In mid October 2009 I decided to attempt to photograph the southern line and its branch lines after the terrible trip to Hat Yai in January 2009. Things hopefully would go much better this time. But unfortunately things quickly went pear shaped starting right from the 1st day.
This trip occurred less than a week after a major accident on the southern line. This accident destroyed 3 carriages and killed 10 people. As a result the carriage I was meant to ride in, known as the “JR sleeper” was unavailable. After arriving at Thung Song station about 90 minutes late it was quickly found that SRT staff were being very unfriendly to everyone making it rather hard to photograph anything without people giving you hassles. In addition to the rude staff the weather was not great at Thung Song with frequent heavy rain showers.
The next day I decided to travel on to Chumphon about 5 hours north of Thung Song. This was not the original plan but as every branch line train was running 180 minutes or more down. This later was related to the start of a major strike action by train drivers and workshop staff over safety issues on the southern line. The staff involved in this strike showed total disregard for the passengers and cargo customers that has left a really bad taste in the mouths of many people in southern Thailand.
On the trip to Chumphon the loco broke down 5 times and delayed the 5 hour trip by over 3 hours by the time it got to Chumphon. The loco was an Alsthrom with the number 4211. This was the last time I took SRT trains during my trip in southern Thailand. After arriving in Chumphon that night all trains on the southern line where cancelled and for the next 7 days there where no trains of any kind except for one cargo train that was transporting army trucks, tanks and troops to Yala in the deep south to fight the rising insurgency in that area.
As a result of all this mess my second attempt at photographing the southern lines was cancelled and only a few photographs where taken in the end as the trip became a relaxing beach holiday at Chumphon. There will be no further attempts at photographing trains in southern Thailand
Thung Song station 757.08 km from Bangkok.
1. This is a general view of Thung Song station. Taken looking south along the platforms. To the left of the image is a large workshop and cargo yard. It was still raining a bit at the time this picture was taken.
2. This is a shot of the signal control panel inside the signal box at Thung song junction. Note the poor condition of the signal panel unlike at other locations most of the labels cannot be read as they have worn away over time. This is yet another sign of the maintenance problems within SRT.
3. This is a shot looking toward the loco repair workshop at Thung Song junction. In the foreground are some container flat wagons. Again the weather was rainy.
4. This is a shot looking south along the platform at Thung Song junction. In the background is a cement train waiting for a loco to take it to Bangkok later in the day. The water is pouring from the roof of the station.
5. This is an image of SRT loco 4209 approaching Thung Song Junction. This train is bound for Kantang another 2 hours a way but this train was over 4 hours late and should already be making its way back to Bangkok.
6. This is another angle on SRT loco 4209 taken as it was arriving into platform 1 at Thung Song Junction. Loco type Alsthom AHK built in 1980. The rain had finally stopped at this point.
7. This is a shot of the Kantang train as it waits for departure from Thung Song Junction. The staff member in the foreground is refilling the water tank on the 2nd class aircon sleeper carriage at the rear of the train.
8. This is a shot of Shunter 75. Taken looking south from within the yard. This type of Shunter is also used at Hualamphong station in Bangkok for moving passenger carriages around.
9. This is another angle on Shunter 75. Taken from within in the rail yard. If I recall these Shunters are of German origin.
10. This is an inside shot of the locomotive workshop at Thung Song Junction. Compared to other SRT workshops this one is quite clean. The locos in the background are GEK (General Electric) These date back over 50 years and are really due for replacement with something modern. The blue tiger locomotive that is used in Malaysia would be a good replacement for them.
11. This is an inside shot of the second class aircon carriage that I rode from Bangkok to Thung Song. This carriage is not the one I was meant to ride in but due to the accident a week before my trip where the JR carriage was destroyed to the annoyance of quite a few other local passengers.
Chumphon 468.53 km from Bangkok.
This next section of images where taken in and around Chumphon. There are no rail images in this section due to the major strike that cancelled all southern line train services. However there are some interesting shots of local mass transport in the Chumphon area.
Chumphon is the gateway to Ko Tao island which is popular with divers and people looking for a relaxing beach holiday. Chumphon is located about 15 km from the sea and acts mainly as a regional centre for the local farming and fishing industries.
If you are heading to Ko Tao , Ko Phangan or Ko Samui the most comfortable way is to travel via Chumphon. There are 3 Boat companies offering at least one return trip daily to each of the 3 islands.
