Turntable tales Nº 9

‘Ten stone on the scales’

Not far from the Lamphun station a big bridge arises above muddy waters. Three frames, a majestic view in the countryside. Before any road was built, a narrow faulty footpath even used by motorcyclist, formed the only connection for the inhabitants from the other side. Worn-out sleepers as pavement with gaps in between where Mother Nature let the wood fall apart. An extra ordinary event to come across let alone by motorbike.
Down there’s a promenade along the waterside, rambler’s path, and needy in line seats with a triangle shaped roof. A kitschy design for the ones who fall in love and feel cozy after dark, because in their cramped homes there’s hardly any room for privacy. Birds of one kind live together side by side, if the money fails to build a bigger nest. Where the line almost crosses an intersection with highway 11, the railway biggest competitor in terms of transportation, goods and persons alike, a huge agricultural complex – big silos – gives it all an urban sphere though Lamphun itself is not near.
Near by while passing I always look at the platform remains of Doi Ti, a long closed station. A diesel railcar passes the spot with the throttle full open and full speed, just for a few more minutes. Although the choke remains open, speed reduces; the first hills are noticeable. From hereon mile after mile the train will climb and descend, it’s not before Sila At everything will be flat again, apart from a few miles before and after Nakhon Lampang.

Nong Lom – km 713 + 18 meter and 16.195 from Lamphun – two tracks and semaphore. This is a station hard to find others than by train. Somewhere hidden behind a temple and almost nothing else, so the only passengers might be monks.
A doubtful question, the station is there for safety reasons, the good old block and token system is still in use. The stationmaster is a friendly elderly man with a lot of stars on his uniform. It must be the job of a life time stationed here. What else you can do than polish your car and wait, wait until another train goes by.

The next halt is Sala Maetha – km 700 + 665 meter and 12.331 from Non Lom – three tracks, classic signals. The only thing particular is another weighing machine but this time made in the Netherlands: ‘Molenschot & Son Breda – Holland’.
Dutch glory and going Dutch, I think the Thai have paid for it. Anyway, one can wonder how a device likes this end up here in the first place. It is a nice souvenir in Railway wonderland. I should have stepped on it to see if I had gain some weight and receiving a Dutch treat on a Thai station, a station in what seems to be a hidden corner of the North. Nothing particular here even the daily necessities have to be bought elsewhere. Well, auntie’s Thai not out of fashion shop is still there with a lot of dusted products one would not have unless you’re starving. Another form of entertainment is highway number eleven where car, bus and trucks rolling off and on. Road and rail will cross each other unleveled and becomes the alignment complete different. A steep slope though not the same, awaits both of them.

Weigh one's words

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About Robert von Hirschhorn

Author / Performer or in Dutch: schrijver / dichter
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