comrade Tarrant good god forbid I should sit in the wrong seat and get arrested hello my seat they say about hard seats in fact they’re also hard sleep for sixty ah this is actually this is my seat I’ve never actually done a railway film yet one sitting with the baby oh and that’s their mummy and another baby under my seat it’s alright this is surreal we’re off the first leg of my journey on the 1070 two-mile north-south railway from Ho Chi Minh to Hanoi this morning I’m heading to Dee and to look at some of the country’s last surviving steam locomotives then I go in search of an old mountain railway line built by the French Colonials before traveling to the place where the first US combat troops landed in the Vietnam War I’ll cross over the hive and pass to the Demilitarized Zone where our help with the ongoing post-war clear up then I’m heading further north to visit an

indestructible bridge before reaching the capital Hanoi they call this the reunification express because after the Vietnam War basically links out the whole of the country it is called Express I think that’s a bit of a misnomer construction of the line began in 1899 when Vietnam was a French colony the French were here for over 60 years so I’m keen to see what mark they’ve left on the railway so far it doesn’t look as though much has changed in a very long time including the third-class carriages they really are so hard luckily we’re only travelling one stop I want to get off at diem because there’s quite a nice bit of Vietnam and railway history and here we are did I mention it’s the rainy season somewhere here are gonna meet the guy as predicted his own monster task for himself he’s going to build his own steam railway look at this stuff just outside Ho Chi Minh this is the main railway maintenance Depot in South Vietnam it’s also home to some of the country’s last surviving steam locomotives which a team led by New Zealand entrepreneur Mike Gabby is working hard to restore your staff presumably are all local yeah that’s right yeah I’m the finest buff from you happens but if they could other Vietnamese should look at ya they’re very good very practical they’re nice people we can look at one of the train this is a class one for one a type of locomotive used here from the 1940s to Vietnamese design based on the old French Mikado’s we managed to find the last three in Vietnam so we’ve renovated two and we’ve got a third one 1000 parts today Mike’s agreed to take me for a test drive of his Revolution Express hi guys Oh yep my my head yeah hello I’m Chris how are you these locomotives were first used to serve the French Empire but later were operated by the North Vietnamese during the war and well into the Communist era this would be a really big deal for the for the locals as well as tourists yeah I’m really getting some positive feedback from local Vietnamese they love to see their history it’s almost as if they’ve moved too quickly to the future so we’re trying to bring everyone back a bit my plans to run his steam trains through the stunning central highlands of Vietnam but today it’s just a tour of local de and suburbs thank you yeah what do you do a little bit of : I’ll open the play this fine old loco is certainly raising some local eyebrows and terrifying the local cows it’s really everybody comes out as Muslim I’ve never seen a stand-up like young ones yeah so nice it’s just been perfect hey listen very much to come back when it’s working I’d loved it it’s been great to have you on for good fun I think this is actually goes faster than the reunification express certainly hope so we’ll be shoveling okay take care thank you okay the Revolution Express is going to be a fine addition to the Vietnamese railways but back at Guardian I’m already having my doubts about the remaining one thousand and fifty nine miles of my journey it sounds very grand already a bummer Ikki the reunification express at least this time I’ve splashed out on a hard seat with aircon if I can find it let’s write up the end of this carriage which is the far oh good zero do they look a bit loud hello hello reunification railway this is gonna be

the intoxication rolling I’m now heading along the coast to tat cham where i hope to find an old colonial railway that leads up into the mountains i think that worked out when this train is traveling at the speed of a tortoise it’s a really a bumpy single track and when the train comes the other way one of us has to stop to let the other past to pass the time they’re organizing a competition to win a goldfish in a bag oh no that’s lunch like the British the French had a widespread Empire in this part of the world they ruled in Vietnam Cambodia and Laos but they also found the sultry heat warmest unbearable so they built a series of mountain retreats little towns way up in the hills so tomorrow we head for the hills and I’m hoping the catering will get a whole lot better in the place they call the little Paris of Vietnam day two the sun is shining and I’m on the trail of an old branch line into the mountains I know most