Historical Thai Railroads/SRT News 2003-2006

Thai Railway/SRT news - Historical
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SRT in 1953 - March 28, 2006
Airlana writes: I recently got a copy of The Railway Magazine (July 1953) which has an article on the State Railways of Thailand...
Thai trains reviewed in 1970 - February 15, 2006
page one - page two - page three - page four - page five - page six - page seven

Thai train - November 12, 2005

Bangkok-area trains circa 1931 - December 30, 2005
Wisarut found some amazing data in the rare book room of National Library...

From Geography of Bangkok Circle by Mr. Thad Phrammanop, 1931 (2000 copies sold at 1 baht each)

International Express Bangkok - Prai
Departure from Bangkok at 07:40 every Sunday and Wednesday
Arrival to Bangkok at 16:50 of every Wednesday and Saturday

Chiang Mai Express Bangkok - Chiang Mai
Departure from Bangkok at 16:00 every Sunday and Wednesday
Arrival to Bangkok at 09:55 of every Wednesday and Saturday

Regular trains from Bangkok to Phetburi, Rajburi, Nakhon Pathom, Ayutthaya, Lopburi and Chachongsao--going to those places in the morning and going back to Bangkok in the evening of the same days.

Commuter Tram services from Bangkok to Klong Rangsit and other station within Bangkok Circle several times a day.

Bangkok Station is the most important station in all the Royal Siamese Railway, with the clock in front of the station, with the space to park rickshaws and motorcars at separate facilities. Those who ride the tram can make a drop near Bangkok station since there are Tram stops nearby.

Bangkok station and its locomotive depot are as long as Rong Muang road.

Porter fee at the platform is 50 satang/trip or 5 satang/piece (then Bangkok Daily Mail cost the reader 5 satang). One baht fee would apply for the luggage over 100 kg--with the cart that carries only one piece of heavy luggage over 100 kg.

Bangkok Noy railway station is near the mouth of Bangkok Noy canal, Thonburi province. It used to be a terminal for all Southern trains until the opening of Rama 6 bridge.

There is a feeder service between Bangkok Noy and Talingchan junction. Those who want to go to Nakhon Pathom, Ban Pong, and Rajburi prefer Bangkok Noy since the tickets are cheaper. There is a commuter tram services between Bangkok Noy and Nokhon Pathom. Those who go from Phra Nakhon side will have to pay 2-3 satang for ferry row from Tha Phrachan pier. Most cargo trains from the South terminated at Bangkok Noy.

Bangsue Station is at the end of Techawanit Road near Siam Cement Co. Ltd. It will become a very important junction and a great station since the trains from the Northeast, North, and South meet at this station. Bangsue will have the main loco shed along with a railway yard gathering the passenger/cargo carriages and other railway facilities.

Special Royal station is on Sawankhaloke road, near Chitladda Palace. It has been named "Chitladda Royal Station." This special station is for His Majesty for the royal train trips and it will be the station for royal guests from abroad.

Makkasan station is the main RSR factory and maintenance center with a branch line to Maenam station at Chong Nonsee to receive the materials for RSR and for cargo to the port.

The facilities to receive rice and paddy from Paknam Pho and other places will be at Bang Son station near Rama 6 bridge so they can send the rice to the oceangoing ships at Mae Nam by using a steam crane. This is the reason why there is cargo service between Bang Son and Mae Nam.

Railway from Paknam Railway Co Ltd. The terminal is at Hua Lamphong Rama 4 road, not far from Bangkok station. It takes an hour for trams from Hua Lamphong to Pak Nam with the price tag of 50 satang. The tracks and trams (along with the old trains) looks very well-maintained

Mae Klong railway has a terminal at Pak Klong San, Thonburi province, opposite to Klong Phadung Krung Kasem (the new city moat). This line ends up at Tha Chin (Mahachai market, Samut Sakhon). There is a ferry to goes to another train that goes to Mae Klong. Those who live in Thachin used this line to carry fish and other seafood to Bangkok. The track from Pak Klong San would pass the fruit orchards all the way to Talad Ploo (the main community in Thonburi). This track would pass Pak Klong San District, Bang Yee Ruea district, Bukkalo district, and Bang Khun Thian district of Thon Buri. The electrified track is from Pakklong San to Wang Singh.

