A Timeline of Thai Railways

The following list includes all rail-bound mass transit: railways, trams, Skytrain and Subway; but excludes industrial branch lines for sugar factories, rubber plantations and the like.

Note: Names and routes of the Bangkok tram lines are somewhat disputed and vary according to different sources. The details of the early ownership changes of the first line are also not clear.


22 September 1888

First Bangkok Tram Line (horse-drawn) opened between City Pillar and Thanon Tok (AKA Bangkholaem Line) by a Danish company

between 1889-91?

Tram line sold to British company Bangkok Tramways Co., Ltd.

1890

Royal Siamese Railway (RSR) founded

1891

Bangkok-Ayutthaya-Nakhon Ratchasima Railway construction started (originally standard gauge)

23 May 1892

Tram ownership transferred [? back to Danish company and subsequently ?] to Siam Electricity Company Ltd. (SEC)

01 February 1893

Tram Line No. 1 electrified

11 April 1893

Hualamphong-Paknam Railway (private) opened [21 km]

26 March 1897

Hualamphong-Ayutthaya Line (state-run) opened [71 km]

01 May 1897

Ayutthaya-Ban Phachi-Kaeng Khoi extension opened [53 km]

03 March 1898

Kaeng Khoi-Muak Lek extension opened [27 km]

25 May 1899

Muak Lek-Pak Chong extension opened [28 km]

21 December 1900

Pak Chong-Nakhon Ratchasima extension opened [85 km]

01 April 1901

Ban Phachi-Lopburi section of Northern Line opened (originally standard gauge) [43 km]

September 1901

Bangkok Tram Line No. 2 opened between Bang Krabue and Hualamphong (AKA Samsen line), owned by Bangkok Tramways Co., Ltd., which has become a subsidiary of SEC; Atsadang and Ratchawong feeder lines added later

19 June 1903

Thonburi-Phetchaburi section of the Southern Railway opened [150 km]

04 January 1905

Khlong San-Mahachai Railway (private) opened for the public (official opening ceremony by King Vajiravut on 29 December 1904) [33.1 km]

01 October 1905

Bangkok Tram Lines No. 5, 6 and 7 opened: between Banglamphoo and Hualamphong (AKA Hualamphong Line); between Thewet and Wat Liab (AKA Dusit Line); and the City Circle Line – all owned by the Siamese Tramways Co., Ltd. of HRH Prince Naradhip

31 October 1905

Lopburi-Pak Nam Pho (Nakhon Sawan) section of Northern Line opened (originally standard gauge) [117 km]

1905 or 1906

Tha Ruea-Phra Phutthabat Railway (750 mm gauge) opened

1907-1918

Construction of the Khun Tan Tunnel

around 1908

‘Phra Pradaeng Tram‘opened – a private concession, gasoline-driven tram on a meter gauge rail shortcut through the narrowest land portion within the Chao Phraya River bend (Samut Prakan)

24 January 1908

Pak Nam Pho-Phitsanulok section of Northern Line opened (originally standard gauge) [149 km]

24 January 1908

Yommarat-Makkasan-Chachoengsao section of Eastern Line opened (originally standard gauge) [61 km]

01 February 1908

Bangkok Tramways Co., Ltd. (now a subsidiary of SEC) becomes a major shareholder of Siamese Tramways Co., Ltd.

