Sunday, 9 August 2015

Thai railway network

Thai railway network

The Thai railway network is meter gauge and most of it is single track. For trains in opposite directions, one has to wait in a railway station (two or more tracks) for the other to pass. High speed trains have been discussed for years; the truth is that

General information:
http://www.railway.co.th/home/
State Railway of Thailand homepage
http://www.seat61.com/Thailand.htm
http://www.thailande.free.fr/en/railways.php
Update Nov2015: another useful website
http://www.train36.com/train-167-timetable-thailand.html
and Apr2016 http://www.thairailwayguide.net/

History:
https://sanuksanuk.wordpress.com/2011/08/24/germany's-contribution-to-thailand's-rail-network/
https://railasia.wordpress.com/
book Railways of Thailand (R. Ramaer)
http://www.whitelotuspress.com/bookdetail.php?id=E21667
http://2bangkokforum.com/archive/index.php/t-3388.html

My interest is mainly in railway lines and architecture of stations, bridged, tunnels; not so much about their rolling stock. For information about steam locomotives in and around Bangkok see here: http://www.bangkok.com/magazine/steam-trains.htm#

Best map of Thai railway network I could find on the www:
http://www.johomaps.com/as/thailand/thailandrail.html



For a quality map with distances see here:
http://www.thailandee.com/images/map-train-thailand.gif

I try to take train to every possible destination. Here a list of all terminal stations, clockwise from north.

Chiang Mai เชียงใหม่
Have been several times on train Bangkok to Chiang Mai and back.

A peculiarity is that there are two stations just kilometers apart, Uttaradit อุตรดิตถ์ and Sila At ศิลาอาสน์, both in Uttaradit town.

Update Now 2015:
Some maps e.g. here http://www.novabizz.com/Map/img/map-27-NakhonSawan.gif show a railway line in Nakon Sawan province between Hua Wai หัวหวาย and Tha Tako ท่าตะโก. Couldn't find any corroboration on googlemaps or internet.

Nong Khai หนองคาย
Have been several times. The line extends into Lao (Nong Khai - Thanalaeng ท่านาแล้ง border crossing, Dongphosy Station, 15 minutes ride for 5 km), but it doesn't reach Vientiane, the railway station is somewhere on a field with no public transport (so I read).

The line splits between Kaeng Koi junction ชุมทางแก่งคอย and Bua Yai junction ชุมทางบัวใหญ่, the northern part is over Pa Sak Chonlasit dam: http://christianpfc.blogspot.com/2015/05/train-ride-over-pa-sak-chonlasit-dam.html.

Ubon Ratchathani อุบลราชธานี
Have been once. The railway station is not in Ubon town, but in Warin Chamrap วารินชำราบ district a few km south, with public transport that connects to Ubon.

Aranyaprathet อรัญประเทศ
Have traveled once Aranyaprathet - Bangkok.

There is a connection between Chachoengsao junction ชุมทาง ฉะเชิงเทรา and Kaeng Koi junction. The next station south of Kaeng Koi (by following track on map) is Bu Yai สถานีรถไฟบุใหญ่, next station north of Chachoengsao is Bang Nam Prieo สถานีรถไฟบางน้ำเปรี้ยว. These stations are not on the timetables, I suppose no passenger trains pass.

Ban Phlu Ta Luang บ้านพลูท่าหลวง
The last station for passenger trains in the south-east. Been there on 06.07.2015. Songtheo passes and connects to Sattahip สัตหีบ.

The line splits before Ban Phlu Ta Luang. After Ban Phlu Ta Luang, the line ends at Nang Ram beach หาดนางรำ in Sattahip.

Following the other part, there is another station Ban Chang บ้านฉาง and finally Map Ta Phut มาบตาพุด industrial estate in Rayong, no passenger trains.

At Sriracha junction, the line splits to the west and there is Laem Chabang แหลมฉบาง station and ends at Laem Chabang port, no passenger trains.

