The Eastern Commuter line is a line that is at 100% capacity right now and is expected to carry many times more passengers than there is space on the trains. The line starts at Yommaraj Junction and runs to Chachoengsao about 60km east of Bangkok. From Yommaraj this line runs as 2 separate single lines that then join at the junction for the Klong Toei port line (Night freight only). Then the line is single track for 100 meters until it enters Makkasan station and loop. After Makkasan the line is single track until the double line starts at Hua Mak station. Between Makkasan there is only one short loop near Klong Tan station. After Hua Mak station its high standard Double track to Chachoengsao.
The result of this layout is that the eastern line suffers from massive delays and capacity problems that are only made worse by the construction of the elevated airport rail link. There are only 16 trains a day inbound and 14 trains a day outbound. Trains are built up to the maximum of the loop lengths for the loco hauled trains. Most trains on this line are full to the point of people hanging out the doors or just can't get on.
The possible passenger catchment for the eastern line is around 3 million people but the trains will never come close to fully servicing this demand. The majority of these people cram on to the thousands of BMTA buses servicing the areas along the line including the new airport. If you don’t take the train there is no other traffic free way into inner Bangkok so its better to try and cram on to one of the dangerously overcrowded trains of the eastern line. If you want to get to the city in under 1 hour. Rather than 2 to 3 hours by slow bus.
However it’s not all bad news for the eastern line. When the airport rail link opens next year it will allow a metro class service for half of the line. Greatly reducing the congestion. Also with the opening of the airport line extra trains from Hua Mak to Chachoengsao can operate, as they don’t need to run though the single line as passengers can transfer to the new line there.
1. This is a movie showing a trip from Yommaraj Junction to Uropong Station. Note the busy level crossings and the very densely built up railway village that the train passes right though. Some of these homes have satellite TV.
2. This is an image of Uropong Station the 1st station on the eastern line. The curved platform on the right is used by 1 train a day that starts at Rangsit. But that curve is also used by a large amount of slow cargo trains from the east and from Klong Toei port.
3. This is a picture of Phayathai Station. This station an interchange station with the BTS system. It is in a very poor condition due to airport rail link works and lack of maintenance. The broken concrete platform is where you wait for eastern line trains.
4. This is a short movie of passing under the construction works for the new airport rail line. Note the construction works and the state of the existing eastern rail line. Filmed between Phayathai and Rachaprarop Stations.
5. This is a picture of the track condition between Phayathai and Rachaprarop Stations. Note how close the railway village homes are to the track. The concrete walkway is inside the trains loading gauge as can be seen from the line of dirt down the middle of the walkway.
6. This is a picture of the inner city Rachaprarop Station. This is the closest station to Pratunam the shopping district of Bangkok. It’s in the worst condition of all stations on the eastern line. Note the small concrete area is where you wait and to access it you must walk along the track.
7. This is a shot of the Rachaprarop level crossing and above the track is the construction of the new Rachaprarop station on the Airport Line. This level crossing just has a small roll way metal barrier to protect it. Despite it being on a very busy wide main road.
8. This is a shot of where the Klong Toei port line branches off the eastern line. Also this where the eastern lines 2 separate single lines rejoin and enter a short single line section just before Makkasan station. The Klong Toei Port line is only used at night by cargo trains due to passing through the most congested part of Bangkok.
9. This is a shot of the bridge beam lifter that is used to build the Airport rail links elevated guide way. Taken near Makkasan Station.
10. This is an image of the UP end of the loop at Makkasan Station. The single line section from Klong Toei port junction to Makkasan loop is only about 100 meters long. The Bridge over the railway is the expressway and to the right is the under construction airport line.
11. This is an image of a rather late up eastern line commuter train heading to Hualamphong in the loop at Makkasan station. This train was quite full with some people standing on the steps.
12. This is movie showing the crossing of two full commuter trains at Makkasan station and loop. Note how people run for the train and the area around the station. Also if you look carefully some old trains can be seen beyond the airport lines columns.
13. This is a shot of Makkasan station and the crossing loop. This station is one of the larger stations on the eastern line and is a major stop of railway workers at the Makkasan yard.
14. This is an image showing how crowded the eastern line trains get. Also the carriage layout makes it hard to move into the train. The next station the train filled up even more.
15. This is an image of airport rail line elevated guide way bridge segments ready for installing. They are very similar to the ones used on the BTS extensions.
16. This is a shot of the new approach tracks for the Airport line’s new Makkasan station. Note the eastern line is single track here and runs very close to the construction work. Temp track speed is 30 kph.
17. This is a shot of all the construction work for the City air terminal also known as new Makkasan station. This station will allow you to check in your bags for your flight here and then you can take the train to the airport. Due to the building of this there is no room left to double track the old eastern line in this section.