of it isn’t running anymore but I’m hoping for spectacular remains and actually if you look down there that’s clearly that’s good that’s clearly the old railway bridge it’s the rusting remains of a railway bridge built back in the 1920s so I’m on the right track I think the Mountain Railway itself actually began from up here in a place called song far hello I’m trying to find the old song father station you I follow you no I think he’s good we’ve got being kidnapped so this whole know my kids will pay the ransom hello we’re just go forward oh just in top of the right this is surreal so thank you it’s it this is the station area so that’s the Dalek mountain so you can see it look really clearly from here it’s so steep as well that is the mountain that they built going right the way up the top Tudor lat this must be the station it’s actually now somebody’s house look at this hello it’s not quite the it’s not quite the Grand French colonial building always hoping for this has got to be it though very kind of them to just let me wander around look tiny dogs little tiny cheeks I’m sure when they built this a hundred years ago they wouldn’t expecting it to be overrun with little baby chickens there’s still no tracks so I think actually this is probably the station seems have a bigger sort of platform look about it so obviously this lady’s house so that over there the first bit must be like I don’t know a shed and maintenance area or something and the trains then come out to the station here and then go up the hill from here the French faced a towering challenge so they brought in Swiss engineers to build a rack and pinion railway rising almost 1400 metres in just 27 miles carrying sweaty French people to their mountain retreats but these days only one section remains the home straight at the top of the hill this is wonderful I found some track and a train and a station that sort of clinician isn’t full of chickens this is more like it thank you guess what wooden seats we’re off and I can almost smell those 1930s kreisel it’s quite cute this train but it’s diesel I was kind of hoping for steam there’s no rack and pinion such an ordinary track we’re passing through rich farmland but if you were hoping for vistas of sun-drenched paddy fields sorry finally we’re entering the city of Da Lat and it’s 1938 Art Deco station so

this is Darla it’s rather nice actually very clean beautifully painted much cooler probably 15 degrees cooler than when we were down at the bottom this is nice too big sign here at Cog Grover there’s an old locomotive here but this is obviously the only bit left that the old cog railway track from 1907 the French build hotels Grand colonial houses and even a mini Eiffel Tower radio mast during World War 2 as the capital of French Indochina it became known as petit Palais and I found a lovely old Catherine why is it even when I come into a little cafe or still Gerhard wouldn’t seat this is rather nice French cafe very French van Rouge baguettes the French influences felt all over Vietnam but after independence it all descended again into chaos and a Geneva Conference in 1954 divided the country into two the North became common and the South pro-west but Ho Chi Minh wanted the whole country the whole of Vietnam to be communist and this was a nightmare prospect for the South Vietnamese but also particularly for their number one ally the Americans tomorrow I’m heading back to the coast and the place where the mess left behind by the French became an unwinnable American day three back on the reunification express these regulations getting on a train in Vietnam which is truly wonderful intoxicated persons insane people people who have infectious diseases they’re not allowed to get priority queuing six soldiers pregnant women elderly people from 60 years or older I might just squeeze into that one and finally things you can’t put in your hand luggage include human bodies or their remains you’re not allowed to take them on maybe my senior stages has helped because I seem to have moved up in the Communist picking order this should be better because on the ticket it says no hard see a soft sea and air calm over thank you but yeah extreme step right now for my lovely soft seat just like scrum there something I’m uncle still that is my seat today I’m heading for darning a key city in the history of the Vietnam War or the American War as it’s known here it will be darn a little wet you get a seat hello hello right now I can settle this is good cozy aircon we’ve gotta plug for electricity that’s good we’re slowly edging towards the heartlands of the wall so how did the Vietnam War come about well after the French left and it was divided north and south the US began to get nervous they were worried that if the South fell to the Communists other countries might follow suit is what they call the domino theory from the 1950s American support for the French back south gradually escalated with so-called military advisors and then air support until finally in 1965 the first US Marines landed a darning beach