Gia Lam Train Factory: Ideology on Rail
Considered by historian Tim Doling as one of the three great colonial railway works built during the early 20th century, Gia Lam Train Factory was initially built as a mechanical depot where train locomotives underwent maintenance and repair (Doling). Positioned strategically at the junction of four prominent rail lines, during its lifespan, the factory stood as a material witness of Vietnamese history, from the French colonial period, Japanese occupation, and American bombing to the present day of the free market and social changes. Not only the factory serve the movement of goods, with an extended network of agents, but it also cultivated the mobility of cultures and ideologies that shape Vietnamese subjectivity. Currently being scheduled to relocate away from its current site, the factory’s future and historical legacy are uncertain and at risk of being eroded under the pressure of urban redevelopment.