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Thailand September 2017


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I was asked if I was going to post any photos from the Thailand part of the trip. I decided to have a three day stopover there on the way back from Japan to check the place out and see if their railways were worth a longer visit.


Day 1.


I flew out of Haneda Airport, another first for me. It's a pity flights to and from Australia don't use it, it's much more convenient than Narita and not as busy. My Thai Airlines flight was a 747, a rare bird these days, and there were two more parked at the terminal at Bangkok.




There was a familiar face peeking at me at the Airport Rail Link station. The service is operated by the Thai State Railways (SRT) and my 25 km trip to Makkasan station where I could connect with the subway to my hotel near the main railway station cost 35 baht (about AUD$1.40), a bargain compared to Brisbane's Airtrain who charge $18 for an 8 km trip.




The walkway to the subway station passed over Asok station on SRT's eastern line and I realised I wasn't in neat, tidy and everything in it's place Japan anymore. While many Japanese stations feature cats stray dogs have the run of Thai stations and it beats me why the woman with the snack cart was standing in the puddle of water.




A quick glance at the timetable showed No.282 ordinary from Kabin Buri to Bangkok was due so I waited for my first look at a Thai train, a set of Japanese built railcars.




Around the corner from my hotel was the local version of 7-11, not quite as good as the Japanese ones but still selling most items you would want including familiar brands like Meiji.





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I spent a bit of time in Bangkok for work reasons, didn't really have time to look at the proper trains, though once I went inside the concourse of the main station out of curiosity and was bemused to find among all the exotic sounding destinations, a train going to "Butterworth" (which is in Malaysia).

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The next morning I wandered across the street from my hotel to Bangkok's main station, Hua Lamphong.





I believe SRT's oldest locos are these U.S. built GEs from the 1960s, double ended variants of the locos on the White Pass and Yukon.




A special express railcar gets a wash before its next run. No automatic car wash here with so much cheap labour.




Fellow Queenslanders will recognise these former Brisbane suburban cars sold to Thailand in the 1990s. The original passenger doors for our high level platforms have been sealed and new doors with steps added at the ends. The train was a commuter run from Lop Buri.





This one had gotten new seats.




The only Japanese sleeping cars I saw up close were these which appear to be used for something like the Japanese Joyful Trains, possibly able to be attached to regular services for a fee.




I walked around to the station throat and videoed shunting of trains in and out for a while, being a dead end terminus there was a lot of activity.





They don't seem to throw anything away, beside the coach repair shops were piles of old airconditioners, batteries and fans.




Edited by westfalen
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I spent the middle of the day riding the BTS Skytrain, Bangkok's elevated rapid transit system.




There appear to be two types of train in service.




The country was still in the year long mourning period for the late King and all stations had a memorial to him, some more elaborate than others.




Even in Japan I don't think I've ever seen a station with a contact lens kiosk.




One for the bus fans. A typical Bangkok bus, most were considerably more beat up looking than this one.




In the evening I went out to Bang Sue Junction in the northern suburbs to video part of the procession of overnight sleeper trains heading for country destinations. The construction site in the background is a new station that will replace the Hua Lamphong station downtown which will then only see local commuter trains.




I mostly took video after dark but this is train No.173 rapid service to Nakon Si Thammarat in the far south of the country departing Bangkok at 1735 and arriving at its destination 816 km away at 0955 next morning. SRT still handles parcels or express traffic much of it carried in spare coaches rather than baggage cars.




Who the %#@&#% ordered this fridge?




There is even international freight, this crate was bound for Laos.




The station cat gave me a wary look but let me give him a pat, he seemed more concerned about the ever present stray dogs.




Back in town Hua Lamphong station looked pretty good with the lights on.



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I thought had better finish this off.


On my second day in Thailand I decided to get out of Bangkok and go 'up country' to Ban Phachi Junction about 90 km north of Bangkok and the junction of the northern line to Chiang Mai and the north eastern line to the Laos border at Nong Khai.


I caught #75 Express diesel railcar bound for Nong Kai at 8.20am. I splurged out and reserved a seat in the second class air conditioned car for about $4.60 AUD but found the seats rather cramped for space and had an aisle seat facing backwards, one reason I don't like reserving seats unless you can pick what you get.


In retrospect I would have gone unreserved third class with open windows which was reminiscent of a Japanese kiha, natural since they were built in Japan I suppose. Their Nathen K3LA horns make them sound very American though if you close your eyes.


Another advantage of third class is the price. I returned to Bangkok that way and the fare for the 90km trip was 19 baht, about 80 cents in Australian money.



#75 departing Ban Phachi Junction.



The street outside the station and the entrance to the station.



Most Thai stations seem to have a steam loco on display and a graveyard of rolling stock that has seen better days.



Not exactly a JR kiosk but the 6 baht large bottles of ice cold water were welcome.



Some passenger comings and goings. Every train was descended upon by locals selling the local specialty, cups of coconut flavour ice cream.




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One reason I went to Ban Phachi Junction was to get a bit of freight. I knew from videos on youtube that cement, fuel and LPG trains pass through and I managed to get some of the first two including one cement train that also had some colourful Japanese size containers.




One last night shot of Bangkok station after I arrived back that night.


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Fantastic pictures, thank you for sharing them!


It looks like a pretty nice atmosphere to the trains and stations. And the vans and those old freight cars look pretty nifty too!

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