I almost forgot about the Frog in the Pot! While I was eating dinner in the Farm House the other evening I happened to glance at the vase next to me. Then this little glistening, golden head with big eyes appeared above the rim and looked at me for a while and then slowly sank back into the water. I have no idea how he got there but I just had time to take a quick snap. The next day he was gone so obviously just a night-stop!
The State Railway of Thailand (SRT) started services from Bangkok around 1907. With the completion of the Khun Tan Tunnel in 1918 by German engineers (some of whom were interned during the First World War and it is said that about 12 Laotian workers were killed by Tigers whilst building it!). The first train using the extension to Chiang Mai ran in January 1922.
The journey from Uttaradit to Chiang Mai transverses the Khun Tan Mountain Range. The tunnel is the longest and highest in Thailand and this part of the journey from Bangkok is quite spectacular. Chiang Mai Railway Station was destroyed in December 1943 by the Allied bombing of the occupying Japanese forces.
However, maintenance in recent years has been lacking and from January until September 2013 there had been over 27 derailments! Rather than make temporary repairs The SRT suspended services. (from Bangkok terminating at Uttaradit) and is scheduled to reopen from early December.
During this period The SRT has replaced all the old, original sleepers with new concrete ones and have re-laid the tracks.
So a few months back we applied to buy some of the old sleepers not only for historical purposes (there will not be any more!) but for use on the farm as borders.
They are made from Red Wood, 2.5 meters long and weigh 50 Kgs plus! We were allocated 30 sleepers and so last week we sorted out the best we could find amongst hundreds piled high at Chiang Mai Station and it took three trips to take them all up to the farm.
So whenever you visit the farm and see these ‘large pieces of wood’ consider their history and how many thousands of trains, and passengers they have supported over the past 90 years! If only they could talk!
Ethel’s young family have grown into fine little Thai Mountain Pigs! We have found good homes for most of them and those who do not want to leave TDF will stay safe and secure with us on the farm!
Now Ethel can enjoy some quality relaxing time in her sty full of hay for the winter!
P.s. Thanks to Yuhui for the snap!
Map Of Thung Dong Farm
Here’s a map of the farm situated in a valley surrounded by National Park and jungle-clad mountains. Zoom in on the satellite-view to see the farm in more detail; the house and out-buildings, the lakes, the rivers and our own valley that winds its’ way through the jungle.