where tomorrow I’m gonna meet an American veteran who is still living in Vietnam daaang an important port a beautiful beach and the point of no return for the Vietnam moon the first American troops landed here on the 8th of March 1965 there was no real opposition though there were just beautiful vietnamese ladies carrying Garland’s of flowers and the Americans thought it would just be a walk in the park and the boys would all be home in time for Christmas how wrong they were 10 years of relentless brutal bombardment chemical warfare all sorts of atrocities and millions dead fighting a war they couldn’t win the last thing you’d really expect from an American soldier who served in the 60s was that he’d ever come back to Vietnam but we can go one better with torture a guy

who’s actually moved back and lives in Vietnam James our Nelson who served here in 1966 and 67 is gonna tell me how it all went wrong Nelson can you remember the first time you arrive at Saul Vietnam I remember seeing the landscape the banana trees and the palm trees and all that and everything look it’s pretty normal but this the real impact the real first impact on me about that I was in a place it was really different was when we were in the terminal and I looked around me and I realized that for the next year my full Tora duty here I would never be quite certain who his friend who was full did you get a sense even the short time you were here that the American bombing etc was was kind of excessive well sure although it got a lot more excessive after I left that’s when things really changed from an ordinary nasty war to a bizarre insane war I’m sure no one ever thought we’d be here as long as we were what do you think was the worst thing that the Americans did during the war I think it was the Asian Orange Agent Orange was used as a defoliant to destroy jungle where the Vietcong were hiding it’s still causing birth defects and disabilities 50 years on what do you think the Vietnamese think about America’s do you think they forgive I do yep and on all sides thank you good luck thank you Chris Vietnam does feel like it’s moving on and so am i back to the station Vietnamese railways seemed seriously short of cash and accidents are common so as I embark on the most dangerous stretch of track in the whole country I’ve blacked a seat up front with the driver hopefully a nice soft seat with a good safety belt it’s another hard chair ah apparently not thank you that was me thinking adult way from wooden chairs here we are again better view though today we’re heading via the spectacular high van pass to dong Heart a few miles from what was the Demilitarized Zone during the Vietnam War up ahead the high van pass is a dangerous accident black spot thank you thank you very much but first my drivers must negotiate an even greater safety hazard actually quite a lot of them tragically but fairly predictably biggest cause of the very large number of deaths on beard railways is mainly the level crossings motorbikes motorists and pedestrians of walking across the line with road crossings every few hundred yards the driver really has to be on top of his game his big green button is vital the horn drivers lives constantly pressing at all and just like they do on the roads people crossing they do have and obviously they are trying to improve their safety record but anyways these guys with the flag anywhere there’s any chance of a crossing intense concentration safely through the suburbs our next challenge awaits which was heading up to the notorious I ban ours as you can see from these guys they’re treating it very very seriously concentrating but tragically in 2005 the driver didn’t do that the driver was running late going too fast and the train derails 11 people died under / over a hundred people were badly injured and that happened just along in the past is 13 miles long climbing over a thousand metres above sea level with six tunnels and 18 bridges constructed deep inside dense mountain jungle we reach the top but the most dangerous bit is going back downhill it’s very steep and it’s rainy season

one of the biggest problems for you driving trains on these roads there was a cow in safely down and through the pass my driver has a well-earned and celebration gives me to liver health and safety the driving is smoking one more level crossing to negotiate now we’ve made it safely to Dong Ha after hours of intense concentration I finally get a great big smile thank you very much very good I’m now in the Demilitarized Zone a six mile no-man’s land created separate north and south in 1954 which suffered extreme bombardment during the war America’s stated aim was to bomb the commies back into the Stone Age and they reckoned that in this one province Quang tree during the Vietnam War they dropped more bombs than on Germany in the whole of World War two this area was a vital part of the Vietcong supply routes known as the Ho Chi Minh Trail the North Vietnamese went to great lengths to keep these routes operating none more so than one coastal village that was