Thursday, 9 November 2017

Thailand railway tidbits 2017

Thailand railway tidbits 2017

New timetables
Various changes in rain schedules over the last years, and now new printed timetables (same as before: Northern, North-Eastern, Eastern, Southern and Western Line, as well as commuter line and Mae Klong and Mahachai Railway Line).


Left: old until 2015 size 260 mm x 371 mm (does not match any format in https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Paper_size, that would be a separate research project to find out how SRT came to that size)
Right: new from 2016 size 210 mm x 297 mm (=A4)

Bangkok to Padang Besar
One of the changes in timetables mentioned above is the following:
Train 45 & 46: International Express / Ekspres Antarabangsa.... IMPORTANT UPDATE: This train ran Butterworth-Bangkok for many years but as from early 2016 runs only between Bangkok and the Malay border at Padang Besar, with a connection by Malaysian KTM Komuter electric train to/from Butterworth.  From 2 December 2016 it is renumbered from 35/36 to 45/46.
from: https://www.seat61.com/Malaysia.htm 

In my quest to ride all trains in Thailand, I took this train from Bankgok (dep. schedule 15:10, real 15:10) to Padang Besar (Thai) (arr. schedule 8:53, real 8:53) with a stop in Hat Yai where train was split, but passengers to Padang Besar didn't have to leave their train.

New station building Padang Besar (Thai):


The train then continues to Padang Besar (Malaysia) where, but does not go further into Malaysia. For actually crossing the border (immigration is on Malaysia side) see here: https://www.seat61.com/Malaysia.htm#Padang_Besar_station_information.

New trains in 2016
On 29aug2016, SRT started over night services with new trains: 
http://www.thailandtrains.com/thailands-new-trains/
http://www.thaitravelblogs.com/2016/11/new-express-trains-to-service-four-major-routes-in-thailand/
and on 6-7sep2017 I finally went by the new train from Pattalung to Bangkok. Flatscreens with various data about the trip (changing between Thai and English, local and national map, timetable) and toilets like in an airplane:


Aircon on trains
2nd and 1st class trains (not that I ever rode 1st class) has aircon that is bearable for a few hours during day, but awfully cold at night, to the extent that I can't fall asleep in night trains. That can be helped by wearing long trousers and long sleeved shirt and most importantly socks, and stick the legs of the trousers into my sock to prevent the cold from creeping in. Then temperature is just ok.

Same for aircon buses over long distances or cinema (need long sleeved shirt and long trousers, but no socks).


Delays
From experience, long distance trains are 1-2 hours late for every 10 hours of travel. (I keep all train tickets, and write down scheduled and real departure and arrival, some day I can present these data in a table.) Now there is a website
http://tts.railway.co.th/srttts/view (in Thai; last column is delay in minutes in red, or train on time or early in green) and an app SRT TTS (icon as insert in leftmost of below screenshots; which I can't find any more on google play, however https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.banktistuta.srttracking comes close)

Ironically, the SRT TTS app is delayed by 1-2 hours (middle of below screenshots, might be that only some stations are connected and send time train passes to central computer), nonetheless useful: when you know the train was 1 hour late 2 hours ago, you don't have to rush to railway station. The app cannot handle midnight, for a train that starts in the evening and arrives the following day, when midnight passes there will be no data for the train (rightmost of below screenshots).


Update: On recent trip (9nov2017) Nakon Sawan to Bangkok the same: some stations submit data instantly, others not at all; there was a two hour gap without updates about delay.  

Online booking
I buy all my tickets for trips from Bangkok in Hua Lampong or Mae Nam railway station สถานีรถไฟแม่น้ำ http://christianpfc.blogspot.de/2015/03/bangkok-railway-stations.html, but some day I have to test the online booking at https://www.thairailwayticket.com/eTSRT/default.aspx?language=1. 

No more free trains
From 1nov2017 on no more free trains (there used to be free 3rd class for Thai nationals).

Copyright 2017 ChristianPFC

7 comments:

  1. Do we still have to buy train tickets on the day of travel in Thailand ?
    On my first visit to Thailand, I scoped out Hua Lamphong & tried to buy a ticket for my early morning departure next tday, but they couldn't do that.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Tickets can be bought up to 60 days in advance. I think in Hua Lampong there is a separate counter for advance tickets, most counters only sell same day tickets.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I think the still have separate foreigner ticket office to the left of regular counters

      Delete
    2. Yes, but there is a note "Temporary CLOSED due to RENOVATION" which makes me wonder, why do they need to renovate about a year after opening?

      Delete
    3. so somebody can make a bit of money on that renovation

      Delete
  3. The online booking is only available for Northern, North Eastern and Southern, but not for Western (Kanchanaburi) and Eastern (Aranyaprathet)!

    And the part of SRT website where you finally find trains, times and classes/prices is hidden so deeply, I always have to search for it: http://www.railway.co.th/checktime/checktime.asp?lenguage=Eng

    ReplyDelete
  4. Blog posts dedicated to getting to and from Don Mueang airport by railway:

    https://railtravelstation.com/2017/09/21/ordinary-211-bangkok-hua-lamphong-to-don-mueang-airport-by-train/

    https://railtravelstation.com/2017/09/03/ordinary-208-don-mueang-airport-to-bangkok-hua-lamphong-by-train/

    ReplyDelete

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