Dalat Railway Station

Plans to build the Da Lat Railway Station were laid tabled at the turn of 20th century but construction did not commence until 1932.
Dalat Railway Station was one of the finest feats of colonial engineering in Vietnam.

Dalat Railway Station

In the early 20th century, Paul Doumer, the French Governor-General of Indochina from 1897 to 1902, approved the construction of a railway line from Thap Cham in Ninh Thuan province to Da Lat at a cost of 200 million franc.
The colonialists hired Swedish engineers for the job, who had experience at building zigzag railways for use on steep slopes. Although the initial survey was conducted in 1898, construction of the first phase running from Thap Cham to Song Pha, just 38 kilometres, only commenced in 1908 and took seven years to be completed.

Dalat Railway Station
During the second phase the railway line was laid down from Song Pha to Eo Gio, just 10km as the crow flies, but it had to run over the vast Ngoan Muc pass. Work on the railway from Thap Cham to Da Lat continued until 1932. The last stretch was said to be the hardest as it traversed the Lam Vien Plateau, 1,500m above sea level. The construction of Da Lat Railway Station was subsequently completed in 1938. The railway station was among the first colonial-style edifices to be built in the area.

Dalat Railway Station
It is a stunning piece of architecture, and the largely French style is complemented by architectural gestures towards the cottage style of ethnic minorities from the Central Highlands. Right in the middle if its façade three high, pointed roofs cut a striking shape against the sky. Under the central roof sits a large clock, which has been restored in recent times. The front of the building features a porte-cochere, supported by two rows of columns, twelve in each row.

The station has been recognized as a national cultural site and is very much a symbol of French Indochina. Today the only train trip you can take is the relatively short 7km tour that circumnavigates Da Lat, but the views from the train will help give you a sense of what the engineers achieved.

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