The Timetable for Chumphon to Ko Tao, Ko Phangan and Ko Samui:
Depart Chumphon Arrive Ko Tao Ko Phangan Ko Samui Company
07.00 08.45 10.45 11.20 Lomprayah
07.00 09.30 11.00 11.30 Seatran
07.00 10.00 11.30 12.45 Songserm
13.00 14.45 16.10 16.40 Lomprayah
24.00 06.00 -- -- Night Boat
The Timetable for Ko Samui, Ko Phangan and Ko Tao to Chumphon:
Depart Ko Samui Arrive Ko Phangan Ko Tao Chumphon Company
08.00 08.20 09.45 11.45 Lomprayah
11.00 12.00 13.45 17.30 Songserm
12.30 12.50 14.15 16.15 Lomprayah
13.30 14.00 16.00 18.00 Seatran
-- -- 22.00 03.00 Night Boat
Lomprayah and Seatran both operate (2+2 seating 1st class aircon) Buses from Chumphon to Bangkok on a daily basis. But for a more comfortable bus ride try Patcharapon Tour who operate (1+2 seating) VIP double deck aircon buses 2 times a day 11.30am and 9.30pm with the trip taking around 7 hours to reach Bangkok. The cost is 400 baht per person per trip.
For more information contact the boat companies directly on the following numbers:
Lomprayah: 077570085 or 0819565644
Seatran: 077246086 – 8
Songserm: 077 506 205
Night Boat: 077 580 030
Patcharapon Tour (VIP bus): 077 502929 or 077 503666
Now onto the pictures from Chumphon.
12. This is a general view of Chumphon town taken looking west from the top of Morakot hotel in the centre of Chumphon. Note the building density of this town. This is fairly typical for most rural towns in Thailand to be built up in a compact urban layout.
13. This is a night time view of Chumphon town taken looking east from the top of Morakot hotel in Chumphon. The dark area in the middle of the image are the roofs of shophouses.
14. This is a shot of a Chumphon – Surat Thani Van service. Van number 474 – 05. Taken at the back of the Chumphon clothing market. Throughout southern Thailand a lot of short distance intercity routes are operated with 15 seat vans like this one.
15. This is a shot of the Route 474 Van terminal next to the Chumphon clothing market. In the background a local Chumphon taxi that was converted from a small pick up truck.
16. This is a shot of a Route 1785: Chumphon – Hat Sai Ree Truck bus. Taken looking west outside the Chumphon city council offices.
17. This is another angle on the Route 1785 truck bus. Truck bus number 1785 – 6. Unlike most other truck buses in Thailand this one has a wooden body placed onto an old Hino truck chassis.
18. This is an inside shot of the Truck – Bus 1785 – 6. Taken from the rear looking forward. Note how everything is made from wood even down to the grab rails on the roof.
19. This is a shot of the drivers seat area on Truck – Bus 1785 – 6. It is very basic no doors and most of the dials no longer work but these trucks only get up to about 60kph and stop at every waving hand along the road as these routes are all hail and ride with very few proper bus stops.
20. This is a short movie of a ride on a route 1785 truck bus along the coast from Paknam Chumphon to Pharadonpab Beach. Take note of the narrow concrete coast road and the nice tree lined seashore. Also another truck bus passes by heading towards Chumphon. This area has a very laid back lifestyle. The loading on this truck bus service is generally very light off peak.
21. This is an image of a route 1785 truck bus approaching the terminal at Hat Sai Ree. This beach is located very close to the famous Prince Chumphon Shrine. Hat Sai Ree beach is very quite most of the time and is mainly used by Chumphon locals for an evening meal of a weekend.
22. This is shot of the route 1785 truck bus that I took to head back to Chumphon from Hat Sai Ree after a few hours of relaxing on the beach. This was the same truck – bus as the one I took to the beach earlier in the day. Taken looking south along the beach front road.
23. This is a short movie of a ride on a route 1785 truck bus filmed as it travelled from Hat Sai Ree toward Chumphon. The road was undergoing an upgrade at this time so in some places the road is in poor condition. Unlike on the way to the beach I sat in the back to get a different view for filming. Once the truck got to Paknam Chumphon it filled up more.
24. This is a shot of a beach near Chumphon town one of the many beaches I spent an afternoon on. Most of these beaches are accessible by mass transport but only during daylight hours as most don't have bus services after 7pm at night due to low demand.
I hope you find the pictures and vehicles shown to be of interest if you view this please post some comments and feelings about the pictures.
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- After living and working in Thailand for over 5 years in October 2010 I relocated from Mahachai Thailand to Melbourne Australia. I have a wide interest in railways, ferries, metros, trams, buses and mass transit system planning throughout Thailand and the Asian region.
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- ▼ November 2009 (2)
Thai Mass Transport Topics List
- Welcome to the Thai Mass Transport Systems Blog
- The Buses of Rama 2 road
- The Buses of Wong Wian Yai
- SRT Mahachai Train runs with the doors wide open.
