Introduction

I am Robert von Hirschhorn a Dutch writer and rail enthusiast living in Southeast-Asia ore more precise: Chiang Mai – Thailand. About rail and rail related things ‘Asia from the train’ shall take action on a literary manner. The permanent way from another perspective and not only the scholarly approach though one becomes one after so long being dedicated to the subject. It’s not only extolling the venture nor will it be railway business as usual. To a great extent it will be poetic prose except for a few critical remarks her and there, a philosophical thought perhaps and weeping about a certain loss. As a starter a revised story I published before on the site: www.2bangkok.com with the name: ‘Northern Miscellaneous’. For the time being only the part: ‘The turntable tales’ a dreamy description of the first miles along the Northern Line of the State Railways of Thailand. A perfect exercise to tune this blog and gave it a solid base for elaboration on a theme. The horizon and always eager to know what’s hidden behind.
All other tales will be named Thailand from the train or after any other country. Bangkok and the rails are stories about the Big Mango as the city likes to advertise with. Venice of the East is another name whereupon her history is based. Later on there’ll be a feature called: Pictures of a postcard and this means from all over the world with a personal story.
The strange effect of seeing rail and suddenly another dimension occurs, something inside starts itching and feelings running high. Hobbies but there are moments it’s going far beyond. Although I perfectly understand someone’s drive, I won’t do any loco spotting though a number once a while will be given. It’s the tale along the trail and all the treasures aside. It’s me and whom it’s not enough; the train is always waiting for a ride.

All on board the train is leaving
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4 Responses to Introduction

  1. Mike says:

    I loved your (new?) website & absolutely share your views and love of railways, especially here in Thailand, where I have a home & Thai wife in Khon Kaen. I am British although I have lived in France, teaching English, the past 20 years & still have a home there too. I began casually photographing old steam locomotives, interesting stations, like Hua Hin, a couple of years ago, whilst on our holiday travels. However, as my interest grew, this has now become a serious quest to find, photograph & verify (where possible) all of Thailand’s last remaining steam locos, many of which are being left to rust away to dereliction. I’ve just returned from Northern Thailand where we were taking a short 4 day holiday with members of my wife’s family (all 18 of us !), including Chiang Mai, where we camped out on New Year’s Eve at the San Kamphaeng hot springs resort (very crowded & total chaos – but great fun !). In spite of the family commitments, I still managed to find another 10 steam locos + the 2 Diema diesel locos at Ko Kha sugar factory that you mention in one of your past articles. This takes my tally to 59, but sadly also 12 locos “lost”, as they are no longer where last reported – including No744 on the road to Mae Jo from Chiang Mai ! In fact December’s issue of Chiang Mai City Life published my letter seeking information about this loco, plus 3 others & so I was delighted to see you own article, with photos of the same loco, way back in 1992. Another of your photos of the Japanese Kyosan Kogyo loco No.31, that used to stand proudly plinthed & in beautiful condition by Chiang Mai station in 1969, now sits neglected & rusting away in an open wagon on the sidings at Makkasan depot in Bangkok. Interestingly, it’s sister loco No.32 was featured on the 3 Baht stamp of a special railway series, issued in 1990 & is now preserved at Hat Yai Junction.
    My quest has raised many mysteries & unanswered questions about the whereabouts or fate of so many of these locos, that I am seeking help from railfans all over the world, who – like you – know something that I don’t, which is nowhere to be found on the Internet (yet). I was therefore very happy & most interested to read your artice on this loco and I hope that we can keep in touch – please email me anytime, although I will be returning to a very chilly France on 23 January.

    Best regards & A HAPPY NEW YEAR !

    Mike Pass in Khon Kaen

  2. Shame on me, I just found out about your comment on my introduction. Once in a while I’ll go through all the written things and check if there are any mistakes, omissions or other mishaps and adjust it. A blog should be a living thing and not a graveyard of letters. However, meanwhile we contact and even meet each other so…

  3. I like the things you write about Malaysian Railway and Sabah Railway. I think you should revisit these places and see the changes it has gone through now. It willbe interesting to have pictures at same spot or place with different looks now….you will be amazed how much development has been done….cheers

    • Yes, I am fully aware that most is written from a historical view, and yes I like to go again one day. What I read in the media things are changed for sure but it’s always nice to see such with your own eyes, the same applies for the KTMB which I discovered in the eighties too though more extensive than Sabah. Fore most I am glad the railways got a new life, especially the JKNS, closure in the eighties and by that time in a state of desperation could have been a solution, the decision was made different. For God’s sake or as the people in Thailand say: for Buddha. Unfortunate their railway system didn’t got the attention it needed. Thank you for your comment.

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