Life Along Railway


The railway system from Hanoi and Long Bien stations to other northern provinces developed by the French in the 20th century century have now blended into many residential areas. Life along railway still continues day by day.

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How about life on railway during the war time?

During the war time, all types of the transportation were continually destroyed by the bombing scatters in Hanoi as well as the whole North, which were, however, immediately repaired. Hanoi still remained intact despite bombings of the USA air force. Although widespread destruction occurred after the massive attacks, Hanoian had been evacuated and factories had been dismantled and reassembled in forested and rural areas.

life along railway

Long Bien Bridge on 1965

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The modern life along railway

People are still living along the railway despite the trains passing on their door steps everyday because it is their part of their livelihood and daily habit.

Built in the 70s, the “railroad” neighborhood was the residence of poor class that was railway worker. Nowadays, in order to get more space for accommodation of a multi-generational home, each families expand their houses largest as much as possible. Therefore, the safety corridor is gradually narrow.  It is used for clothes hanging, cooking, parking, bonsai or organic vegetables planting. People carry their stuffs back into the houses if they see a train coming. This is a familiar scene at the so-called railroad hamlet in Phung Hung Street, Hanoi.

life along railway

A daily afternoon on “railway” street

The children, being used to the sound of the running trains, may recognize them even before becoming adults. As time passes by, the inhabitants spend a peaceful life along the way. Some left their huts for rent with rather cheap prices. The railroad neighborhood is an ideal place for workers, students, and especially scrap dealers to accommodate. The local resident is used to the small house and the noisy life do not want to change.

Behind the glamorous urban life in Hanoi is a different life of workers and migrants.