After the excitement of crossing the Gokteik Bridge there really wasn’t much to do but enjoy the bumpy ride to Hsipaw. Unfortunately because we were running behind schedule no body knew the exact time we would arrive so the rest of the journey dragged on endlessly. With nothing much to do except stare out the window (my iPad died!) the train ride was a bit of a bore. The scenery is quite nice but it wasn’t as interesting as our last train ride.
Then all of a sudden we came to a stand still. As we leaned out the windows we couldn’t see what the hold up was. We feared the worst since our last train ride from Yangon to Bagan ended up with a 6 hour delay because of a toppled over train in front of us, but at least it was in the middle of the night and it allowed us to get some sleep on what could only be described as a train ride similar to a roller coaster in which sleep was near impossible, so a delay was quite welcomed. However today we were stuck in the middle of nowhere and we were running out of refreshments!
Another peer out of the window and I could see men wandering around outside the train, they seemed to of appeared out of no where. Curiosity got the best of us and we set out to explore what the problem was.
Now I am absolutely terrified of disembarking a train that hasn’t scheduled its stop. I fear the train will pull away and I will be running behind it but Leo had no problem jumping off the train (there were no doors to keep people in) and wandering around outside.
Having lived and worked in London and experienced long train commutes I am more than used to train delays and being stuck on trains, often with nothing my angry birds to keep me amused. Excuses normally consist of signal failures, overrunning engineer works or power cuts, but this delay was a bit unique…
Can you guess what they are doing? Yes that’s right they are replacing the wooden sleepers under the train track with cement ones. One by one.
Once they had replaced a couple the train pulled forward a couple of inches creeping over the freshly laid slabs of concrete slowly since they appeared not to be screwed into place. Inch by Inch, sleeper by sleeper our train inched forward and this continued for around an hour, until we finally crawled over the last loose sleeper and were back on our way to Hsipaw.
I’m pretty thankful National Rail works overnight now, and they can wake me up drilling and replacing the track any time they want!
We didn’t arrive in Hsipaw until just before sunset, so our ideas of walking up to sunset hills had been blown away, and instead we set about settling into our new home for 2 days Mr Charles Guesthouse, highly recommended on TripAdvisor!