Those who live in central Bangkok or northern Bangkok should ride the boat from Ratchawonse pier to Talad Pool before connecting with Mahachai railway since it is cheaper and more convenient to go from Ratchawonse pier than from Si Phraya pier.

Bang Bua Thong railway is the narrow gauge railway with a terminal at Wat Boworn Mongkhon, opposite to the northern mouth of Phadung Krungkasem (Thewet). The tracks pass orchards to Bang Plad district, Talingchan district of Thonburi and Bang kruay district, Bang Yai district, all the way to Bang Bua Thong (Talad Phra Phimon) with an extension to Rahaeng Commune of Lad Lumkaeo district, Pathumthani. This has a branch line to Bang Yai and Nonthaburi (Bang Seethong Pier). There are several trains from Wat Lignkhob to Bang Bauthong Bangyai, Rahaeng and Nonthaburi while there is a cargo train from Nonthaburi to Lad Lumkaeo via Bang Buathong.

Thai sugar mills - November 4, 2005
Wisarut provides the following about sugar mills and locomotives in Thailand: For the case of Kyosan locomotives that ended up at sugar plantation (The steam engine on this page.), I think it should become a locomotive to transport tin ore in Phang-Nga or Phuket .....
The first industrialized sugar mill in Thailand was founded at Lampang in 1937 and the second industrialized sugar mill in Thailand was founded at Uttaradit in 1942. Both were state enterprise mills.
In 1942, the Government at that time founded Thai Industry Promotion Co. Ltd. as a state enterprise. The company purchased both Bang Buathong Railways (Bang Yeekhan - Nonthaburi and Bang Yai - Lad Lum Kaeo) and Tharuea Railways Co. Ltd. (Tha Rua - Phraphutthabat) on July 29, 1942 (requested on July 16, 1942) since the owners of both companies said the were no longer be able to carry the burden from the operational loss. Therefore, 60-cm gauge locomotives from both companies ended up at sugar mills!
Even though there are sugar mills around Thailand, most of them are in Kanchanaburi, Lampang, Kalasin, Chonburi, or Ratchaburi. It's unlikely that there would be any sugar mill in Songkla--even though there is a possible sugar plantation in Phatthalung... Nevertheless, I believe that some part of the sugar plantation belonged to the Faculty of Agro-Industry, Prince of Songkla University.

Transit history notes: Relocation of Bangkok Terminal to Bangsue in 1959 - September 24, 2005
Wisarut provides these transit history notes: Royal State Railway had expropriated large land plots from farmers around Bangsue in 1941 and during the 1950s around Chatuchak-Ladphrao to prepare for the future relocation of Bangkok Terminal. There was a committee for the relocation of Bangkok Terminal to Bangsue in 1959. However, the committee was dissolved in 1964 after the demise of Premier Sarit since there was strong demands to keep Hualamphong alive and well as the terminal.

Transit history notes: Financial report of Paknam Railway company in 1925 - September 23, 2005
Wisarut provides these transit history notes: The Financial Report of Paknam Railway Company in 1925 says that the company purchased the first set of electric rolling stock and related equipment for the price of 9,080 baht in 1925. The electrification of Paknam Railway and Thachin section of Mae Klong Railway (Klongsarn - Wat Sai) was approved by King Vajiravut in 1921, but the discussion about the plan to purchase the equipment for electrification of Paknam Railway was not started until September 25, 1925. The economic downturn after WWI dragged the electrification project down. A similar situation occurred with the electrification of Mae Klong Railway (Tahchin section).

Transit history notes: Electrification of Railways - September 24, 2005
Wisarut provides these transit history notes: The Royal State Railway proposed the electrification of railways in 1927-1929 (Bangkok - Rangsit, Bangsue - Talingchan, Bangkok Noy - Talingchan, Bangkok - Maenam, Bangkok - Makkasan - Chachoengsao). However the estimated cost for electrification was enormous and diesel locomotives had proved to be a good alternative to the steam engine locomotives. Therefore, the electrification project was frozen since then.
Info from the National Archives shows that Maeklong Railway even planned to electrify the section from Wat Singh to Bangbon (2 km). This was approved by Prince Boriphat (a regent when King Prajadhipok and Queen Rambhaibannee were visiting USA) in 1931. However, further electrification beyond Wat Singh could not materialize even though the company did make a profit on the line.