targeted for sending supplies to an offshore anti-aircraft position this leads into the village of vinh moc which was particularly heavily bombed the American idea was to force the villagers to leave the area but of course the bombing everywhere was so intense there was nowhere for them to go so they went underground so this is just one of a great complex of tunnels and this is actually where they lived throughout most of the war there is one guy who was actually born down here and I’m hoping to meet him there’s much deeper than I expected presumably the fact that they could get down no chance to be if the bombs hitting the surface and the high design impact it’s really foster phobic down here which one of these is your daddy this is tan and his daughter way he was one of seventeen babies born in this tunnel and lived down here until he was five years old does he remember the bombing whoa what was it like was he was he thrown dangling about would update already did he ever see daylight did they ever actually go out of this tunnel above you you hmm Oh Canadian woman were many people killed who lived in the tunnels did some die actually we have modern foreign villagers they were buried inside 28 hours so they were actually buried alive by the bombs can we get some fresh air ha ha oh that’s better and we by the sea it must have been horrific living down there oh thank you can you ask your father did they realize when they came out did they realize it was the end of the war the war was over recorded out like it I loved it lad lad let the negative feel all up come over the world are no no not yet didn’t people follow da da did come for your time I mean not even tell what a long mean Achille Saturn and the people of the DMZ the war may have been over but the killing didn’t story more than 40,000 Vietnamese have been killed by unexploded bombs since 1975 I mean Chris how are you and today I’m gonna lend a hand with the ongoing cleanup operation I must say I’m a little nervous oh what’s this yeah bump crater that’s a bomb crater yeah yeah big bar about the bum final wreck tip out huge Wow yeah you sure there’s not another bomb yeah this is all clear yeah you promised me yeah why don’t I trust you yeah

clearing thousands of unexploded bombs is a slow and dangerous process but vital in this densely populated country so where we are now this is safe clear yeah and that’s a hundred percent safe yeah okay but over there is unclear that’s life yeah yeah you can see them our our team to clear the land the first we use the last loop machine you have to fight the the signal when they defy signal they go to the red Chango yeah let’s try to the marker yeah yeah yeah and then the other person used the the volume detector I didn’t know I was signing up for this you can do one one one one hand one hand yeah yeah yeah you can I don’t like this yeah no this is quite just over I don’t yeah I’m not enjoying this at all so if I what’s that that’s the war that was sometimes man yeah oh it’s really okay can we get out of here yeah we confirmed the risk metal down there yeah we get the hell out of the way yeah as soon as possible come on me yeah let’s go back yeah and then your guys would then come in they were definite it yeah yes so the series got marked off yeah yes it’s a live bomb yeah you know look this thing we saw you at USL item is the mortar one mortar and one grenade forty millimeter yeah and this is typical sort of thing you’ve been finding all the Sun yeah all the time when we count ten to one you put it’s not love chillip rostov yes look expecting the explosion and inspect that almighty and this one profits alone they’re finding 40 or 50 of those a day even now that’s terrifying so once you’ve cleared it yeah it’s safe yeah then the locals can come back and start using the lands yeah yeah the local people feel safe and then they blend rice and three today they’ve cleared 28 square miles of this region they have many many more to clear back at the station once again on board in the reunification Express tonight it’s the sleeper car for me thank you oh it’s alright minibar or my comms actually there’s no me bar there are no mod cons but there’s a sort of soft ish sort of mattress on it below and stuff so eight hours before daylight get me kid up and go to bed and you’re cheap no go away good night Vietnam tomorrow I’ve got one of the seven wonders of the railway world to look forward to it’s the final day of my thousand mile trek across Vietnam I’ve taken the overnight sleeper up to tan hua where I’m getting off to look at a very special bridge before finishing my journey in Hanoi Oh a little bit drug and now my way to a place that embodies more about any other why America just could not win to Vietnam hello now this may look like a pretty ordinary bridge but I can assure you it is not for a crucial period in the war the dragon’s jaw bridge was indestructible much to the Americans frustration railway bridges are always an important target if you can destroy a bridge the enemy can’t use it and it’s much harder to rebuild the whole bridge than just a length of track but this was number one target for the Americans because the Communists we use in this bridge as a

