Steam trains clickety-clack for tourism

DANANG, Vietnam, 27 May 2024: Indochina Rail Tourist Service and Wafaifo Optimisers have signed a management agreement for Wafaifo Optimisers to manage the Revolution Express steam train, a new tourist experience in central Vietnam. 

The trains will chug along the track from Danang to Hue starting during the last quarter of 2024 or early 2025.

The Revolution Express will traverse the train line along coastal mountains [pictured] adjacent to the Hai Van Pass in central Vietnam twice a day.

Two original steam locomotives from the 1960s have been restored to working condition. The locomotives will pull two fully appointed retro-styled carriages that can seat up to 57 passengers each, a custom-made kitchen carriage, and a baggage carriage.

The locomotives date from the pre-independence era and were built locally in Vietnam based on the French Mikado design. Vietnam Railways’ few remaining steam engineers have painstakingly restored them using original parts.

The Revolution Express will make a daily return trip between Danang City and the former royal capital of Hue. Each journey will traverse the scenically remarkable Hai Van coastal mountain range and stop at Lang Co, adjacent to a beautiful lagoon and beach.

Indochina Rail and Wafaifo Optimisers signed the partnership agreement on 20 May in Danang in central Vietnam. Indochina Rail’s Chairman Michael Gebbie and Wafaifo Optimisers’ Managing Director, Pieter van der Hoeven, and Commercial Director, Mikkel Krantz, represented the two parties. 

Highlights of the trip will include themed dining at the three railway stations on the route: Kim Lien (Danang), Lang Co, and Hue. Each station will have its own menus and entertainment schedules for guests arriving on the Revolution Express.

The train stations will feature restaurants and retail outlets and are designed to attract other VNR (Vietnam National Rail) passengers travelling between Danang, Lang Co, and Hue.

In Hue, the original train maintenance building is being refurbished as the Station Restaurant. The venue will have an imperial-era ambience that reflects the history of Hue, the last bastion of the dynastic era in Vietnam.

In Lang Co, the restaurant will be themed to mark the independence that Vietnam enjoys today. In addition to a full restaurant, food carts will be on the station platform, offering homemade ice cream, freshly squeezed fruit juices, Vietnamese coffee, and newly pressed sugar cane. Regular VNR-run trains all stop at Lang Co station for passenger refreshments. 

Plans for the third restaurant at the station on the outskirts of Danang have yet to be developed. One option is to adopt a design theme, which could have a colonial connotation.

Wafaifo Optimisers will market, book, and cater for the Revolution Express and its stations. In the third quarter of this year, the company will also open its urban resort in the heritage city of Hoi An.

The provisional schedule for the Revolution Express is:
0900 depart Kim Lien Station Danang going north via the Hai Van pass.
1015 arrive at Lang Co station. (Guests can disembark or board the Revolution Express here).
1130 depart Lang Co for Hue Station.
1300 arrive Hue Station.
1400 depart Hue Station.
1530 arrive Lang Co Station.
1630 depart Lang Co Station.
1745 arrive Kim Lien Station in Danang.


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