Transit history notes: Phraphutthabat Railway - September 21, 2005
Wisarut provides these transit history notes: The 100 Year Thai Railways mentions the Phraphutthabat Railway. It was opened for service in 1902 from Tha Rua Station of Ayutthaya to Phraphuttabat District of Saraburi to facilitate those who make a pilgrimage to Phraphutthabat (Buddha's Footprint), Saraburi. The Royal Siamese Railway passed only Saraburi provincial district and Kaeng Khoi, but not Phraphuttabat. Therefore Prince Narathip (the owner of the Red line tramway) decided to set up a rail track to Phraphuttabat. Tharuea Railway (the company running Phraphuttabat Railway) signed a concession with the Royal State Railway around 1922 so as to follow the Railways and Highways Act of BE 2464 (1921). The concession was to expire January 1, 1958. However, the WWII changed all of that since Mom Luang Nitiyaport sent a letter to the Minister of Transportation on July 16, 1942 for the cessation of Tha Rua Railway when the service become unprofitable after Phaholyothin Road has expanded to Lopburi (passing Phraphuttabat district). There were five stations along the railway line from Tha Ruea to Phraphuttabat.

Out to raise a sunken train - The Nation, April 14, 2005
Denizens of Ratchaburi may soon witness a Japanese steam-engine locomotive rise from its watery grave – if, that is, the attempt to retrieve the World War II-era train does not undermine Chulalongkorn Bridge...
Suchart went on to say his divers had taken pictures of the submerged train wreck. Subsequent inspection ascertained it was a Japanese model C56, with the locomotive and carriages lying close to each other...

All about Chachongsao Line - March 29, 2005
Wisarut writes: I just dug into the archives and found a book about the Opening of Chachongsao Line (Printed in 1933)...

All about Chachongsao Line - March 29, 2005
Wisarut writes: I just dug into the archives and found a book about the Opening of Chachongsao Line (Printed in 1933).
The construction of Eastern railway to Chachongsao started in Ror Sor 124 (AD 1905).
Opening date was January 24, Ror Sor 126 (Now AD 1908).
So far, I found the list of station as follows:
1) Bangkok
2) Bang Krasan (now Makkasan)
3) Klong Saen Saeb (now gone and Klong Tan Station is a replacement - originally a halt, upgraded later to Station Class 3)
4) Ban Hua Mark (now Hua Mark)
5) Ban Thub Chang
6) Klong Thee Song (now gone and Lad Krabang station is a replacement)
7) Hua Takhe
8) Klong Luang Phaeng
9) Klong Preng (AKA Klong Phraya Decho station, now Preng station)
10) Klong Bang Phra
11) Muang Chachongsao (AKA Paed Riew Station)
The inaugural trip started from Bangkok at 9:48:58am and it reached Muang Chachongsao station (AKA Paed Riew Station) at 11:00am.
The total distance from Bangkok to Chachongsao (AKA Paed Riew) is 63.4 km.
The price of land purchased by Railway Dept - 29 baht/rai (at the day 1 GBP = 11-13 baht) -> total 45,000 baht.
Rail type: Standard Gauge - 25 kg/meter [50 Lb/yard].
The Railway Dept used rice husk as the core of the track bed with clay and mud to cover the rice husk and ballast will cover the clay and mud later. The price of the track bed is 500,000 baht.
There were two wooden bridges, 10 iron bridges with the pillars made from bricks and some iron bridges with steel pillars and Railway Dept covered the steel pillars with cement later on.
Sleepers came from from Khorat and Ballast came from Pak Priaw (Saraburi) and Chong Khae (Chong Khae district of Saraburi).
Only Chachongsao Station had brick buildings with roofs made from ceramic tiles with loco shed and a turntable as well as a resting place for loco drivers and officers of the maintenance section.
The Railway Department ordered 16 locos, 1 inspection car, and 85 good bogies from Prussia. Furthermore, 73 passengers cars were imported from Britain and 180 rice bogies from Belgium.
Total construction costs: 3.2 million baht (51000 baht/km)
There was a single trip from Bangkok to Chachongsao and another return trip from Chachongsao to Bangkok.
Note: 1) Saen Saeb canal station was in Nakhon Khuenkhan Province (The Phra Khanong and Klong Tan area was in the jurisdiction of Nakhon Khueankhan province).
2) Klong Thee Song (Second Canal) was in Minburi province.
Also: I got the info from the 50 Year Thai Railway (Published by Railway Dept in 1947) that Khun Tan Tunnel was originally designed for standard gauge so after regauging into meter gauge, there was a space left inside the tunnel.

