Text & Photographs


Colin Carr


Updated 13/03/2017


To visit 'State Railway of Thailand Part Two', click here


To visit 'Awayday in Thailand Sept 2014', click here

To visit 'Bridge on the River Kwai' (aka 'Death Railway') click here




Map of the State Railway of Thailand

Instructions to customer service staff at Pattaya Station













P-way gang and their transport

at Pattaya Station

22 August 2008



The train to Sattahip arrives

at Pattaya's neat and friendly station,

22 August 2008














DMU in the shed at Ban Pla Ta Luang.

It is hard to judge if it is being refurbished or scrapped.!

22 August 2008


Alsthom diesel electric, no.4145, awaiting departure time

for the daily service from Ban Pla Ta Luang to Bangkok.

22 August 2008













4145, and an unusually clean first carriage

about to leave Pattaya for Bangkok.

22 August 2008


Alsthom diesel electric loco no.4125

is looped at Pattaya awaiting the

Up passenger service to Bangkok.

3 January 2008













Let me say a little bit about the State Railway of Thailand. Like BR, it is hugely in debt, crying out for investment, and massively overstaffed. Much of the debt relates to it's extremely generous pension scheme.

On a short journey last week, our train had two crew in the cab. This I approve of, as an extra pair of eyes is very valuable in a country where car and truck drivers routinely play 'chicken' with trains at unmanned level crossings. XXX (I suppose it makes a change from bridge bashing!) But in the seven carriages, there were two revolver-toting Railway Police, two conductors, a cleaner and another unidentifiable employee. I believe the term is 'featherbedding' .

The network consists of 2566 route miles of metre gauge lines joining Bangkok to Malaysia in the South, the city of Chiang Mai in the north, Laos in the northeast, the city of Ubon Ratchathani, also in the Northeast, and to Cambodia in the east.

There is a comparatively short spur (about 75 miles) from Chachoengsao, east of Bangkok to the ports of Laem Chabang, Sattahip and Map Ta Phut.

The network is mainly a freight railway, though passenger services operate on the major routes. It is operating at full capacity.

The spur from Chachoengsao is typical in that it is currently single line with passing loops. This restricts capacity. Members of Ribble Valley Rail will be familiar with the problem, I am sure.

As Laem Chabang is a major deepwater seaport, there are plans to double the line between there and Chachoengsao.





In 2007, the military government proposed a HUGE investment scheme to double track nearly all the network, and modernise the signalling. All this was aimed at increasing capacity and taking trucks off the roads. In 2008, the new civilian government drastically pruned the investment plans.

They now propose to double some lines in the busy Bangkok/Central Thailand area while adding more signals and passing loops elsewhere to increase capacity. Currently only 174 route miles are double or triple track.

Perhaps the most famous, or infamous, line on the network is the so called 'Death Railway'. This is the line built by the Japanese in the Second World War and immortalised in the (grossly inaccurate) film, "The Bridge On The River Kwai".

In fact the famous bridge was bombed by the RAF in February 1945, knocking out the two centre spans.

A special feature on this line may be found

by clicking here


In the late 1940s, Thailand bought the railway from the British and reopened it as far as Nam Tok, about 95 miles short of the Burmese border. The line from Nam Tok to Burma has been lifted though the track bed still survives in places.


Colin Carr




Return to top










Local Signalling Panel at Ayuthaya Station

November 1999




The train to Nakhon Ratchasima tackles the gradient

as viewed from the 14th carriage

November 1999.


Note the cement wagons in the siding.













Loco 261 the 'Gate Guardian' at Nakhon Ratchasima Station.

November 1999




The then new Bangkok Skytrain, an On Nut trai,

approaching Nana Station

February 2000

This line is standard gauge













Approaches to Bangkok 's Hualumpong Station

The curved train-shed roof is visible in the distance


October 2000


Korean built DMU at Hualumpong Station


October 2000  














General Electric diesel electric loco, no. 4539

at Hualumpong

October 2000


Yes, it's a Sprinter! 2501 at Hualumpong in October 2000.

These units work long distance services

and are all 2nd class air conditioned













North British 4-6-0 loco, built at Glasgow 1920, retired 1967,

now guards Phitsanulok Station,

seen October 2000   



Plasser & Theurer track maintenance equipment

at Phitsanulok

October 2000














Approaching a bridge on the Northern Line

while en route to Bangkok

October 2000.


View from between the left & right cabs of a Sprinter.


Loco 4106 in charge of the 08:30 service

from Nong Khai to Bangkok

October 2001


Note the bags of food & drink in the windscreen.  













Third class carriage

on the Nong Khai to Bangkok service

October 2001














Sprinter approaching Phitsanulok

with a Bangkok service

November 2001


The station shunter

at Ubon Ratchathani,

January 2003













Another 1920 vintage North British 4-6-0

acts as the gate guardian

at Ubon Ratchathani

January 2003


P-way gang at work

in Ubon Ratchathani station


January 2003













General Electric diesels, nos. 4554 and 4538,

await their next duties in the yard

at Ubon Ratchathani


January 2003


Loco 4222 arrives at Ubon Ratchathani

with a service from Bangkok



January 2003













Hualumpong Railway Station,



September 2003


Hualumpong Concourse and Train-Shed



September 2003













Loco 4217 about to couple to its train at Hualumpong



September 2003


Loco 4519 couples to the front of 4217

Double-heading out of the station

saved a precious path in the station throat

September 2003













Sprinter 2512 wears the vinyls of a Thai phone company

over its Regional Railways paint

at Hualumpong

September 2003


Loco 4217 with its train on arrival

at Saaburi,

September 2003














Loco 4514 arrives at Saraburi

with a Rapid (semi fast) train to Bangkok

September 2003














Loco 4221 in charge of the

Nong Khai to Bangkok service

11 November 2003


Waiting for the 'off' at Nong Khai


11 November 2003













Rather a fine looking station nameboard

at Nong Khai

11 Nov 2003


The line to Laos was not laid until summer 2008,

and is not yet in use.


Loco 4542 in charge of the late-running Nong Khai sleeper,

passes Nata Station


11 Nov 2003















DMU 1018 waits to work the

12:30 Khon Kaen - Nakhon Ratchasima local

11 Nov 2003


Semaphore signals at Khon Kaen

11 Nov 2003















a neat little rural station

between Khon Kaen and Nakhon

11 Nov 2003


Sunset in Nakhon Ratchasima

11 Nov 2003















The neat, tidy booking office and waiting area

at Pattaya Station

20 Nov 2003



Pattaya Station


20 Nov 2003














Pattaya Station

general view


20 Nov 2003


Aboard the almost empty DMU

from Pattaya to Bangkok


20 Nov 2003













Signals are on the right in Thailand