Trains in trouble

June 27, 2017 by  
Filed under News, Vietnam

HANOI, 27 June 2017: Built by the French to fix trains for their fast-developing Vietnamese colony, the Gia Lam factory later churned out weapons to fuel the country’s independence fight, and then survived the onslaught of American bombers during the war.

But the storied Hanoi plant is now in decline, a victim of the rising consumer power of Vietnam’s middle classes as passengers turn from trains to planes.

“In the past, I was proud to work here because this factory was the biggest in Indochina,” repairman Au Duy Hien told AFP. Read more

Belmond booking office in Manila

June 7, 2017 by  
Filed under News, Philippines, tour operators

MANILA, 7 June 2017: Luxury travel specialist, Belmond, has opened a new central reservations office in Manila, in a move to improve customer service in the Asia-Pacific region.

Belmond consultants will be based in Manila to arrange  travel to destinations in Myanmar, Peru, Africa and Italy, spanning the company’s portfolio of trains, river cruises, heritage hotels and safari lodges.

New toll-free telephone numbers have opened for 12 countries. Read more

Ghost trains serve Berlin airport

June 7, 2017 by  
Filed under Aviation, EUROPE, News

BERLIN, 7 June 2017: Lufthansa had its planes ready and German Chancellor Angela Merkel was lined up for the ribbon-cutting ceremony — all was in place for the opening of Berlin’s state-of-the-art airport 3 June, 2012.

Except the airport itself.

Five years on, BER airport remains unfinished, shuttered and a byword for fiasco in a country usually better known for its engineering prowess and obsession with punctuality. Read more

India’s trains go up-market

May 26, 2017 by  
Filed under News, South Asia, Transport

MUMBAI, 26 May 2017: India’s passenger trains are notorious for being rickety and spartan, but the government is hoping to change all that with a new “luxury” service.

The popular image of rail travel in the country of 1.2 billion people is of hundreds of people crammed into carriages, perching on roofs and hanging off the sides.

But with its reclining seats and “in-rail” entertainment featuring Bollywood movies, the Tejas Express may be getting the country on a different track. Read more

Spider project told to speed up

May 23, 2017 by  
Filed under News, Thailand

BANGKOK, 23 May 2017: The day when Bangkok visitors can use one smartcard for all public transport in the Thai capital draws closer following a prod from Thailand’s Ministry of Transport.

October is now the target deadline to issue the first smartcard applicable  for all available train systems including the Airport Express.

The ministry called on the Transport and Traffic Policy and Planning Office to speed up the issuance of the so-called “spider” ticket project that is supposed to allow Bangkok commuters to travel by electric train, bus and boat using just one smart card. Read more

MP forced to take the train

April 7, 2017 by  
Filed under Indonesia, News, South Asia

NEW DELHI, 7 April 2017: An Indian politician who attacked a flight steward after being refused a business class seat caused uproar in parliament Thursday by demanding his ban on air travel be overturned.

Ravindra Gaikwad made national headlines after footage emerged in March of the Shiv Sena politician repeatedly striking a steward with his sandal aboard an Air India flight.

He has admitted whacking the 60-year-old steward roughly two dozen times during the altercation over seating on a flight from Pune to New Delhi. Read more

Mourners flock to Bangkok

October 18, 2016 by  
Filed under News, Thailand

SONGKHLA, 18 October 2016 (NNT): A large number of people travelled on southern train routes to arrive in Bangkok and sign the book of condolence at Sala Sahathai Samakhom Pavilion in the Grand Palace for the Late His Majesty King Bhumibol Adulyadej the Great.

Hat Yai Railway Station has been crowded with passengers travelling to the capital, with many people queuing up before opening hours to make bookings and receive free train tickets.

Bangkok-bound passengers hope to sign the condolence book at Sala Sahathai Samakhom Pavilion in the Grand Palace to express their loyalty and grief. Read more

Europe convenes talks on train security

August 27, 2015 by  
Filed under EUROPE, News

PARIS, 27 August 2015: Interior and transport ministers from countries neighbouring France are to hold talks in Paris Saturday to discuss security measures following last week’s attack on a high-speed train that was foiled by passengers.

The meeting “will… look at very concrete proposals,” French Interior Minister Bernard Cazeneuve said, just hours after a Moroccan gunman was charged over the attack.

Thousands of international tourists use European trains daily buying month-long rail passes to connect their multi-destination tours that usually take in visits to France, Germany, Italy and Switzerland.

Read more

E&O train troubles

February 4, 2015 by  
Filed under News, Thailand

BANGKOK, 4 February 2015: A fire that broke out on a luxury tourist train in Thailand, Sunday, could add to Eastern & Oriental’s difficulties in selling the Singapore to Bangkok tour, as travellers question the safety of  Thai trains.

It is the second accident involving an E&O train. In July 2014, the train derailed at Ratchaburi province, on the same southern line causing the company to cancel a couple of train departures. Two passengers were injured in that derailment.

On Sunday the train was heading from Kanchanaburi, the site of the World War II movie, Bridge on the River Kwai, when fire broke out in the State Railway of Thailand locomotive hired to pull the luxury train.

Read more