11 August 1909

Ban Laem-Maeklong Railway (private) opened [33.8 km]

15 August 1909

Ban Dara-Sawankhalok branch line opened (originally standard gauge) [29 km]

15 February 1910

Makkasan-Khlong Toey Line (AKA Port Railway, Maenam Railway) opened (originally standard gauge) [5 km]

June 1910

Makkasan Railway Plant (depot and maintenance center) opened

circa 1910-1912

Short feeder tram line between mouth of Khlong Samsen and Wachira Hospital (‘Sukhothai Line’) opened

1913

Separation of Thai Railways into a Northern and Southern Railway Department – under German and British influence, respectively

01 January 1914

Phetchaburi-Hua Hin-Wang Pho [82 km] and Phatthalung-U Tapao [84 km] sections of Southern Railway opened; Thung Song-Kantang and Hat Yai (U Tapao)-Songkhla [29 km] branch lines opened

01 October 1914

Khao Chumthong-Nakhon Si Thammarat branch line opened [35 km]

between 1914

and 1918

Junction of Southern Railway and Songkhla branch line relocated to Hat Yai due to frequent flooding at U Tapao

1915

Thonburi-Bang Bua Thong Railway (750 mm gauge) opened

01 April 1916

Phitsanulok-Lampang section of Northern Line opened [252 km]

01 September 1916

Bang Saphan Yai-Chumphon section [92 km] of Southern Railway opened: Southern Line between Bangkok and Hat Yai (U Tapao) completed

1917

Merger of Northern and Southern Railway Departments

01 July 1918

Hat Yai-Padang Besar Line opened [29 km] (connection with Malayan Railway: 01 March 1918)

02 January 1919

First international express from Thonburi to Malaya

September 1919

Decision to use meter gauge nationwide

Sept. 1920-1930

Regauging of some of the first railway lines operated by RSR (from standard to meter gauge): Northern Line up to Pang Ton Phueng (Uttaradit), Eastern line up to Chachoengsao, and Khorat Line

1922-1927

Construction of Rama VI Bridge, the first - and to present the only - rail bridge across the Chao Phraya River

01 January 1922

Lampang-Chiang Mai section [128 km] opened: Northern Line completed

17 September 1922

Hat Yai-Sungai Kolok Line opened [219 km] (bridge connecting with Malayan Railway at Rantau Panjang: 01 November 1921)

1925

Bangkok tram network continues to grow with Hualamphong-Sathorn-Khlong Toey extension and Pratunam-Silom Line

01 January 1925

Chachoengsao-Kabin Buri section [100 km] of Eastern Line opened

01 April 1925

Nakhon Ratchasima-Buri Ram section [112 km] of Ubon Ratchathani Line opened

1926

Two more tram extensions added: Yotse-Pathumwan-Ratchaprasong Intersection and Bang Krabue-Saphan Daeng-Bang Sue; readjustment of Dusit tram line to go along Phitsanulok Road (instead of Uthong Nok/Ratchasima Roads and Wang Suan Kulab); Bangkok tram network reaches a length of 42 km in the end

12 February 1926

Start of an electric tram service on Mahachai Line (between Khlong San and Wat Sai Stations; later extended to Wat Singh in 1927)

01 May 1926

Buri Ram-Surin section [44 km] of Ubon Ratchathani Line opened

13 September 1926

Paknam Railway electrified

08 November 1926

Kabin Buri-Aranyaprathet section [94 km] opened: Eastern Line completed

01 January 1927

Taling Chan-Bangsue connection opened (via Rama VI Bridge)

05 May 1927

SEC merged with Siamese Tramways Co., Ltd. to form Siam Electricity Corporation

1928

First two Diesel locomotives acquired by RSR (from Switzerland)

01 August 1928

Surin-Si Sa Ket section [95 km] of Ubon Ratchathani Line opened

1930

Bang Bua Thong Railway extended to Lat Lum Kaeo

01 April 1930

Si Sa Ket-Warin Chamrap section [61 km] opened: Ubon Ratchathani Line completed

1932

Double tracking between Bangkok and Khlong Rangsit completed

01 April 1933

Nakhon Ratchasima-Khon Kaen section [176 km] of Nongkhai Line opened

1936

Paknam Railway nationalized (for a price of 360,000 Baht)

