Last week I visited Hualamphong station in central Bangkok. While there I tried out taking some night time pictures and videos with fairly reasonable results. Why I tried out night shots at Hualamphong station? It is simple its one of only a handful of locations with good lighting and a large number of trains which remain static for more than a few minutes. Therefore allowing time to take time delay night shots.
A little Background of Hualamphong station.
Hualamphong Station is the main terminal for SRT rail services in Bangkok. The station and its heritage building dates back to the early 1900s and is of European style and design as was common in that era. Hualamphong station is terminal station with no onward rail connections south of the station. However in 2004 the MRT subway opened which allows an onward rail connection but is not physically connected to the SRT system.
The station consists of a single large covered booking and waiting hall at the southern end of the station with 12 covered platforms some under the European style train hall roof but most platforms are under modern canopies. Most of the platforms are long enough to handle 24 carriage loco hauled passenger trains. All of the platforms are at track level meaning passengers have to climb up steps to get on the trains. This layout means people can cross between platforms at any point rather than just at the southern end.
Within the stations booking hall there is a food court and a number of fast food outlets that service departing and arriving passengers. On some platforms there are small food and drinks stands that sell directly to trains waiting to depart from that platform. Located just outside of the booking hall on platform 3 is the advanced booking office. Tickets for same day travel are purchased from the ticket windows at the northern end of the booking hall. However in practice one can purchase advanced booked tickets from any location on the SRT system.
Hualamphong station is one place in Bangkok where time has mostly stood still with very few major changes to the stations or platforms since the station opened 100 years ago. It provides a point of reference to view the changes to Bangkok over the years. Considering when it was built the station was located in the outer suburbs of Bangkok today it is considered an innercity area. Even the way things are done are a blast from the past such as loose shunting of passengers carriages onto platforms.
Today Hualamphong station has become increasingly crowded and delays to departing trains are common. These delays arise from the 3 following issues.
1. Overcrowding in the booking hall during peak periods leading to trains being held for passengers unable to buy tickets in time.
2. Traffic congestion blocking the level crossing at Yommarat and Chitlada this can delay arriving and departing trains by up to 30 minutes. Sometimes the police have been known to block these level crossings for VIP convoys and other reasons.
3. Loco breakdowns and carriage problems that occur at the last minute and can delay a trains departure from Hualamphong by any ware from a few minutes to an hour or more.
There are plans to move the entire station north to Bang Sue Junction. This new station would provide for an increased capacity and reduced delays due to being 8 km north of the current location and away from the traffic problems. Also as the new station will be very close to the locomotive workshop at Bang Sue this should mean running repairs to trains should be completed faster. Also with the current MRT connection and three future metro lines converging at Bang Sue (Purple Line: Bang Sue – Bang Yai), (Red Line: Bang Sue – Rangsit), (Red Line: Bang Sue – Taling Chan). This new station will service middle suburban and innercity Bangkok more effectively than the current arrangement.
The new Bang Sue station will have 12 platforms for intercity trains and 4 to 8 platforms for commuter trains. This is a project I strongly support as it will make the SRT train system a lot more reliable and allow for additional services in the future. However it due to open in 2015 but is very likely to take at least 10 years to be built due to the glacial nature of infrastructure projects and planning in Thailand.
As for what will happen to the current station it is likely most of it will be sold off or leased out for redevelopment as the land that Hualamphong station sits on is prime innercity land and has MRT access at the southern end making it highly valuable for almost any kind of project. However any project has to retain the heritage main station building. A likely use for that building is a museum or convention centre as its has a lot of open space inside.
As this topic relates to night time images therefore overnight trains are worth a mention.
There are basically 2 standards of sleeper car on SRT night trains. These are aircon 1st class sleeper which consists of two beds in a small room with a hand basin and a toilet at the end of carriage.
Then there are the aircon 2nd class sleeper these consists of about 40 beds arrange in upper and lower bunks down each side of the carriage. There are curtains around each bed for privacy but everyone is in the same room unlike 1st class. As the 2nd class sleepers are around half the price of the 1st class sleepers they are by far the most popular with a price range of 600 baht to 1000 baht per trip.
This is an image of a typical 2nd class sleeper carriage (Day mode).
This is an image of a typical 1st class sleeper twin berth cabin (Night mode).
The best overnight trains by route. (All trains below have 1st and 2nd class aircon sleepers)
Bangkok – Chiang Mai:
Special Express 1: Depart BKK: 6.00pm Arrive Chiang Mai:7.15am.
Special Express 13: Depart BKK: 7.35pm Arrive Chiang Mai: 9.45am.
Chiang Mai – Bangkok:
Special Express 2: Depart Chiang Mai: 5.50pm Arrive Bangkok: 7am.
Special Express 14: Depart Chiang Mai: 4.30pm Arrive Bangkok: 6.40am.
Bangkok – Nong Khai:
Express 69: Depart BKK: 8pm Arrive Nong Khai: 8.25am.
Nong Khai – Bangkok:
Express 70: Depart Nong Khai: 6.20pm Arrive Bangkok: 6.25am.
