We took JD on his first train journey today. The narrow gauge track sees only one train a day, making a 50 minute run to the outskirts of the city before decoupling the engine from the front, re-attaching it to the back and making the return trip. As usual there were more workers than passengers on board and the dozen or so people taking the ride were all parents with small children or train-spotters.
It would be nice to report that JD was rivetted by all this locomotive action but, if I'm honest, after ten minutes or so he found the water bottles far more interesting and preferred running up and down the carriage with the other toddlers to any of the window views! The most fun part of the trip is actually watching all the traffic that gets stopped to let our honking train cross various roads. Some onlookers even managed to exchange friendly waves.
The station master was really friendly and said that the railway was built by the French about 100 years ago. From the look of the station's instrumentation [see below] I wouldn't imagine that's right! It's hard to see how it can survive much longer though with Kunming's subway system starting to come online, and the cost of a return ticket for our journey being only 2RMB (20p). They must make a huge loss on running the service, so I think we've been wise to jump aboard when we have, before it gets cancelled for good. And, now that we know the time of the train, we may just make the trip again someday soon.
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