15 October 1936

Chitladda rail triangle [3 km] completed

1938

Expansion of Makkasan Railway Plant

28 September 1939

Name of SEC changed to Thai Electricity Corporation

1940

Phra Pradaeng Tram closed

24 June 1940

Double tracking between Rangsit and Bang Pa-in completed

24 June 1941

Khon Kaen-Udon Thani section [120 km] of Nongkhai Line Line opened

26 January 1942

The military assumes control over the Maeklong Railway and the Thai Electricity Corporation

24 June 1942

Double tracking between Bang Pa-in and Ban Phachi completed

July 1942

Tha Ruea-Phra Phutthabat Railway closed

16 July 1942

Bang Bua Thong Railway closed

16 September 1942

Start of works on the Burma Line (AKA Death Railway) (Nong Pladuk-Kanchanaburi-Three Pagodas Pass-Thanbyuzayat) by POWs of the Japanese Imperial Army

February 1943

Wooden bridge across the River Kwai at Tha Makham completed

April 1943

Steel/concrete bridge across the River Kwai at Tha Makham completed

June 1943

Start on works for another Japanese military line from Chumphon to Kraburi and La-Un (Ranong) (standard gauge)

November 1943

Chumphon-La-Un Line completed

25 October 1943

Burma Line opened (for Japanese military use only)

09 February 1945

Rama VI Bridge destroyed in allied air raid

13 February 1945

Both wooden and steel bridge across the River Kwai damaged by American bombs, subsequently repaired

05 March 1945

Thonburi Station destroyed in allied air raid

19 March 1945

Parts of Chumphon-La-Un Line damaged in allied air raid

03 April 1945

Both wooden and steel bridge across the River Kwai damaged by American bombs, subsequently repaired

June 1945

Chumphon-La-Un Line partially dismantled (km 28-30) by the Japanese

24 June 1945

Three central spans of (steel) River Kwai Bridge destroyed in American air raid

Other major railway infrastructure damaged or destroyed during WWII: Makkasan Railway Plant, Railway Department HQ, Chiang Mai Station, Uttaradit Station, Chulachomklao Bridge across Tapi River at Surat Thani, Paramen Bridge across Nan River at Ban Dara

14 August 1945

Mahachai and Maeklong Railways nationalized

after August 1945

Chumphon-La-Un Line completely dismantled by the British military

1947-1958

Nam Tok-Three Pagodas Pass section of Burma Railway dismantled

24 June 1949

Nong Pladuk-Kanchanaburi section [53 km] of Burma Railway re-opened after track rehabilitation

before 1950

Ratchawong (feeder) Line of Bangkok tramways closed

1950

Thonburi Station reconstructed and re-opened

1950

Silom Tramline shortened to end up at Saladaeng Intersection

01 January 1950

Bangkok tramways nationalized to Bangkok Municipality and run by the Department of Civil Works, Ministry of Interior

01 July 1951

Name of RSR changed to State Railway of Thailand (SRT) by government act

21 December 1951

Two more short branches of Bangkok tram network closed: Chao Phraya River-Bang Krabue Intersection (?) and Chao Phraya-Wachira Intersection (‘Sukhothai Line’); after that: Yotse-Ratchaprasong Tram Line extended to Soi Ruam Ruedi (with unrealised plans to reach Sukhumwit 19)

01 April 1952

Kanchanaburi-Wang Pho section [61 km] of Burma Railway re-opened

circa1955-

01 Dec.1962

The short period of operation of the Lopburi Tramway (1 Line)

22 April 1955

Extension of Eastern Line from Aranyaprathet to Khlong Luek and Thai Stop [6 km] opened

13 September 1955

Udon Thani-Na Tha section [49 km] of Nongkhai Line opened

13 April 1956

Thung Pho-Khirirat Nikhom branch line opened (originally intended to reach Phuket, but never completed) [31 km]

01 July 1958

Wang Pho-Nam Tok (wartime station name: Tha Sao) section [16 km] of Burma Railway re-opened