Engine from Japanese WWII military train to be recovered - Bangkok Post, February 19, 2005
After six decades lying under water, a locomotive from a Japanese military-owned train that was bombed by the Allies during World War II will be retrieved from the Mae Klong river in Muang district and put on display as a tourist attraction...

(Photo: Nils)

Working steam locos - January 22, 2005
Nils reports: From December 4-6 we were in Kanchanaburi once again, and that trip finally provided me with the opportunity to see Thai steam locomotives in action for the first time. After arriving (by minibus) near to the train station, I was taking some pictures of the Garrett type loco that is plinthed in front of the station, when suddenly I heard the sound of a steam whistle! I ran towards the platforms and became witness of the arrival of two fully operational steam locomotives which subsequently carried out some shunting manoeuvres and refilled their water supplies.
These two locos were part of the activities for the annual River Kwai Festival and were used in the Sound and Light Show at the bridge that we watched later that evening...

[So Nils asked Wisarut for info on these locos.] Do you know something about these two locos no. 713 and 715 used for the River Kwai Festival Light and Sound Show at the beginning of December? Such as manufacturer (certainly Japanese make), type, year, usage history, where are they kept now?
Wisarut explains: It is C56 Mogul wheel (2-6-0) produced by Hitachi. There are 164 locos of C 56 type produced by Hitachi from 1935 to 1942 and the first 90 locos are regauged and sent into the SEA battlefields some were lost and only 46 locos of C56 type were retrieved.
C56 locos were very popular for both driver crews and maintenance staffs alike. The only catch is due to the limited size of water reserve (10 cubic meters) and small tender necessitates water stops and wood resupply en route. C56 locos are almost always kept in Thonburi sheds.
Look at C56 photo taken by Moh Rakphongse (a physician from Kanchanaburi--the head of Thai Railfan Club).
For the case of Garatte, this type of locos had been used in the section between Kaeng Khoi to Pak Chong (55 km)--one of the most troublesome section of the Thai railway due to steep hill (26 mill). RSR had used the powerful 0-10-10 Hanomag loco for this section before, but the result was not very satisfactory. So in 1929, RSR had to order six Garatte locos (No. 451-456) from Henschel for this troublesome section after observing the successful function of Garatte in Burma and India. Even though the first batch worked pretty well, the the firebox is too modest for the hill section and requires lots of water and firewood.
The second batch (No 457-458) ordered in 1936 were a much improved version of Garatte due to increased firewood and water capacity and an enormous firebox. However, Garatte class is not a very popular class for Thai railway workers since it requires heavy firewood and water so no further orders for Garatte. They just reduced the loading for Kaeng Khoi to Pakchong section so as to run the standard Mikado steam locos ordered from Japan (from 1936 to 1951). After the 1950's, SRT retired those Garatte once more diesel locos were available as a replacement.
This 457 Garatte loco was stationed in Kaeng Khoi until its retirement in 1964. Later on, it was moved to be preserved at Bangsue until Thai Railfan discovered that it was in a very sorry state of preservation. Therefore, this loco was moved to Kanchanaburi which has more open space to show locos to the public than Bangsue which is off-limits to the public.

(Photo: Nils)

Bang Buathong Railway in 1930 - January 19, 2005
Wisarut provides background for a historic railway for 2Bangkok.com historic map buffs: Here is a scanned map of Bang Buathong Railway in 1930 (873kb) from the National Archives. The line intersects with Southern Railway at Bang Bumru station. Note that the line has reached Wat Rahaeng, Lad Lumkaeo district of Pathum Thani even though Phraya Woraphongsephiphat (the founder of Bang Buathong Railway) wished that his railway would eventually reach Suphan Buri to enable Suphanburi people to link with the rest of the country by land. At that time the only transportation to Suphanburi was by boat from Thatian up stream to pass Lan The (near Bang Sai) and then connect with the place where Chao Phraya and Thachin has branched out--taking about two days to reach Suphanburi.
Now, there is a railway to Suphanburi, but sadly there is only one trip to Suphanburi and one trip back to Bangkok. SRT is planning to turn the section from Nong Pladuk to Suphan Buri into a special tourist line which will shorten the commuter line from Suphanburi to Nakhon Pathom since there are too few passengers riding the train to Suphanburi. Only 2-3 passengers ride all the way to Suphanburi. Highways constructed by the company run by former PM Banharn Silpaacha are the big killers for the Nong Pladuk-Suphanburi line.

