Though its days as an important hub of transit are squarely in the past, the Dalat Train Station is still active, welcoming passengers aboard a scenic journey to nearby Tr?i Mát. Even if you’re not taking a ride, it’s worth stopping by the station to check out its art deco architecture, and the classic locomotives in its yard.
The train station was built in 1938, when Dalat was en vogue with the French delegation of Cochinchina as a high-altitude escape from the heat of Vietnam. During the American War, the country’s rail services were discontinued, and the lines which run through Dalat were never re-established.
While walking toward the station, we were under the belief that it was a abandoned relic. So, we were surprised by an old-time wagon rattled past us along the tracks. If you know any photographers, you know that an “old-time wagon rattling along the tracks” is cause for panic. Jürgen fumbled for his camera, knowing it was already too late, and then let out a strange, yelping sigh of despondency as the train rumbled by.
We’d see the train again, minutes later, parked at the station with a few other handsome old wagons. But now, it was difficult to get pictures, because of all the people hanging off them. The station is popular with tourists, mostly Vietnamese, for whom the vestiges of their country’s colonial past provide irresistible selfie opportunities.