Bangkok – Ubon Ratchathani:
Express 67: Depart Bangkok: 8.30pm Arrive Ubon: 7.25am.
Ubon Ratchathani – Bangkok:
Express 68: Depart Ubon: 6.30pm Arrive Bangkok: 5.50am.
Bangkok – Hat Yai:
Special Express 35: Depart Bangkok: 2.45pm Arrive Hat Yai: 6.18am*.
Special Express 37: Depart Bangkok: 3.10pm Arrive Hat Yai: 7.18am**.
Hat Yai – Bangkok:
Special Express 36: Depart Hat Yai: 6.55pm Arrive Bangkok: 10.50am+.
Special Express 38: Depart Hat Yai: 6.05pm Arrive Bangkok: 9.40am++.
Notes: (Hat Yai – Bangkok)
* = Extends to Butterworth (Penang) arriving at 11.55am.
** = Extends to Sungai Golok arriving at 11.25am.
+ = Commences from Butterworth (Penang) departing at 1.15pm.
++ = Commences from Sungai Golok departing at 2.20pm.
Bangkok – Nakhon Sri Thammarat:
Express 85: Depart Bangkok: 7.30pm Arrive Nakhon Sri: 10.35am.
Nakhon Sri Thammarat – Bangkok:
Express 86: Depart Nakhon Sri: 3pm Arrive Bangkok: 5.35am.
Bangkok – Trang:
Express 83: Depart Bangkok: 5.05pm Arrive Trang: 7.55am.
Trang – Bangkok:
Express 84: Depart Trang: 5.20pm Arrive Bangkok: 8am.
Note: Trains can be delayed up to 3 hours for any reason so do not book tight onward connections.
Now onto the night time pictures and videos from around Hualamphong station. As these images where taken at night they will be a lot darker than normal for images on this site.
1. This is a shot of the 6.30pm train to Nong Khai. Taken as it was about to depart from Hualamphong station platform 11. Train type DMU Hitachi THN. This train has a single aircon carriage in the middle of the train otherwise its all 3rd class non aircon seats.
2. This is a movie of the departure of the 6.30pm DMU express train to Nong Khai. Note this train has a recently refurbished aircon carriage with aircon that actually works. The train takes about 11 hours to reach Nong Khai.
3. This is a movie of SRT loco number 4115 running light engine towards a set of carriages on platform 9. Loco type Alsthom Class 41 produced in 1975. This loco will operate the 6.55pm train to Ubon.
4. This is a general view of Hualamphong Station looking south along platforms 8 and 9. Taken just after sunset. In the middle of the shot is the 6.55pm train to Ubon.
5. This is a close up shot of loco 4115 on the 6.55pm train to Ubon Ratchathani. Loco type Class 41 Alsthom. Taken as it waits to depart from platform 9 at Hualamphong station.
6. This is a wider angle shot of loco 4115 taken looking south along platform 9 as it waits to depart for Ubon Ratchathani.
7. This is a movie of the departure of the 6.55pm train to Ubon Ratchathani. Note the white flashing lights this is to signal to the driver that it is safe to depart the station. Filmed from the northern end of platforms 8 and 9 at Hualamphong station. This train has no sleeper carriages and is mostly 3rd class seats very uncomfortable for overnight travel.
8. This is a shot of SRT loco 4407 taken just after it had arrived on a train from northern Thailand. Loco type Alsthom Class 44 produced in 1985. As the platform this loco is on is a terminating platform it will have to reverse with the train to run around to the northern end of the train.
9. This is a shot of a Daewoo aircon express DMU waiting to depart on the 7.20pm special express train to Chiang Mai. Taken from the southern end of the platform looking north. In the foreground are train cleaning and maintenance staff taking a rest. SRT DMU number 2528
10. This is a shot of a Daewoo aircon express DMU waiting to depart on the 7.20pm train to Chiang Mai. Taken from the tracks between platforms looking south. This type of DMU offers no sleeper accommodation but are the fastest trains that SRT operate with a top speed of 120kph. SRT DMU 2532.
11. This is an image of the Daewoo DMU and a Hitachi DMU Taken looking south along the platform. The Hitachi DMU THN1123 had just arrived at Hualamphong and was about to depart. The Daewoo aircon DMU will form the 7.20pm Chiang Mai train.
12. This is a movie of DMU 1123 departing as an empty cars train to the rail car servicing yard just north of Hualamphong station. Note how the doors where left open while running empty to the yard. This train is 3rd class non aircon.
13. This is a shot of DMU 2532 taken from a very low angle looking south along the platform at Hualamphong. DMU type: Daewoo. This type of DMU are the most comfortable that SRT operate.
14. This is a shot of DMU 2532 taken as it waits to depart on the 7.20pm train to Chiang Mai. These DMUs come in different lengths. 2 car, 3 car and 5 car.
15. This is a movie of the departure of 7.20pm special express train to Chiang Mai. Train type Daewoo DMU. Note how quiet this DMU is compared to other Thai trains. Also note how there are small openable windows despite the train being completely air conditioned. This is just in case the aircon fails on route.
