Friday, December 14, 2007

Folding Trains and Flying Taxis.

Assembling train - 2 mins flat...
Off we go!
The railways of Cambodia is notorious for its unreliability. So what do you do with a proper rail line that is largely unused? (The PP to Battambang train runs once every week only.) The locals got it ingeniously figured out with their own train made out of bamboo. The Bamboo train is the only "folding" train I know. Made of two simple axles, a bamboo structure measuring 4 x 2m and powered by a small generator motor on fan belt. The 8 of us rode on this contraption and were very impressed. Simple, economical and most importantly, very effective. It carried goods, people and the odd cow to the next small town.

But what happens when another bamboo train comes into your path? One minute is all it takes to lift the structure and remove the axles. Simply amazing and this happened to us about 3 times. No fuss or fighting, lots of goodwill and understanding, and everyone seemed happy enough though I could not figure who had to get off the track. The fresh country air does bring the best of people.

Our ride to Phnom Penh were 2 sinister looking dark green 12 year old Toyota Camrys with equally sinister looking drivers. They drove at breakneck speeds with their horns in full use as they weave skillfully through traffic. The 290km was covered in 3.5 hrs - truly a grand finale of our Amazing Race!

1 comment:

ultraman said...

Hi Alvin, your picture is worth a thousand words.
I marvel the ingenuity of this little contraption. Another clear example of 'necessity is the mother of invention.'

okheng