Railroad routes extended - January 8, 2005
Wisarut reports: The Southern Thai Railfan says that the railway from Ban Thung Pho was extended from Khirirat Nikhom to Ban Takhun because the railhead has been extended to Khao Phanom Benja. However, the section from Khirirat nikhom to Khao Phanom Benja is sunk in Ratchaprapha Dam...

Thai railway models - January 5, 2005
Thai railway workers at Ban Phachi Junction have customized model trains to look like Thai trains.

Kwai track question - November 10, 2004
Nils asks: Why are there 4 rails on the River Kwai Bridge (right)? Is that a mixed gauge? But it is only like this on the bridge! The inner rails end at the bridge head.

(Photo: Nils)

Old train photos - July 10, 2004
Wisarut found Khuntum's selection of historic Thai Railway photos along with his own photographs taken as he rides bicycle along the rails.

Fate of the Meaklong Railway locomotives - May 11, 2004

Tales of obscure SRT stations
- April 20, 2004
writes: There are lots of anecdotes and stories from the time I was there (1988-1990). I was closely involved in the development of the Sattahip to Bangkok freight service, and in anything else freight related at that time.
As a starter, I once was taken on a 7 day guided tour of freight locations in Southern Thailand. The highlight for me was a trip to Kiri Rathanikhom.
We started from Surat Thani and used a taxi which was a huge American car from the sixties. It rained heavily the whole way. The rain started dripping onto me and my Thai railway colleague through the broken rear window. We used the Bangkok Post rolled up to channel the water away from us and down the loudspeaker housing on the rear shelf of the car, much to my colleague's amusement.
Because of the rain, it was dark. Darker still as most of the journey was through deep rubber plantations. The roads were flooded, and driving through the red mud was like driving through thick tomato soup, with the car swinging across the road from side to side.
Eventually we got to a small amphur, with a new bank and a few houses. We found the station and woke up the station manager, who, unusually for SRT, was in his vest rather than a smart uniform. To say he was astonished to see us would be an understatement. My colleague was asked to sign the station record to say that he had visited - apparently the first railway manager for many years!
Kiri is served by a single passenger train each day - which we missed seeing. It also has a small freight terminal for timber which is hardly ever used. It appears to be a remnant of SRT's ambitions to serve Phuket. But at least I can say I have been there...

2Bangkok.com regular Reiner responds: I have been there, too...

Some time last year I decided that I wanted to go as close as possible by rail to Phuket. On 22nd May we set out on the daylight special express diesel railcar no.43 to Surat Thani. The 2-car Daewoo(APD 2537,2541), well serviced, left Hua Lamphong punctually at 07:45, for arrival Surat Thani at 16:20. The one and only train to Khiri Ratthanikom was to depart at 16:55. Fearful of SRT's not always strict schedule-keeping, we sought reassurance that the connecting train would wait for us. No, it will not, was the answer and that was an indication to the volume of long distance travellers changing at Surath to Khiri. In fact there were probably none, except for our small party on this day. Fears were groundless; no.43 arrived perfectly in time and found Henschel no. 3015 with 4 BTC (Bogie,trailer,3rd class) waiting for departure.

It gradually filled, practically to capacity, with an assortment of school-children and students, and seats, if not occupied by passengers, were packed with school bags. Few were other than students, but all seemed to know each other - except for
those strangers - where were they going to and why? Khiri Ratthanikom??? I counted a total of 7 or 8 intermediate stops after Ban Thung Pho Jct were the line branches off at km 631 of the Southern Line. 3rd stop - Bankanai - many off, say my records and
5th stop - big pig next to the platform; one boarding passenger - and then the train went on through thick vegetation and insufficiently cut tree branches which scraped the cars, for a total of 31,765 km.