16. This is an image of the 7.35pm Special Express train to Chiang Mai. Loco type Class 44 Alstrom. This train is very unusual in that it operates with two locos rather than one like on all other SRT trains including cargo.
17. This is a short movie of the departure of the 7.35pm double headed special express train to Chiang Mai. It appears the 2nd loco was not powering on departure but will be started later in the journey as needed. Loco type Alstrom Class 44.
18. This is a short movie of the departure of the 7.30pm express train to Nakhon Sri Thammarat. Loco number GEA 4549. Loco type general electric 2nd generation. Built in 1995. This type of loco are the most powerful that SRT operate. This train is the longest passenger train that SRT regularly operates with at least 22 carriages.
19. This is a movie of Loco 4003 on night time shunting duties. Filmed as it was moving a set of carriages onto platform 6 at Hualamphong. Loco type General Electric Generation 1. Built 1964.
20. This is an image of the 7.50pm DMU train to Sala At. Taken as it waits to depart from platform 11 at Hualamphong station. DMU number 1128. DMU type: Hitachi THN built in 1983.
21. This is an image of the 7.50pm DMU to Sala At. Taken from a closer position as it was about to depart from platform 11.
22. This is a movie of the departure of the 7.50pm DMU to Sala At. On the left hand platform a rather delayed 2 car DMU from Surat Thani was arriving. On the right is the Sala At train as it was departing. The Sala At DMU is mostly 3rd class non aircon with a single aircon car.
23. This is a shot of the 2 car Daewoo DMU set taken after it had arrive rather late from Surat Thani. This is the only daytime train from southern Thailand to Bangkok. DMU number 2520.
24. This is a movie of Loco 4003 Shunting some carriages onto platform 10 at Hualamphong station. In the foreground a station staff member can be seen putting the carriage number on each carriage as it passes by at a fair speed and sometimes having to chase after the carriage in the dark if he misses.
25. This is a short movie of Loco 4003 heading back to the rail yard north of Hualamphong station to collect more carriages for later trains. Filmed from on the tracks at northern end of Hualamphong station.
26. This is a movie of Loco 4213 running light engine down platform 8 to couple up to the 8.45pm express train to Nong Khai. Loco type Class 42 Alsthom built in 1980.
27. This is a movie of Loco 4555 running light engine down platform 9 to couple up to the 8.30pm express train to Ubon Ratchathani. Loco type 2nd generation General Electric built in 1995.
28. This is a shot of Loco 4555 on the 8.30pm express train to Ubon Ratchathani. Taken as it waits to depart from platform 9 at hualamphong station. Loco type 2nd generation General Electric.
29. This is a closer shot of Loco 4555 as it waits to depart on the 8.30pm Ubon Ratchathani express train. This locomotive is one of the newest in the SRT fleet and the most powerful.
30. This is a movie of the departure of the 8.30pm express train to Ubon Ratchathani. Filmed looking south along platforms 8 and 9 at Hualamphong station. Note the former JR sleeper carriages at the rear of this train. These offer the highest standard of 2nd class sleeper accommodation on SRT. The layout is in 4 berth cabins.
31. This is an image of the 8.45pm express train to Nong Khai. Taken as it waits to depart from platform 8 at Hualamphong station. Note the staff member cleaning the outside of the locomotive's windows. The SRT workers uniforms are not the best colour for night duties as it makes them blend into the darkness.
32. This another angle on Loco 4213. Taken as it waits to depart from platform 8 with the 8.45pm Nong Khai train. Loco type: Class 42 Alsthom built in 1980.
33. This is a shot of Loco 4044 taken as it waits to depart on the 8.55pm Phitsanulok rapid train. Loco type 1st generation General Electric built in 1966. This train is an all 3rd class seat service. These locos are the oldest in regular service.
34. This is a general view of platforms 3 to 6 under the European style train hall roof. Taken looking north along the platforms. When there are trains waiting to depart this area quickly fills up with diesel fumes that can become very thick.
35. This is a general view of the booking hall inside Hualamphong station. Taken looking toward Rama 4 road. This is the only station in Thailand with such a large enclosed air conditioned waiting area.
36. This is a general view of the booking hall at Hualamphong Station. Taken looking towards the platforms. Note the new electronic departure screens above the ticket offices. The picture in the middle is King Rama 5 who set up the SRT rail system over 110 years ago.
37. This is a closer view of the ticket booking offices at the northern end of the booking hall at Hualamphong station. Note the new flat screens above each ticket window that show which train they sell tickets for.
38. This is a close up view of the new train arrival information screen above the ticket offices. Note there are a few trains are running late. Rapid 112 from Denchai is a whopping 2 hours and 50 minutes late!
39. This is another view of the new train arrival information screen this time in Thai language. Both versions give the same information.
40. This is a shot of the new platform train information signs. These signs used to be manually changed plastic signs. Its a real step forward to change to coloured flat screen electronic signs.
I hope you enjoyed the images and information about Hualamphong station at night. If you have any comments or questions about this topic please post some comments below.
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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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Sunday, March 28, 2010
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.