31 July 1958

Na Tha-Nongkhai section [6 km] opened: Nongkhai Line completed

01 January 1960

Paknam Railway closed and dismantled, stations demolished

01 January 1961

Khlong San-Wong Wian Yai section of Mahachai Line closed, Khlong San Station demolished

19 December 1961

Cabinet resolution to close down all tramways in Thailand; Electric tram service on Mahachai Line discontinued around this time

January 1962

Bang Krabue-Hualamphong section of Samsen Tram Line closed and dismantled

April 1962

Bang Krabue-Bang Sue Tram Line closed and dismantled

May 1962

Banglamphoo-Hualamphong Tram Line closed and dismantled

June 1962

Pratunam-Silom Tram Line closed and dismantled

July 1962

Yotse-Ratchaprasong Tram Line closed and dismantled

October 1962

Hualamphong-Sathorn (-Khlong Toey?) section of Samsen Tram Line closed and dismantled

December 1962

City Pillar-Saphan Lek section of Bangkholaem Tram Line closed and dismantled

16 June 1963

Nong Pladuk-Suphanburi branch line [78 km] opened (from leftovers of the Death Railway; originally intended to reach Lopburi, but never completed)

July 1963

Saphan Lek-Thanon Tok section of Bangkholaem Tram Line and Thewet-Saphan Dam section of Dusit Tram Line closed and dismantled; Saphan Dam-Wat Liab section of Dusit Line added to City Circle – the last tram line in Bangkok

October 1963

Wang Burapha-Wat Liab section of City Circle Tram Line closed

December 1963

City Circle Tram Line cut into two unconnected sections by removing the rails from National Theater to Phra Arthit Road

19 August 1967

Kaeng Khoi-Bua Yai shortcut [250 km] of the Northeastern Line opened

around 1968

SRT freight terminal relocated from Hualamphong to Phahonyothin

01 October 1968

Last parts of Bangkok Tramways (two unconnected sections of City Circle Line: Saphan Dam-National Museum and Phra Arthit Road-Wang Burapha) closed and dismantled

1974

Train service between Aranyaprathet/Khlong Luek and Poipet discontinued

1975

Steam Maintenance Center at Makkasan closed; most (all?) SRT steam engines transferred to the Southern Railway and maintained at the depots in Thung Song and Hat Yai

1978

Rail service between Sungai Kolok and Tumpat (Malaysia) discontinued

01 July 1978

Hat Yai-Songkhla Line closed

1979

54 people are killed in the worst accident in Thai railway history when a commuter train collides with a cargo train at Taling Chan

1979

The Bangkok Mass Transit Master Plan comes up with the first (?) proposal for an elevated/underground rail system (Lavilin Skytrain – three lines expected to open in 1984)

1982

End of steam traction on Thai railways in regular service

28 September 1984

Chachoengsao-Sattahip Line opened up to Pattaya for passenger service (first cargo train: 16 July 1985)

14 July 1989

Pattaya-Sattahip section finished: Sattahip Line completed

27 February 1990

Official opening of Chachoengsao-Sattahip Line [136 km]

09 November 1990

Contract over construction of the BERTS (Bangkok Elevated Road and Train System) signed between the Thai Government and Hopewell Holdings of Hong Kong

1992

Contract for the Lavilin Skytrain scrapped by the government

1994

Rail track from Nongkhai Station to Thai-Lao Friendship Bridge laid

19 August 1995

Khlong Sip Kao-Kaeng Khoi shortcut, Si Racha-Laem Chabang branch line [9 km] and Khao Chi Jan-Map Tha Put branch line [24 km] opened (all for cargo trains only)

May 1995

'Bangkok Land Skytrain' project cancelled by the government

1996

Proposal for 'Khlong Tramway' (monorail along three major canals in Bangkok) by Governor Bhichit--never realised

August 1997

Hopewell Project (BERTS - Bangkok Elevated Road and Train System) abandoned due to financial difficulties and corruption

