• Short Summary

    SOUTH VIETNAM'S SMALL AND FRACTURED RAILWAY SYSTEM IS RISING ONCE AGAIN FROM THE ASHES OF WAR.

  • Description

    SOUTH VIETNAM'S SMALL AND FRACTURED RAILWAY SYSTEM IS RISING ONCE AGAIN FROM THE ASHES OF WAR. ONE OF THE BUSIEST LINES IS A COMMUTER RUN NEAR SAIGON, WHERE TRAVELLERS CALL THE TRAIN THE AUSTRALIA EXPRESS.

    THE CARRIAGES ARE AUSTRALIAN-BUILT AND EACH ONE HAS A MAP OF AUSTRALIA INSCRIBED ON THE OUTSIDE. THEY WERE GIVEN TO THE SAIGON GOVERNMENT IN 1964 UNDER THE COLOMBO PLAN AFTER WAR AND MONSOON FLOODS HAD DAMAGED OR DESTROYED THE EXISTING ROLLING STOCK.

    THE DIESEL-DRAWN AUSTRALIA EXPRESS LURCHES THROUGH SEVEN MILES OF FACTORIES, HOUSES, PADDY-FIELDS AND RIVERS. EACH DAY 2,000 PEOPLE -MOSTLY FACTORY WORKERS - USE THE TRAIN.

    ALTHOUGH IT PASSES THROUGH AN AREA REGARDED A SAFE RAILWAY AUTHORITIES TAKE NO CHANCES. TROOPS SEARCH THE CARRIAGES BEFORE EACH JOURNEY AND THEN ESCORT THE TRAIN FOR THE HOUR-LONG RUN.

    ALTHOUGH TRAVELLING IS SLOW, THE PRICE FOR RIDE IS CHEAP - LESS THAN ONE CENT A MILE. THE EXPRESS IS ALMOST ALWAYS ON TIME - WHICH IS UNUSUAL IN A COUNTRY NOT KNOWN FOR ITS SLICK SCHEDULING.

    IS SOME PARTS OF THE COUNTRYSIDE, WAR REFUGEES HAVE ERECTED SHANTIES ON BOTH SIDES OF THE RAILWAY LINES. THESE PEOPLE HAVE GROWN ACCUSTOMED TO HAVING "TRAINS RUNNING THROUGH THE MIDDLE SIDE OF THE HOUSE" TEN TIMES A DAY.

    IN 1954, THE YEAR VIETNAM WAS DIVIDED, THERE WERE 5,000,000 PASSENGERS AND BEFORE THAT, TRAINS RAN FROM SAIGON TO HANOI. BUT WITH THE CONTINUED WAR, TRIPS ARE MUCH SHORTER TODAY. SOME COMMUTERS PASS THE TIME GAMBLING. THE AUSTRALIAN CARRIAGES GIVE THEM GREATER SCOPE AS THEY HAVE MORE ROOM THAN THE WILD ONES.

    RE-BUILDING THE RAILWAYS AND KEEPING THEM RUNNING HAVE COST LIVES. SABOTAGED ENGINES, WAGONS AND CARRIAGES ARE BEING REPAIRED. SO FAR THIS TIME, ONE DIESEL ENGINE HAS BEEN BLOWN-UP EACH MONTH. DURING THE WAR, THE RAILWAYS HAVE LOST 75 MEN KILLED AND MORE THAN 1,100 WOUNDED. TRAIN CREWS HAVE ?? THROUGH AMBUSHES AND EVEN DODGED ARTILLERY SHELLS TRADED ACROSS THE RAILWAY LINE BY THE OPPOSING SIDES.

  • Tags

  • Data

    Film ID:
    VLVADC8SNBCAJ9FZ80MP9YK9XUP5G
    Media URN:
    VLVADC8SNBCAJ9FZ80MP9YK9XUP5G
    Group:
    Reuters - Source to be Verified
    Archive:
    Reuters
    Issue Date:
    12/08/1969
    Sound:
    Unknown
    HD Format:
    Available on request
    Stock:
    Black & White
    Duration:
    00:02:28:00
    Time in/Out:
    /
    Canister:
    N/A

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