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[Photos] On the North-South Railway, Open Windows Frame Portraits of Everyday Life

Traveling on the Reunification Express from Saigon to Hanoi feels like a ride through history and time.

The route provides the best way for one to experience the rich and diverse culture Vietnam has to offer all across the country. I wanted to illustrate this diversity through a collection of pictures taken ‘through the window’ of the Reunification Express.

Railway history in Vietnam is intimately linked to the French colonial era. The Hanoi–Saigon line, completed in 1936 and initially bearing the name Transindochinese, enabled a connection with southern China at the time. Severely damaged during the Indochina War and separated into two sections in 1954, the historic railway rose from its ashes after 1975.

Considered an important development tool for the country, the Hanoi–Saigon line quickly became a symbol of reunification but also of Vietnam’s growth. The country has turned the page of a tormented past to embark on a time that is full of life, paradoxes and secrets which a long journey on the rails presents to patient and curious travelers.

So, ready for boarding? And don’t forget, ‘its about the journey not the destination.’