Khiri Ratthanikom prides a classical; wooden station building, a long passing loop and friendly SRT staff who were wondering what,
at 6 o'clock in the evening, we were up to. Hotel? No hotels in this village and next and only train back at 6 next morning. Prior to accommodation concerns were worries about nightfall before we could see the end of the line and what would be beyond the end... The station master meantime kindly showed us the sanitary facilities of the station and offered to sweep the wooden floor
in one of the rooms for us to spend the night unless finding something "better". - I had been intrigued by several maps showing the line extending beyond Khiri for at least another 20 km near to a place called Ban Thakun. Beyond the buffer we found, indeed,
track extending into the unknown of undergrowth, crossing a gravel road (underneath the gravel) and continuing beyond sight.

The "better" solution for the night was a songteow to Ban Thakun, not the least in the vague and eventually disappointed hope of
finding the "real" end of the line, possibly close to the road to Egat's facilities at Ratchaprapha/Chieo Lem Dam.

No public transport is provided between no. 401 highway from Surat Thani and the reservoir; no songteows vie for passengers. A friendly Egat-official helped us to and fro and even guided us to a wonderful tour of the lake. Why does SRT not make better use of their line, including the last 20 km, and allow visitors an easy access to the lake and the associated Khao Sok National Park?

Construction of the line, supposed to ultimately reaching Phuket, commenced in 1952 (or 1951?), and was under way in 1953 over
83.340 km from Tung Pho to Thanun. A preliminary survey had been budgeted for the extension to Phuket province. Total expenses incurred to date were THB 26,156,990.25. By the end of fiscal year BE2498(1955) THB 35,814,093.12 had been spend
but there had been no budget grant during that year and 4,691,261.30 came out of SRT's own coffers. In 1978 SRT's annual report lists 31,765 km "under operation". What happened to the missing 52 km? Why were about 20 km built but never used? Why
can we still reach neither Phangnga nor Phuket by train? Why are 32km of track maintained and operated by one train a day with a locomotive and 4 cars at 8 Baht per full-paying passengers (but there were practically only concession fares on board) and that
in one or the other form probably for the last 50 years, or so? SRT-enigma! Who knows more?

Distance (km) Station
2.3 Sala Deng (Saladaeng)
5.2 Klong Toi (Klong Toei)
7.1 Ban Kluei (Ban Kruay)
8.9 Prakonong (Phrakhanong)
10.5 Bangdjak (Bang Chak)
12.0 Bang Na
14.8 Samrong
17.3 Chorakhe
18.8 Bang Nang Greng (Bang Nangkreng)
20.0 Mahawong (Mahawongse)
21.3 Paknam
Paknam Railway Stations in 1916 - April 20, 2004
Wisarut writes: I got this list of Paknam Railway Stations from the National Achieves. This one is from 1916.
There were two additional intermediate stations before nationalization on September 12, 1936.
Stops only at the request of the passengers
Only 4 trips from Bangkok to Paknam and another 4 trips from Paknam to Bangkok from 6am to 6pm. Also, the trains can depart from the station 5 minutes ahead of schedule.

Foundation stone of Paknam Railway Station - April 8, 2004
Wisarut reports: SRT workers feel very angry at Uncle Sanphasiri (the founder of Railway Hall of Fame and Thai Railfan) since he has not returned the foundation stone to make the terminal of Paknam Railway Station. I would suggest uncle Sanphasiri to make a replica of the Foundation Stone before returning it to SRT so that SRT could put it in the permanent Railway Museum.

SRT to open three railway museums in Bangkok
- translated and summarized by Wisarut Bholsithi from Transport Journal, March 1-7, 2004
1) the second floor of the Main Building of Thonburi Station (now transferred to Siriraj Hospital)
2) Hua Lamphong [perhaps this is in the subway station?]
3) The area around The Railway Library, SRT School of Engineering (Building 11, Railway Park). [This Library is open from 8am to 4pm Monday to Friday. Very inconvenient. Nevertheless, you can see a Mikado Steam Locomotive with the bogey nearby.]
After the three railway museums are set up in Bangkok, SRT will set up the provincial Railway Museums in Chaingmai, Hat Yai, Kanchanaburi, and Ayutthaya.