Trains on this line (Bangkok-Baan Phlu Ta Luang) pass and stop in Pattaya, only one train per day in each direction, only on weekdays.
http://christianpfc.blogspot.com/2014/02/pattaya-16-19022014.html
http://christianpfc.blogspot.com/2014/02/addendum-to-recent-pattaya-trip.html
http://www.thailandbytrain.com/ToPattaya.html

Bangkok กรุงเทพญฯ
I have written about Bangkok railway stations here: http://christianpfc.blogspot.com/2015/03/bangkok-railway-stations.html. There is a connection from Makkasan มักกะสัน to Klong Toey port ท่าเรือคลองเตย for freight only, I have walked along most of it, slum along part of it.

Wongwian Yai to Mahachai and Ban Laem to Mae Klong 

วงเวียนใหญ่ มหาชัย บ้านแหลม แม่กลอ
Multiple names: Mahachai มหาชัย = Tha Chin ท่าจีน = Samut Sakhon สมุทรสาคร, Mae Klong (town on Mae Klong river แม่น้ำแม่กลอง) = Samut Songkhram สมุทรสงคราม. These lines have no connection to the rest of the Thai railway network. It's split in two because there is no bridge over the river, you take the ferry. Have been once.

Nakhon Si Thammarat นครศรีธรรมราช
Have been once.

Songkhla สงขลา
There used to be a line to Songkhla (town) which was abandoned in 1978. Part of railway line and Songkhla train station still exist. Details here:
http://2bangkok.com/2bangkok-MassTransit-songkhlastation.shtml
http://2bangkok.com/2bangkok-srt-songkhlastation.html
http://2bangkok.com/2bangkok-srt-songkhlaline.shtml
http://www.thaivisa.com/forum/topic/767810-songkhla-railway-station/
http://www.oocities.org/songkhla.geo/HAADYAI.html
http://portal.rotfaithai.com/modules.php?name=Forums&file=viewtopic&t=5178

Su-ngai Kolok สุไหงโกลก
Have only been up to Hat Yai หาดใหญ่.
Update: trip to Sugnai Kolok Wed 27.01.2016 15:12 - Thu 28.01.2016 12:58.
Pattani railway station is 25 km from Pattani town.

Padang Besar ปาดังเบซาร์
Have only been up to Hat Yai หาดใหญ่.

Kantang กันตัง
Update Nov2015: 19.11.2015 ticket to Kantang, but train runs only to Trang, there notice by railway staff that van will take passengers to Kantang (one van full, driver keeps my train ticket). 21.11.2015 At Kantang railway station staff says no train, van to Kantang (free of charge, about 10 passengers). Tracks at Kantang station look like there were trains recently.

Khiri Ratthana Nikom คีรีรัฐนิคม (or Khiri Rat Nikhom)
Haven't been. There is only one train per day, from Surat Thani (16:55 - 17:55), and there is nothing of interest in Khiri Rat Nikhom. Update: have been in 2016, see post.

Note on Surat Thani สุราษฎร์ธานี: railway station is far out of town, in Phunphin, public transport during day, but not at night.

Nam Tok น้ำตก
All regular trains (257, 259) depart from Thonburi, no trains from Hua Lampong. Haven only been to Kanchanaburi กาญจนบุรี.

The tourist trains (909, 6.30 am from Hua Lampong on Sat, Sun, holiday) goes one station further, to Nam Tok Sai Yok Noi (arr 11:30). http://www.seat61.com/Bridge-on-the-River-Kwai.htm#tourist railcar
http://www.thelongestwayhome.com/travel-guides/thailand/weekend-train-kanchanaburi-bridge-over-river-kwai.html

The line was built during WW2 to connect Thailand to Burma. Up to Nam Tok it's still in operation, further west there are cuts in the rock (Hellfire pass), and dams (visible around Sangkhlaburi) and a piece of railway track at the Three Pagoda pass (border crossing to Myanmar) (information from internet) for continuation of the line to Myanmar.



Update: have been on 20may2017, from Kanchanaburi to Nam Tok Sai Yok Noi. Only full ticket (Bangkok-Nam Tok Sai Yok Noi return, 120 Baht for 3rd class) sold in Hua Lampong.

Suphanburi สุพรรณบุรี
The line was built when Banharn Silpa-archa บรรหาร ศิลปอาชา (native of Suphanburi) was prime minister (source?).

The last stop on timetable and map is Suphanburi Railway Station (with a station building), but the end of line is Malaiman มาลัยแมน (Mailaiman road = hwy 321) station, with a sign, but no station building, not even a platform, not even light. Both stations are a few km out of town.

