Gokteik Viaduct TripThe Gokteik Viaduct Tour
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The Gokteik Viaduct, Myanmar
The Gokteik viaduct is a magnificent railroad over 100 meters above the surface and almost 700 meters long and was constructed by the British. This is Bob James taking the leap. Between Mandalay and Hsipaw there are definitely quicker ways than by rail. It is not the platoon itself, although colorful, a ruined relict of the fifties.
The Gokteik Viaduct is the main cause why you can travel up to 14 hrs by road in 4.5h. Built in 1901 by colonialists, Gokteik was once the longest railroad frame in the underworld. Near Nawnghkio, about 100 km from Mandalay, the steel viaduct was built by Pennsylvania Steel Co. and shiped over sea, supervised by Sir Arthur Rendel, a Burma Railroad Company engineering.
The 689-metre long viaduct consists of 14 12-metre long spanning spires and a 24-metre long twin-decker. The 15 turrets carry 10 decks trusses with a wingspan of 37 metres, six sheet metal trusses with a wingspan of 18 metres and a start-up margin of 12 metres.
Wells have estimated the level of the viaduct at 250m. Actual level of the gangway, from the railway level to the floor on the lower side of the highest spire, is 102 metres. Arriving and staying at Pyin Oo Lwin, the former UK capitol, or taking the 90 minute Mandalay highway, which cost about 36,000 Kie.
There is probably no bus available when you get to Pyin Oo Lwin.) There is really nothing interesting along the Pyin Oo Lwin to Mandalayrain. Those on budgets or those who really want to become "locals" can stay on the trains for $3 more for the top-classes.
However, if you have not made an advance booking, you can sleep on the road in Mandalay as the trains arrive after noon. Like in many places, railway stops are wonderful places and the railway stop of Hsipaw is no different. It is never on schedule, so you have many opportunities to mix, buy new fruits and observe the population.
However, most travellers sit together in the trains and choose the smooth, adjustable seating of the "Upper Class" cab above the wooden seating of the standard category of livestock wagons for such a long trip. There are also many bus and tram stations - long - where you can get off, eat or drink, shop and mix with the people.
At last you arrive in Gokteik. Swiftly moving across the gangway, perhaps the embodiment of technology when it was made, the platoon is now a fracturing antiquity that only enhances the whitebone sensation. It' a mixture of a high-wire act and the old wood roller coaster on Coney Island.
Locomotive drivers walk as gently as possible to prevent the swinging movement that further damages the gangway and may cause the locomotive to fall into the underlying canal. There is plenty of opportunity to take pictures in the low, high passages and if you make the trip yourself, do not put the body away afterwards.
It is likely that the northern railway will cross immediately afterwards, giving the photographer the opportunity to photograph a railway on the platform. It will take about 25 min. including bus and tram stations.