Visiting the Gia Lam Train Factory by special train service from Hanoi Station to Gia Lam Station during the Hanoi Creative Design Festival 2023.
Gia Lam Train Factory is the former factory of the Gia Lam Train Company in Hanoi. The factory has since moved, and the site in Gia Lam District remains undeveloped.
The Gia Lam Train Factory was turned into an art space during the Hanoi Creative Design Festival 2023. A special festival train operated between Hanoi Station and Gia Lam Station, which is close to the factory.
This is an overview of the special train, the festival, and the old factory.
Hanoi Creative Design Festival Special Train
A special festival train operated from Hanoi Station, and there was advertising at the station to celebrate the event.
Train LH1 and LH2 operated on the opening night of 17 November 2023:
Long Bien: 19.05
Gia Lam: 19.17
Gia Lam: 22.25
Train LH3/4 and LH5/6 operated from 18 to 26 November 2023:
Gia Lam: 8.22
Gia Lam: 10.50
Gia Lam: 13:50
Gia Lam: 16.00
[View the timetable.]
The special trains were timed during the day in between other trains using the single-track railway.
The trains had the festival logo on the carriages.
I got the first morning train of the event, which was about half full. The opening night train had sold out when I booked a ticket. I had only found out about it a few days before when reading a local English news article. I think this would be a popular service if more people knew about it in advance. It would be a better tourist experience than the current Hanoi Train Street experience.
I booked a ticket in advance at the station for 20,000 VND ($0.82 USD).
The train passes through Hoan Kiem District via the famous train street that is now closed. The train stops at Long Bien Station and then crosses the Long Bien Bridge.
The train stops at Gia Lam Station, and there were signs pointing to the factory.
Hanoi Creative Design Festival at Gia Lam Train Factory
Gia Lam Train Factory is about a 5-minute walk from Gia Lam Station.
The festival was free and there was a festival map at the entrance showing which art shows were on in each warehouse.
A photo opportunity at the big HANOI sign.
Walking through the old factory area is like walking in an abandoned village.
There were art exhibitions in the two main factory sheds.
The art displays were from various artists from Vietnam and worldwide.
The train parts and factory equipment blended in to be art in itself.
A smaller warehouse was set up as a concert area. I was there in the moring when the band was setting up.
Some of the smaller workshops had also been turned into gallery spaces.
I enjoyed this concept of having art space in heritage industrial spaces. This type of adaptive reuse is common in Europe, so I hope it catches on in Southeast Asia.
Hopefully this becomes a regular event with more artists included in the festival.
It would also be helpful if they had information in English, as most of the information was only in Vietnamese. The festival website doesn’t have an English option either.
There is a cute cafe near the entrance and market food was available during the day. This would be great if something was held here every weekend (including a special weekend train).
[Hoa Xa Cafe.]
Wandering around the Gia Lam Train Factory
The appeal of having the art exhibition at the factory was being able to wander around the factory site. Here are some photos of the factory area.
Future special train to Gia Lam
This special train was operating during the Hanoi Creative Design Festival in November 2023. Check with the official website to see if there are future festival dates announced. Another option is to set a Google Alert for “Hanoi Creative Design Festival” to see if this special train is running again.