The Dalat Railway Station, inaugurated in 1938, has always been associated with the heyday of the Thap Cham- Dalat cog railway route.

This age-old edifice has been recognized as a national relic since 2001.

The Dalat-Trai Mat route, which is better known as the Dalat Plateau Rail Road service and has been offered since 1991, begins with the train passing under the bridge on Tran Quy Cap street before winding through the lush hills of Chi Lang and Sao Nam.

The Dalat-Trai Mat rail section is the last level at a height of 1,500 m on which the ‘mountain scaling’ cog-wheel trains of the past departing from Ninh Thuan province’s Phan Rang town had to pass to reach Dalat.

The most striking change on this route since the trains first began running is the area’s rapid agricultural development. Forested valleys of the past along the line are now densely packed with lush vegetable fields and flower-growing green houses.

At the Trai Mat station, the train stops for around 30 minutes so that tourists can take a leisurely stroll around local houses, hang around the local market or pay a visit to the Linh Phuoc pagoda nearby.

After the train’s locomotive is changed, it rumbles lazily down the same track on the way back to the Dalat rail station, where an age-old, unused steam locomotive sits.

Taking this route is a way to relish the train-taking experience of 100 years ago and to be reminded of a VND 5,000 billion (US$243 mil) project which was planned in 2007 to renovate the Dalat- Thap Cham cog rail route but has fallen into oblivion since.

Tuoi Tre News - March 26, 2013