Saturday, 15 July 2017

Tourist train 909/910 to/from Nam Tok Sai Yok Noi


Tourist train 909/910 to/from Nam Tok Sai Yok Noi

The classiest way to go from Bangkok to Kanchanaburi and beyond is by train, on the Thailand-Burma railway built by the Japanese during WWII.

Facts about the railway line and the movie about the bridge can be found on Wikipedia:
but let me point out the following: The movie is "The Bridge on the River Kwai", based on the novel "The Bridge over the River Kwai", original in French by Pierre Boulle “Le Pont de la Rivière Kwai” which I would translates as "The bridge of the river Kwai".

Regular trains end at Nam Tok น้ำตก railway station https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nam_Tok_Railway_Station, but in my quest to ride the train to every possible point in Thailand, I had to use the weekend excursion train which goes 1.4 km further to Nam Tok Sai Yok Noi น้ำตกไทรโยคน้อย.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nam_Tok_Sai_Yok_Noi: After the war most of the railway was dismantled, leaving Nam Tok at the terminus. In 2003 the 1.4 km from Nam Tok station to Nam Tok Sai Yok Noi was reopened for easier access to the nearby Sai Yok waterfall. However, as Sai Yok Noi is a single-platform terminus with no run-round loop, the line is only used by diesel multiple units. In 2010, the only services to use the extension are trains 909/910 which run an excursion to the waterfall each Saturday and Sunday.

Fri 19may2017 ask at ticket counter in Hua Lampong: 2 fan and 34 aircon seats left. Only return trips sold in Hua Lampong: 3rd class fan 120 THB, aircon 234 (?). I would have to buy Kanchanaburi – Nam Tok in Kanchanaburi, but for fear of train sold out buy the return ticket in Hua Lampong.

With 6:30 am departure at Bangkok being prohibitively early, and then 1 hour stop in Nakon Pathom which would be of no use to me as I can go there any time, I go to Kanchanaburi with a Farang friend FF by car to get on the train at a not-so-ungodly-hour.

Sat 20may2017 9:22 enquire at railway station in Kanchanaburi: indeed excursion train is sold out. Glad I bought the ticket the day before in Hua Lampong. Train enters Kanchanaburi railway station (in town, 3.2 km by rail from bridge):


Departure schedule 9:33, real 9:37. The Japanese can build that track and bridge in difficult terrain, at the same time fighting in a world war, in less than projected time, and the Thai can’t even run the train on time!

Train stops before bridge 9:40-10:10 so passengers can walk on the bridge:



Then slowly drives over bridge, short stop in Tha Kilen, no stop but drives slowly at Tham Krasae (separate post), no stop in Nam Tok.

The ride in 3rd class was rather uncomfortable: I had a seat near the end of the carriage with no overhead storage (had to keep my backpack between my legs or on my lap - beware of drinks spilled by others on the floor!), open windows and all kind of dirt and dust blowing in, no platform between carriages, and I had the aisle seat so not easy to look out the window.


Finally 11:41 arrive at Nam Tok Sai Yok Noi, 
the platform at  is shorter than the train (4 carriages): 


Front end of the train, after the masses have dispelled, with insert of train label EXCURTION TRAIN (sic!):


There are open restaurants (reasonably prices, but slow), toilets (5 Baht, no running water), and the train engine is running and making noise throughout the stop. Near the train station are old train:


Shrine:


Sai Yok Noi waterfall dry:


A bit further away is the source of the river (not much water, but the giant tree is interesting) and a cave (was closed):


FF picks me up at the highway, and we go to a temple on the return to Kanchanaburi, where I catch the same train (schedule 16:53, real 16:58) to Bangkok.

See here for general information about train travel:
https://www.seat61.com/Bridge-on-the-River-Kwai.htm

Copyright 2017 ChristianPFC

3 comments:

  1. 6.30 may be early but it's fair trade as bus / minibus tours cost 6 times as much and still leave Bangkok between 8-9 , too bad this train is weekends only but thank you for great information

    ReplyDelete
  2. So it only stops at Nam Tok Soi Tok Noi? I was hoping to get off and back on at Nam Tok, as I am reading it is easier to get transportation to Hellfire pass from there? Thank you for your post. DB
    Forgot to hit notify so am re-posting

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. The train did not stop at Nam Tok station, but you can easily walk back from Nam Tok Sai Noi station. Or go with a train that stops at Nam Tok.

      Delete

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