|4013, my first 'Shovel' GE UM12C shunts stock outside Bangkok's Hua Lampong station.|
|UK spec Desiros on the Suvarnabhumi Airport Link.|
|3rd Class on board an 'Ordinary' Thai train.|
|The crossing 'closed' 4402 cautiously approaches Asok.|
I didn't continue the whole way through to central Bangkok as, having checked the train times online there should have been a connection onto a train on the conventional network at Asok. The Eastern Railway follows the air link for most of it's route however I chose to change here as I could also use the subway to reach my destination if the train didn't materialise. As soon as I hit street level I got my first experience of the full-on nature of Thailand. The place is bonkers with all sorts of transport pretty much everywhere and beneath the pillars of the modern airport rail link was the single meter gauge track of the Eastern Railway - no fences and in some places squeezed right next to buildings. The station was easy to find, though there was nobody else waiting- a look at the departure board confirmed the train time that I had checked online so I made my way to the only building on the station, the crossing keepers cabin to attempt to buy a ticket. I couldn't, but I was directed to the correct platform for the train, and only a few minutes after the scheduled time the road barriers were lowered, the traffic did not stop, and with a green flag from the crossing keeper the train hauled by Alsthom A24C 4402 cautiously approached. As I had been expecting a DMU the loco hauled train was a pleasant surprise and I jumped on through one of the open doors. The train was well loaded, but not full and very soon a member of staff ushered me to a seat and sold me a ticket to Bangkok's main station- Hua Lampong for the princely sum of 2 bhat (around 4p). Of course I was quite happy to stand and lean out of a window, or a door, and take in the streets of Bangkok as well as the quite rateable traction.
|Carriage Cleaning at Hua Lampong.|
|Destination boards wait their trains at Hua Lampong.|
|Life by the lineside -No palisade fences here!|
|Alsthom AD24's have arrived into Hua Lampong and await|
their next duties.
The plan of was to head straight to my hotel, drop off my bag, be a tourist for a bit and come back a to the station a little later. Of course this isn't what I did. There was a 'Shovel' shunting around, the sun was out and I had already discovered what a wonderful little rail system this was to explore. I talked my way over to the depot at the end of the station where another 'Shovel' 4038 was shunting and also got my first and only glimpse of one of the SRT 'Sprinter' units- a tag on to the BREL class 158 order at York and originally delivered in Regional Railway Express livery as nothing else had been specified!
|A product of BREL York in Bangkok! A class 158 based 'Sprinter' with|
inward opening slam doors, minus gangways and on narrow gauge!
|Alsthom AD24C 4420 arrives into Bangkog during the morning rush.|
|4413 and 4005 await departure from Thon Buri for Nam Tuk. The semaphores|
are the last in Bangkok but are no longer functional.
|'Shovel' 4006 hauls a container train through Bang Sue.|
|4025 assist with afternoon shunting at Hua Lampong station, Bangkok.|
|4050 at Bang Sue with 341 the 17:00 to Taeng Khoi Junction. Construction|
on the new Bang Sue station can be seen to the left.
|GE CM22-7 4555 pauses on the run in to Hua Lampong.|
Saturday 3rd February
|4040 passes the floating market at Taling Chan with 251, the|
13:05 departure from Thon Buri.
|4017 pauses at Makkasan with 277 the 15:25 from Bangkok|
to Kabin Buri. The airport express line towers above.
A boat ride back to my hotel in the Chinatown district and a hurriedly hailed Tuk-Tuk was just about quick enough for me to reach Hua Lampong for the 15:25 departure. I had intended to take the metro and Airport Rail Link back to the airport, however a quick check of the train schedules showed a train at almost the perfect time from Hua Lampong to Lat Krabang (the last station where one can connect onto the Airport Rail Link off the Eastern line), better still it turned out to my delight that the train in question was 277, one of the two I had down as a very good bet for a 'Shovel' - it was and 4017 was a great way to finish my short trip to this fantastic country. The train was packed and I spent much of it hanging out of a door - certainly a contrast would be felt when I moved from the 'old' station at Lat Krabang up into the concrete sky to board the airport Desiro. And thus my fleeting visit to Bangkok was at it's conclusion. Thanks to the gen providers and particularly those who have posted their reports to World Rail Gen.
|'Shovel' 4050 in the original colour scheme arrives into Bangkok Hua Lampong with train 342 from Kaeng Khoi Junction.|