Wor Waen signs - February 24, 2004
Wisarut recently explained in the forum what the 'Wor Waen' signs along railroad tracks mean: If you see the sign "Wor" during the railway trip, that is the sign to indicate a whistle should be blown.

There are different kinds of Wor Waen signs.
1) The first one - Wor Waen on a white circular sign of 2 feet in diameter - common locomotive whistle. Look at the old dilapidated Hatyai-Songkla line as the example (photo right).
2) The second type - long whistle for a crossing without a block to prevent cars from passing.
3) The third type - for a crossing with a block, but no traffic light.
4) The fourth type - for a crossing with a block and a traffic light.
5) The fifth type - the rarest -> for a crossing with a block and only a railway traffic light.
Wor Waen is letter "W" in Thai alphabet. It is a short name for "whood rotfai" (railway whistle).

(Photo: 2Bangkok.com)
Hualampong monument - February 13, 2004
Phatraphon Uno sent in this photo (right) of the monument at Hualampong that marks the birthplace of rail transport in Thailand (end of the platform 6-7).

(Photo: Phatraphon Uno)

All about the delivery of locomotives to Thailand in the 1950's - January 26, 2004

C.Thomas Wagner, from Kassel, Germany writes: I have recently come across the two diesels built by Henschel (mfr. nos. 25404 & 25405, filling up war- lost order nos.) for this "outer suburban" light railway system in 1956, delivered 1957, and designated SRT "D1" (and presumably "D2"); and in hope someone of both your audience will remember them, I do submit the attached digital copy (85kb) of a 46-year-old local press clipping from Friday, 28 December, 1956, of the local Kassel press.

It reports about the test delivery of a blue-liveried lightweight diesel- hydraulic locomotive of "prairie" axle arrangement to the second Kassel suburban tramway system, running at metre-gauge in contrast to Kassel's city trams.

I would generally refer to the info by following quotation: "BANGKOK's other suburban line, the Meklong Railway, connected the Thon Buri section of Bangkok on the west bank of the Chao Phraya River with the town of Ma Klong. The 34 km route was divided into two unconnected sections by the Meklong River at the fishing village of Maha Chai. The eastern section of the line was electrified in 1926-27 after the company was purchased by the government. It was de-electrified in 1955."

Herkulesbahn tramway was built in 1902 to convey lignite and basalt rock lumps from mines and quarries of the western local hills to the Kassel-Wilhelmshoehe freight station. It operated electrically from the very beginning, and started passenger operation in 1903, conveying passengers to the "Herkules" monument on the hills west of Kassel. 1924 marks the introduction of regenerative braking on freight trams, which saved 25% of electricity thanks to the load direction being downhill. Suffering lack of investment and modernization since being taken over by City tramways in 1927 (the normal rail-killing "investment jam"), the line closed for freight in 1961, and for passengers in 1966.

Kassel's Henschel locomotive works (now a subsidiary of Bombardier Rail Transport division) had established a long-standing customer relationship with Siamese railways since 1910, always delivering modern technology to Thai metals, as Garratt steam in 1929, diesel- electric bogie units in 1930, 1947, and 1950 (in cooperation with Brown-Boveri, Sulzer, and Oerlikon, of Switzerland). Late in 1956, the order by SRT for two novel lightweight 440-hp MAN-powered diesel-hydraulic locomotives had taken shape in the Kassel production sites, and with the units being somewhat novel in having side-rods, yet no jackshaft whatsoever, there was a desire to have them tested under load prior to delivery to the customers, who were known to have very tight specification rules for commissioning trials.
With the Swiss "Rhetian Railways" (RhB, test site for the preceding heavier RSR diesel-electric mainline locos) unavailable, and German metre-gauge either decrepit, in the then- Soviet Eastern part, or already shut down, the second Kassel tramway system "Herkulesbahn" was the straw to rescue the situation. This line was commissioned as a "Light Railway", not a "Tramway", so running a railway loco wasn't a problem for authorities. On 27 December, 1956, a road lorry with a "lowboy" carrier trailer conveyed the blue (Henschel- liveried) loco to the roadside near the Herkulesbahn depot, to unload it via temporary and run trials overnight. I have no indication that the steep final incline to the "Herkules" monument (permitted for passenger trains only) was included in the trials, but the line was suitable for an axle load of 9 tonnes (metr.) and had been built not only to accommodate 2.4 m wide domestic rolling stock, but also with lateral clearances of 1.5 metres between any lineside obstacle and the track axis. Wires were high enough to permit 4.8 m high vehicles (i.e. the steeple- cab freight motors). Thus, the SRT Meklong Railway "D1" could have felt instantly "at home". Quarry trailers might have provided a suitable load - 50 tonnes uphill a 3 % grade, and if this had been deemed insufficient, a freight motor might have been attached and switched into regenerative braking mode. However, the scope of the nightly Kassel trial runs remains in the dark so far.