key point for sending supplies to their Vietcong guerillas who were fighting down in the south the North Vietnamese set up anti-aircraft guns around the bridge and the American onslaught began 79 planes were sent and the bridge was hit 1200 times 1200 hits and yet the enemy just patched it up and the trains just kept on running the sheer depth and scale of this crater gives you an idea just how large the bombs must have been that the Americans were dropping when the air attacks failed the Americans came up with a Vietnam War equivalent of the dam Busters bouncing bomb a 5,000 pound floating mine with a magnetic detonator that will be triggered when the bomb floated under the bridge a low-flying Hercules would have come in low well under the radar dropped its bombs up there they were then a floated all the way down here from maybe quarter of an hour 20 minutes until they were right under the bridge five bombs were dropped and hit the target just under here where I’m standing four out of the five mines exploded so surely that was finally the end of it but no the bridge stayed standing the next night there was another raid but the Hercules on a low-level run-in was hit and crashed here and all of the crew were killed it was another six years before the Dragons jaw bridge was finally broken in April 1972 it was hit and finally destroyed but one of the first ever laser-guided smart bombs but by then the Americans were already starting to pull out and it was really much too late so this is the replacement for that original bridge and it’s an emblem of everything about the Vietnam War the Americans desire to bomb the north into oblivion and the Communists incredible desire to survive and in many ways both countries lost so much three million died and in the end for what the fear of a Red Planet time to move on in 1975 the Communists took Saigon and peace was finally restored North and South Vietnam ceased to exist once Vietnam became a country again and bridges like the dragon’s jaw were quickly rebuilt the whole war-torn line was restored just one year later the railway reopened and was declared the reunification line as a symbol of national unity it’s taken its time but this train has given me a memorable journey we’re very nearly coming into hanoi jump off one stop early to go and see what some train enthusiasts tell me is the seventh wonder of the railway world is it a bridge is it a station no it’s sad this I tell her what its real name is but for fairly obvious reasons everybody calls this train Street the railway lines were built first and then the company built houses for the railway workers to live in but why didn’t they build the houses just that little bit farther away from the tracks to find out how the residents code I’m talking to this guy who lives at number 24 hello I’m Chris so when you first came here you’re so close to the Royals we we frightened of being this close to the railway for yourself and your family window will you now know when it becomes a nigga would you have preferred it if you lived a bit farther away from the from the track tomatoes tongue a with meat or an acquaintance Oh your naquin sanguine Cato come come with you in academia can just check the official timetable here it is butts of this the real Bluto see Hanoi to Ho Chi Minh City these are the once and then Ho Chi Minh City to Hanoi but the less whom that there’s a train in about triple minutes so we’ll go and watch them prepare I still can’t quite get my head run this but this is the main line into Hanoi and some are they will have to stop all this traffic in a couple of minutes time 15 times a day using the car key fob the trained staff duyst’s mcdead as they close the barriers across the road so this is the control tower you just seem

to press a little button what they have to do is make sure all the traffic stops and as you can see this is still coming what I’d like to do now is get myself in the position that it would be like if you lived in one of these houses right by the rail I stand here stand here if she’s saying mind out there’s a train coming that lady I know that that is probably close oh I was just using your front garden to hide from the Train so back on the train up to Train Street the final leg to Hanoi let’s get dark very early this Tommy it crawling to the finish line and we’re here so this is annoying I’ve always wanted to come here fantastic this is the capital city now for a population of over 92 million people just about every single one of whom seems to be on this road this evening I’ve traveled over a thousand miles on the reunification express there’s a misnomer of ever IO when the word Express I’ve seen no sign of a north/south divide now of course I’m not going to claim that a train was unified a huge nation but it is a symbol of a modern forward-thinking Vietnam taxi okay promise to Carl this time hey wait a minute he done this we’ve done this