Rangoon - Mawlamyine Train question
Replies: 12 - Last Post: Dec 22, 2012 5:25 AM Last Post By: Man_in_Seat_61
Dec 19, 2012 8:41 AM
Rangoon - Mawlamyine Train questionI'm planning to take the Rangoon - Mawlamyine train and have received conflicting information regarding times. Seat61 says that there is a train leaving Rangoon at 9pm. Other sources just mention the two early morning trains.
Does anyone know if the 9pm train exists?
Dec 19, 2012 8:53 AM
1I have done both
Earliest train 6:30am is best as Chinese and in ord class $6 US you can even get a seat lol. next is 7:30 am train old local carriages jam packed. so get your ticket evening before other side of railway station entrance hole in the wall opposite cinema and Centra Hotel Ticket office for foreigners. both arrive late afternoon and Mobo ride $1 to Breeze Hotel
Dec 19, 2012 9:52 AM
2An account of the train Moulmein to Rangoon (sorry photos don't repro on TT): To the train station where a man helps us find our (upper class) car and seats. One seat is stuck in the reclining position and trays (made of pink 1/4 inch steel mounted on green 1/2" pipes) won't stay up. People getting on, getting settled, milling around, buying things from the vendors outside the windows. I hang out on the platform, train brakes going shhhhh and whistle blowing and I get back on the train. Whistle blows and slowly, slowly we pull out of the station on the high track so we're looking straight at or down on the palms. Back up on the ridge that runs through this town golden pagodas shining in the early morning sun. Clack - clack, clack - clack across a long bridge across the Thanlwin river ... Photo: waving by by
Past misty mountains to the east, hooches below, like Vietnam in the 1960s. Electric wires running alongside the tracks, but not to the hooches. Little girl sitting in a doorway, unsmiling, watching the train rolling on by. Children running up paths to wave at the train ("Someday, I'll be on that train," I think they're saying to themselves.).
When David was little, back when the Sante Fe train ran on the Santa Fe tracks near our home we would hear the whistle blow and run jump into the car and race to the tracks to stand there waving at the engineer (Once one of the engineers threw a bottle of water to us and said "Hello little boy" - David told Leslie the man said "Hello little bow.") and then watching the freight cars go by, one after another. Often David and I would go early early Saturday or Sunday morning to the train yard sitting in the truck, watching the men work. My grandfather was a railroad man. He was killed in a switchyard accident in Cleburne - crushed between two cars - when my mother was 2. My grandmother raised my Mom and her sister, Eloise working as secretary of First Baptist Church in Cleburne ... on a hill, far away ... Heavy work around the house was done by "Old Black Jim." I remember him standing out by her tumble down garage, smelling pretty strong - a good smell to me.
I remember going out to the edge of town to visit Jake and Ella King in their little wood house where I played under the porch. I don't remember much about Jake, but I remember Ella was beautiful and had lovely dark skin. They were really old. They had been slaves when they were young and picked cotton since then. When they died, my Mom inherited 4 hand-painted plates and a camphor bottle, all of which we have, except I gave one plate to Rosie Taylor (fairly heavy karma holding on to those plates).
It's raining now and we're passing through padi fields where everyone keeps on working in the rain - seining (for the little crustaceans that live in the padi), plowing, planting, herding ducks/cows/goats - some people with blue plastic over their shoulders and some, like the men plowing, not stopping to put the plastic over themselves. Photo:taken from the train
The rain passes and the windows go back up - despite the fact that there is aircon on the car. Children standing beside the track, waving - out here in the country clothes tattered, mostly, children barefoot, mostly - solemn faces with yellow on cheeks, forehead. Huge clumps of thick bamboo, then endless padi fields. Rubber trees, row upon row upon row (I was in a firefight among rubber trees once). Here comes a little boy pounding up the path toward the train with a baby on his back waving, waving waving. Water buffalo wallowing in the muddy water and we've passed 50-60 misty mountains (these mist-covered mountains ... baptisms of fire). Girl in the seat in front of me asleep, long black hair misting over her brown skin arm.
What is a hooch? It's a house with walls made of thatch or plaited bamboo. Maybe it has a dirt floor or maybe a platform made of split bamboo. If the latter, probably pigs or chickens living underneath. Out here, near the track, these seem about evenly divided.
Passing through undeveloped watery countryside now. I'll bet there are some big cobras here (Did you know they are at home in the water and dry land?).
Now a forested area, more houses. Look, a pony! Another one!
Some kind of brick structure, left over from the British Empire, crumbling, mossy, deserted. A woman walks through our car wearing a sarong exactly like the one hanging over the window in our front room at home. The train has never picked up any speed, still clack - clacking along.
10:45am - a brief stop. Right outside our window they have rice wrapped in a banana leaf and newspapers. When people order food the vendors unwrap the bundle and add your choice of curry (several kinds available), boiled egg, onion, chilis, different vegetables, whole fried fish (not like Long John Silver, no), then wrap it back up. There is a dog asleep under the table. By the time you get it, at least 3 people have had a hand in it - at this stage - don't know about earlier.
CK: "May I have a stick of gum?" LK: "Yes, but you can't have a whole stick."
Periodically the tray (the 1/4" steel one) falls - Bong - on my knee. I have to remember to keep my knees up. Leslie's bag is invaded by about a billion ants - that's an exaggeration - it's really only about a million. Boys playing soccer in a very muddy field (about 1/4 of the field is a giant mud puddle). One of the boys falls on his back and slides 4-5 feet, laughing, so of course, another one takes a dive, too.
We're getting close to Rangoon (or Yangon, as it's called now - colonialist that I am, I prefer Rangoon). Girl in the seat in front of me combs her long black fair, puts lipstick on, and freshens her thanaka.
167 miles in just under 10 hours. It was hot all the way except during the rain. A wonderful trip.
Edited by: Hank - I heard than lonesome whistle blow - Williams
Dec 19, 2012 10:09 AM
Any those photos available to see, do you have a flickr account?
Dec 19, 2012 10:22 AM
Dec 19, 2012 10:47 AM
Dec 19, 2012 8:20 PM
6I prefer Day Trains in Burma. Given the fact that they're not the most comfortable, it's nice to see the countryside in day. I've only taken the 6:30 AM to Mawlamyine. Great ride , gets there at glorious Sunset. Beautiful.
Dec 20, 2012 12:20 AM
7If you head out from Yangon to Moulmein, note when they add an empty flat bed carriage in front of engine, This is against railway rules world wide, so an expert told me, but the reason they do it is in case insurrectionists lay explosives on the track to blow the train up ha! Ha! (it has happened apparently) this way they blow up a flat bed railway carriage and not the valuable engine.
Dec 21, 2012 7:05 AM
Dec 21, 2012 7:34 AM
Dec 21, 2012 7:40 AM
10If you're looking for wisdom here, you're kind of like the C&W singer who was "looking for love in all the wrong places."
On the other hand, there is some wisdom in this: You're going to Burma where plans and schedules don't mean much.
Dec 21, 2012 8:47 AM
Dec 22, 2012 5:25 AM
12I updated www.seat61.com/Burma.htm just a day or two ago, based on photos of the departure boards at Rangoon sent to me this week. So it should be accurate! But the day train is a nice run, sleeping in a seat with no scenery to see is an experience but not my first choice.
Yangon (Rangoon)Book now
Yangon (Rangoon)Book now