25 November 1999

New track alignment of Kaeng Khoi-Bua Yai shortcut via Pasak Chonlasit Dam opened

05 December 1999

First 2 BTS (Elevated Railway, Skytrain) Lines in Bangkok opened (Light Green and Dark Green Line: National Stadium – Saphan Taksin and Mor Chit – On Nut)

2000

Double tracking from Bang Sue to Taling Chan completed, but Bang Sue-Bang Bamru section not yet operational (missing signal equipment and reinforcement of Rama VI Bridge)

25 July 2002

Double tracking from Ban Phachi to Lopburi and Map Krabao completed (also without modern signals)

01 October 2002

Double tracking from Nong Wiwat to Ban Pawai (Northern Line) and from Nong Kuay to Nong Bua (Northeastern Line) completed

25 November 2002

Double tracking from Taling Chan to Nakhon Pathom completed (without signals)

11 April 2003

Double tracking from Hua Mark to Chachoengsao completed (without signals)

14 May 2003

Double track from Bang Bamru to Nakhon Pathom operational after installation of signal equipment

04 October 2003

Thonburi Station closed/relocated to Bangkok Noi Station to make way for Sirirat Hospital extension

15 December 2003

Double track from Hua Mark to Chachoengsao operational after installation of signal equipment

2003 or early 2004

Short extension of the Burma Line: section between Nam Tok and Nam Tok Sai Yok Noi [1.4 km] re-opened

20 March 2004

Agreement signed between Thai and Lao governments over the 3.5 km track extension from the Friendship Bridge to Tha Nalaeng (first ever railway in Laos)

03 July 2004

First Bangkok MRT (Subway) Line opened (Blue Line initial phase: Hualamphong-Bangsue)

29 December 2004

Signal installation for double track from Bang Sue to Bang Bamru completed

17 January 2005

More than 200 people are injured in a subway accident at Thailand Cultural Centre Station; MRT service suspended for two weeks

20 January 2005

Contract about the construction of the Suvarnabhumi Airport Link signed between SRT and STECON/B Grimm/Siemens consortium

The future/proposed rail projects in Thailand

BTS extensions

MRT extensions

Hopewell Revival/Red Line Commuter

Lat Phrao Road Monorail

Bangkok Ring Railway

SRT Double Tracking (Chachoengsao-Laem Chabang, Chachoengsao-Khlong Sip Kao-Kaeng Khoi, and nationwide)

SRT Electrification

Rail Lines to the New City at Ban Na

High Speed Rail to Khorat

High Speed Rail to Prachuap Khiri Khan

High Speed Rail to Padang Besar

SRT network extensions (Den Chai-Phayao-Chiang Rai/Chiang Saen; Chiang Mai-Mae Hong Son; Bua Yai-Roi Et-Mukdahan-Nakhon Phanom; Map Tha Phut-Rayong-Chanthaburi; Khirirat Nikhom (or Surat Thani?)-Tha Nun-Phuket; also proposed: Warin Chamrap-Chong Mek; Phitsanulok-Tak-Mae Sot; reconstruction of Burma Line to Three Pagodas Pass, or Kanchanaburi-Dan Bong Tee; Lam Narai-Phetchabun-Loei-Chiang Khan, or Jaturat-Chaiyaphum-Loei-Chiang Khan; Lang Suan-Ranong; Ban Tap Lamu (Phang Nga)-Ban Bang Poe (Nakhon Si Thammarat); Satun-Songkhla)

Hualamphong-Pak Tho Line with bridges across the Chao Phraya, Tha Chin and Maeklong Rivers / upgrading and electrification of Mahachai and Maeklong Railway

Chiang Mai Subway/LRT

Hat Yai Monorail/Hat Yai-Songkhla LRT

Phuket LRT

Compiled by Nils Rennenberg
with many valuable contributions by Wisarut
September 2004

Also: Thai Railway/SRT main page

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