18. This is a shot of the very crammed in Asoke interchange station. This is a very busy stop as it’s a transfer point for the MRT subway whose entrance is just across the road to the left of the picture.
19. This is an image of what appears to be a passing loop for express trains for the airport rail line taken on the single line between Asoke and Klong Tan Loop.
20. This is a shot of the carefully balanced massive steel beam just above the railway tracks. The crane on the left is helping to hold it up. It is part of the same passing loop construction.
21. This is a shot of Klong Tan Loop just before Klong Tan station. This loop is the only place to pass another train between Makkasan and Hua Mak. This loop is unusual in that it’s not apart of the station.
22. This is a picture of Klong Tan station. Note the signal system on the eastern line is a token based system rather than CTC as on the main north line.
23. This is a shot looking back towards Klong Tan station where the line makes a slight curve to the north east. Note the 20kph speed limit here.
24. This is a shot of the new train workshop and yard for SRTs electric trains for the Airport rail link. Note that the trains will use overhead power instead of 3rd rail, as is the current practice on the BTS and MRT lines.
25. This is an image of the concrete rail bridge over the choppy waters of Klong Saen Saep. This bridge looks like it was meant to be double track but they cheated and built it as a single line bridge.
26. This is a shot of peak hour only station at Sukhumvit 71 in the background is the new station to replace the old Sukhumvit 71 eastern line station.
27. This image shows how tight the route gets for the airport line and eastern lines the buildings on the right and left are the Nasa Vagas Complex. It is a hotel and serviced apartments. This is another section that will make double tracking the eastern line very difficult.
28. This is an image of a fully completed section of airport line with the overhead wires installed. Taken between Sukhumvit 71 and Hua Mak Stations.
29. This is an image of the points at the UP end of Hua Mak station this is where the double track line starts. Also the line is CTC signalled from here onwards.
30. This is a shot of Hua Mak station. This is one of the busiest stations on the eastern line and was recently rebuilt due to the airport line works. Thus it is the most modern currently operating SRT station in Thailand.
31. This is a shot of the new airport line Hua Mak station on the DOWN side of the existing station. Note this station appears to have a passing track for express trains.
32. This is a shot of Ban Thap Chang Station. This station along with most others was rebuilt when the line was double tracked.
33. This is a picture of the station building at Ban Thap Chang Station. The portable building on the platform is due to the old ones being in the way of the airport line.
34. This is a shot of the new Ban Thap Chang Station for the airport line. This particular station is in a low density area between 2 higher density areas.
35. This is an image of Soi Wat Lan Boon Station this is a low use Peak hour only station. It has some of the best platforms for a peak hour only station.
36. This is an image of the old single track eastern line and the rather strange elevated track next to it now broken though every so often. Also it was built very cheaply it appears to just be rails bolted to 2 concrete beams with some mortar like substance to fill the gap to space the rails correctly. This appears to have been some kind of failed upgrade of the old line.
37. This is a shot of Lat Krabrang Station. This station is unusual in that the ticket office is above the platforms and also the new airport line station is built right next to it allowing very easy transfers to the eastern line.
38. This is a shot of where the new airport line turns south to head to its last station at Suvarnabhumi Airport (pronounced SUE WAN NA POOM). Note the old single line next to the nice new double track lines.
39. This is a picture of where the railway lines for the Inland port branch off from the eastern line. There are about 50 cargo trains a day operating to the inland port.
40. This is a shot of Pra Chom Klao Station. This is where you get off for KMITL (King Mongkut Institute of Technology Lat Krabrang) On university days this station gets quite busy. Note the passing airplane in the background haze.
41. This is a shot of the station facilities at Pra Chom Klao Station. This station has no ticket office and is a full time station.
42. This is an image of the next station sign at Hua Takhe Station. This station is where you can take a 40 to 50 baht taxi trip to Suvarnabhumi Airport. This is not recommended if meeting a plane, as the trains can be very late. Direct buses from inner Bangkok are a better way to Suvarnabhumi Airport.
43. This is an image of the overcrowded train I just got off as it leaves Hua Takhe station. This train is one of the few that continues beyond Chachoengsao. Note this station has been recently upgraded when the line was double tracked about 8 years ago.
44. This is the railway yard at Hua Takhe station. Sometimes cargo trains can be seen here waiting to enter the Lat Krabrang Inland Port.
47. This is a shot of the small garden in front of the Hua Takhe Ticket office and Signal box. This one is not as nice as Rangsit station’s garden.
48. This is a shot of the train ticket used on the eastern commuter line. Its only 7 baht for a non aircond 3rd class to Hua Takhe station. A trip of about 1 hour or 35 km.