- A Trip from Wong Wian Yai to Bang Bon on the SRT Mahachai line.
- A Ride on Route 147 (Kanchana Phisek rd)
- A Ride on Route 146 (Kanchana Phisek rd)
- The New Southern Bus Terminal + Intercity buses.
- The Mass Transport Vehicles of Mahachai City.
- SRT: The Maeklong line and Maeklong railway market
- The Maeklong Bus Terminal
- The Modern Rail Based Mass Transit of Thailand
- The Modern Bus Based Mass Transport of Bangkok.
- The Mass Transport Boats of Bangkok (Chao Phraya Express)
- The Mass Transport Boats of Bangkok (Dao Khanong Klong Boat)
- The Mass Transport Boats of Bangkok (Klong Saen Saep Boat service)
- The Mass Transport Boats of Bangkok (Phra Khanong Klong Boat Service)
- SRT: The Mahachai line a trip from Bang Bon to Mahachai.
- SRT: The Mahachai Rail Yard.
- SRT: The Eastern Line and the construction of the Airport Rail Link.
- SRT: The Main System (Hualamphong Station and rail yard).
- SRT: A trip on the Ayutthaya Commuter Line (Main North line).
- The Buses of Suvarnabhumi Airport and Suvarnabhumi Bus Terminal.
- SRT: Prachuap Khiri Khan railway station and night shots.
- The Mass Transport of Prachuap Khiri Khan.
- A Summary Bus Guide to Bangkok’s Mass transport bus system.
- SRT: Thonburi Rail Yard + Thai Steam Engine Fleet.
- The Buses of Nakhon Pathom and Bus Route 402.
- SRT: The Thonburi to Nakhon Pathom Commuter Line.
- The Mega Mochit 2 Bus Terminal.
- Mochit 2: The Metro Bus Terminal.
- SRT: Bang Sue Junction and Station.
- The Main South line: Bang Sue to Taling Chan link.
- The Mass Transport of Samut Chedi and The Temple in the Sea.
- The Mass Transport of Kheha Thonburi + Vans of Rama 2.
- The Buses and Trucks of Paknam City
- The Mass Transport of Phra Pradaeng.
- Free BMTA Bus and SRT rail travel.
- SRT: The Queensland railways SX commuter carriages.
- A little extra BTS and SRT.
- The Bangkok BRT (Bus Rapid Transit System) and Buses of Thaphra.
- SRT Cargo Trains and Chachoengsao Junction (Eastern Line).
- SRT: Kaeng Khoi Junction night shots and movies.
- SRT: Hin Lap Station and Curve + Dong Phraya Yen Pass.
- Alternative Travel arrangements for Bangkok Airport Passengers.
- The Mega Victory Monument Metro Bus Terminal.
- The Eastern Bus Terminal.
- SRT: Cab Ride Mahachai Line: Bang Bon – Wong Wian Yai.
- The Buses of Rangsit.
- The Rangsit Metro Bus Terminal and Bus Depot.
- The Buses of Pathum Thani.
- SRT Northern Line: Paknam Pho Station and Yard.
- SRT: Kaeng Khoi Junction in the Daylight.
- SRT: Bua Yai Line and Chong Samran.
- The Buses of Saphan Taksin.
- The Buses of Sanam Luang and Tha Chang.
- The Buses of Nonthaburi.
- Chao Phraya Express Boats – The New Pak Kret Service.
- The Southern Line: Hat Yai Junction Station and Yard.
- The new BTS Extension to Wong Wian Yai.
- The Tha Din Daeng cross river ferry + Route 20 terminus.
- The Buses of Chinatown.
- The Eastern Line: Kabinburi and Prachantakam.
- SRT: Khok Salung and Pasak Chonlasit Dam.
- SRT: Southern line the second attempt.
- The state of the Mahachai Line and Bang Bon "Track Lake".
- The Mass Transit of Vientiane Laos.
- Udon Thani's Mass Transit System.
- Thai VIP Intercity Buses + Thai - Lao International Buses.
- The Mass Transit of Mukdahan.
- SRT: Hualamphong Station by Night + Overnight Trains.
- SRT Northern Line: Thailand's Highest and Longest – Khun Tan.
- The Bangkok Airport Rail Link: The fastest train in Thailand.
- SRT: Maeklong Line – Ban Bo Station.
- Bangkok BRT System: Chong Nonsi BTS (Sathorn) to Ratchapruek.
- SRT: Mahachai Line + Buses of Wong Wian Yai during morning peak.
- The new BTS extension from On Nut to Bearing.
- SRT Northern line: Steam Locomotives at Bang Pa In.