I wonder if any of the two locomotives still exists, or how they fared. Somewhat sad to learn that they seem to have "helped" in de-electrification of the "Meklong" railway line.

The positioning of the hydraulic transmission is yet to be clarified. Normally, a cardan shaft from the diesel crankshaft drives the Voith torque converter, which was / is directly linked to the reverse and maybe the fast/slow transmission gearboxes, who then propel the jackshaft, or later, the cardan shaft(s) linking to the angular gearboxes of the bogies (as proved to be the case with the 1964 delivery of Henschel's RSR class 3000- locos 3001 - 3027). In these lightweight "DH 400 1C1" "prairie diesels" the propulsion shaft off the reverse gearbox must have driven pinion and spur gears in turn driving one of the rod- coupled centre wheelsets. I deem it unlikely that a hollow shaft with flexible drives embraced one of the axles, yet permit vertical misalignment due to deflection of the suspension. Rather, the entire gearbox may have been resting on that axle as the propulsion shaft proper, and thus considerably increase the "unsprung mass" (bad for the tracks & pointwork). However, I am prepared to learn more of the locomotives, as no-one in Kassel seems to remember them.

There is literature (Henschel-Lokomotive-Pocketbook 1960, pp.453, 508) confirming the data as given in the German text, as 7 m (2+3+2) m wheelbase, 33.4 t operable tare weight, 7 tonnes max. axle load, 6 t on pilot axles, 914 mm driving wheel diam.; 440 hp MAN 8-cyl. turbocharged 1100 rpm diesel, 540 L fuel cpy., 55 km/h (34.2 mph) max. speed, 63 kN max. tractive effort, 90 metres minimum radius. Previously, Deutz of Cologne had built a similar lightweight unit in 1950 for Sri Lanka, but for 762 mm-gauge.

I personally did not witness the Kassel scene, and have only recently been sent a digital copy of the press clipping, which had been collected by deceased local enthusiast F.Schoentaube. By contrast, there are still lots of reminiscences of the RSR class 3000, which did comprise lots of standard German Federal Railways loco parts, and indeed were test-run on special 4ft, 8.5in standard-gauge bogies towing real 1200- tonne freight trains, instead of a class 44 decapod steamer.

Related link: A trip on the Maeklong Commuter

More on the D1 & D2 locomotives - January 27, 2004
Wisarut comments: I would like to tell Herrn. Wagner that both D1 and D2 Diesel-Hydrolic Locomotives are gone for good. The last time the author of Railways of Thailand saw these locomotives at Maeklong shed was in 1987. However, both of them disappeared in 1989. The 72-Year Thai Railway book (published by the defunct SRT Press in 1970) said that the electric tram from Klong Sarn to Wat Sai was shortened to Wongwian Yai on January 1, 1961 and then the tram on railway tracks (Wongwian Yai - Wat Sai) was gone for good after the cabinet resolution on December 19, 1961.
Now the Tokyu DMUs have taken over the task of those old diesel locomotives on the Mae Klong line. I hope that after the construction of the bridge from Maha Phruttharam to Lad Ya, an elevated railway line connecting Hua Lamphong and Wongwian Yai together could be constructed too to help modernize Mae Klong Railway (at least the Mahachai section).

SRT wallpaper - January 26, 2004
Some interesting shots--including the former Thonburi Station.

Thai railway links - November 6, 2003
Wisarut points out the following:
The locomotives and Bogeys of Thai Railways
Terminals of Thai Railway Networks - and the old Steam Locomotives
The Terminals - Junctions

Back to the main Thai Railways/SRT page

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