I went on 28.05.2015 (train 355, 32 Baht, schedule Bangkok dep 16:40, Suphanburi arr 20:04; real 16:41-21:18). I got a seat in Hua Lampong, afterwards it became standing room only to Salaya สาลายา, at the end there were only a few passengers left and the train stopped out of station to let single passengers out.

Update: there is a short fork to a factory/port (?) near Nakhon Sawan, but seems to be not in use any more:
https://www.google.co.th/maps/@15.691791,100.1361849,3a,75y,180h,90t/data=!3m6!1e1!3m4!1sCMjW-o8AjMpdm6KeFcv2Cw!2e0!7i13312!8i6656

Sawankhalok สวรรคโลก
Haven't been. Closest you can get to Sukhothai by railway.
Update: 11.02.2016 Sawan Khalok. Train enters Ban Dara Junction from south, then leaves to the south. Staff rotates seats so passengers can sit in driving direction. Distance by rail from Ban Dara 29 km, station opened in 1910 https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sawankhalok_Line Why did they build a terminal railway station in Sawan Khalok?

Going to all terminal railway stations will take me 2 years of living in Thailand or 5-10 years of coming here for holiday.

Update Aug 2015: in another map, I found Kaeng Khoi - Chachoengsao, Map Ta Put and Laem Chabang marked as "freight only". Furthermore, in my travels in Buriram, I found there is a railway line to near i-mobile stadium (crosses main road hwy 219 near stadium), looks abandoned.

Update Nov 2015: On a map (Thailand 77 provinces 2556) I spotted a track in Saraburi province from Baan Mo บ้านหมอ to Tha Luang ท่าหลวง, about 6 km long. Checking on google maps (satellite and streetview), this track has been dismantled. Tha Luang train station สถานีรถไฟท่าหลวง is still on google maps at 14.5754847,100.7648206. However there is no dead end track north of Baan Mo railway station (in map, but not on satellite or streetview).

Track to port in Nakon Sawan exists, hasn't been used for long time (plants grow over track). Walk across track on 10.02.2016 to get to origin of Chao Phra Ya river.

update:
http://www.thairailways.com/
http://www.nomadicnotes.com/travel-blog/southeast-asia-train-travel/

update 21sep2016: there used to be a branch for freight from Mae Mo railway station to Mae Mo power plant (both in Lampang province), abandoned tracks can be seen here:
https://www.google.co.th/maps/@18.2661107,99.7129662,3a,89.4y,178.88h,69.53t/data=!3m6!1e1!3m4!1sTVgRjKCN8jz790Zxp43uWw!2e0!7i13312!8i6656
and shortly after disassembled and only visible in satellite picture in forest

Copyright 2015 ChristianPFC

3 comments:

  1. No-KhKoi-Chchsao is only for freight-containers. For the link to the main containerport=MapTaPhut.
    That short line from Surat was meant to go to Phuket. This train comes back early morning. Prob is that there is said to be no hotel or guesthse in Kiri...., and No transport either to get there very early or after dusk.
    line to Suphan was NOT just built when Banharn was minister-much earlier. However, during his reign there was a kind of deluxe better service (have been there then).
    Kantang-walk into village and there are frequent vans back to Trang. Nothing really to see. Again a minor seaport-the goal of most railways anyway.
    An abandoned minor railway/tram, the only electric in TH was from Hualampong east-along OLD Sukhumvit rd as far as PakNam. beyond Klong Toey one can still recognise some parts of that railway along it.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. There is indeed an early morning (6:00 am) train from Khiri to Surat. I guess I can hitchhike from there, however 17:55 it's getting dark and I have not much time left to go somewhere I can stay.

      Will remove Banharn reference in post.

      There was a tram, information table and part of railway can still be seen just south of City Pillar Shrine.

      Didn't know about HL to Paknam with some rails left beyond Klong Toey, can be more precise?

      Delete
  2. Great post and balm on the heart on undersigned old railway men, thank you

    ReplyDelete

Comments are currently unmoderated and open to everyone. I will see how this works out and might switch to moderation. Please sign your comment with a name or identifier.