Bangkok Trams (1894-1968) Main Page

Tram Overview
Rusting trams
The Bangkok Tram Song!
End of the line
Links
Tram routes including the 1996 proposal for tramlike buses
Tram maps - 1917 and 1963
Tram map and route description - 1958
Tram fares
Tram stop signs
Tramways stock certificates
The daily tram
Details: closeup views of Tram 120
Stills from the tram video
Tram Photos - 1959 Remembering the trams and the Paknam Railway
Tram Photos - 1962
Tram Photos - from the collection of Charlie Sullivan
Tram Photos - three great color photos
Tram Photos - various
Tram Photos - trams around town today
Tram Photos - a few shots of the Paknam Railway
Tram photos - trams in Black Silk (1961)
Tram accounts sent to use from those who rode the trams

Thai tramway accounts from famous Thai writers - Cost of living in 1941-1942, cost of living in 1946, the Japanese arrive in Bangkok, Allied bombing of Bangkok & bombing of power plants, the Great Flood of 1942 (with car-boat collisions!), tram drivers' strike (with old-time strike busters!), the Thai people sue for libel, and Bangkok Triad War
Profiles of companies involved in Thai mass transit in the past
Mae Klong Railway
Siam Electricity Company Ltd.
Bangkok Electricity Authority
Siamese Tramway Company, Ltd.
Menam Motor Boat Company, Ltd.
The Paknam Railways

Historic mass transit maps
Dick van der Spek's historic mass transit maps
Lopburi tram map
(221kb) - Singapore Steam Tramway (178kb) and Singapore Electric Tramway (208kb)
Ban Buathong Railway map - Paknam 1937 map (693kb) and Bangkok trammap 1930 (559kb) - Railway map (494kb) of Thailand and maps of the Burma-Siam Railway map (114kb) - Greater Bangkok Mass Transit - Past and Future (1.6MB) - Paknam Railway-1958 (807kb) - Mae Klong Railway map (629 kb) - Bangkok Tram map 1950 (176kb)

Latest Tram News

Tram for Chinatown will be in service this month - The Nation, February, 2009
The project to develop Bangkok's Yaowarat area is more than halfway complete and the "red route" tram service should be running by the end of this month, a senior official said Thursday...
[This is not a tram, but a bus styled like the old trams.]


(Photo: Wally Higgins)

Fight club at Lumpini Park - May 2, 2008

Jett of Jettcycles design writes: I just read BANGKOK ELECTRICAL SUPPLY Reprint of The Far Eastern Review, May 1931 and I remembered my late father talking about his early memories of the Bangkok trams. 
My father grew up in the 1950’s and went to school at Assumption boy school on Charoen krung rd.  His family lived in a 1920’s built shophouse on Songwad rd, which is still standing, and he traveled to school by tram on the Bang Kholaem line each day. 
My father had a lot of school-days stories, but my favourite was of the student fights and their unique 1950’s approach to them.
As the school was very strict about fighting, students went to great lengths to avoid getting caught fighting on school grounds.  Instead, they would catch the Silom line tram to Lumpini Park, which was a perfect venue as it was virtually deserted at the time.  But it was on the tram that the tension would mount.  The opposing camps would face off on the tram, silently trying to intimidate the opposition.  Nobody would say or do anything aggressive due to the strict social order at the time.  Plus the students were wearing uniforms bearing the school name.  
At the park it was a different story. The couple would fist fight and wrestle while the crowd cheered on. At this point I would always ask my father “who won?” He would tell me with a smile that no one won, "We would fight until we just ran out of breath."  My father would always assure me that the fighting pair would end on friendly terms, going their separate ways with a smile. He would always end his stories with “that’s how we did it back in the days” 


Bangkok Electrical Supply, Far Eastern Review, May 1931
Thanks to Ric for sending this in...


(Photo: Ryoichi Sakuma)


(Photo: Ryoichi Sakuma)


(Photo: Ryoichi Sakuma)

HO-gauge tram!!! - November 7, 2007
Ryoichi Sakuma writes: I'm happy to show you two Bangkok trams I made in HO gauge (1/87) recently. Every photo on the Bangkok tram has been very useful and helpful for me to make it. I wish 2Bangkok. com will be successful more and more.

Charming, tramming Bangkok - Bangkok Recorder, August 30, 2007
...The first, the Red Line, will open in the next two weeks, running only on weekends. The tram will start from Hualumphong subway station and go through China Town, Charoen-krung Road and return to Hualumphong.
The second, Yellow Line, will launch in late October, running in the Rattanakosin Old Town area, starting from Wat Phra Kaew and ending at Tha Chang pier...

Bangkok horse trams and the Chinatown gang wars - October 28, 2006
Ric Francis provides the following translated from an old SEC magazine: Probably the most extraordinary event the tramways became involved in was in the early days when they became embroiled in a battle between government troops and a gang of Chinese Mafiosi called the "Ang Yi."
‘It’ was’ early 1889 and, the Trams, which were then still drawn by horses, were used to transport soldiers to suppress the "Ang Yi" gang which controlled what is now the Yan Nawa area. For years the "Ang Yi" had been above the law and terrorised the local residents. But in 1889 the gangs split into two factions and a classic gang war' situation developed.
What was to be the beginning of a showdown between the two gangs -the Tang Kong Si and the Siew Lee Kue - began on June 19, when they declared part of the Charoen Krung Road a "war zone," building huge road blockades out of zinc sheets, removing furniture and whatever they could lay their hands on in preparation for a pitched battle which followed that the same night.
Fight
The fight which involved all kind of weapons ranging from simple wooden batons and knives to various types of guns lasted all night and continued the following morning. The casualties mounted until there were at least 20 dead and more than a hundred injured.
As the fight raged on, the situation clearly was beyond the ability of the local police to handle and the troops were called in. And it was no small operation.
The soldiers' maneuvers were mapped out during a meeting of the top brass held by Army Operations Department Commander Krom Phraya Panuphandhuvong, the department's ,Ipsp, or General Krom KbuR Narisra Nuwattiwong, Assistant Army Commander-in-Chief Krom' Muen Damrong Rajanuparp and Commodore Phraya Chollayuth Youthin who would provide Jiavy support from the Chao Phya River front.
Efficient
D-Day was set for the next morning of June 21. It was then that the mission planners decided to select the trams to mobilise the ground troops to the "front line," as they represented the only efficient mass transportation system in the city at the time. The trams which were making their regular early morning rounds to Lakmuang terminal were commandeered by the government force and hundreds of troops clambered aboard ready for action.
The tram drivers, upon learning about the mission, volunteered to drive their trams turned-war chariots to the battlefield.
At the clash, site, fierce gunfire erupted when the gangs turned their weapons on the government troops. The bloody battle lasted for five hours before being put to an end with 10 law-breakers killed, 20 wounded and 800 - eight of whom were members of Ang Yi's top echelon - arrested.
Throughout the battle the trams served the vital function of, providing reinforcements for the government troops at the battle scene. Their role was hailed by both local and foreign 'residents alike.

Notes on the tram - June 22, 2006
Heinrich writes: While I was browsing today though your pages about Bangkok tram. I
noticed the legend to the very first pic (Bangkok9.jpg?) on this page. It reads: "Probably around Saphan dam area." I don't know, where Saphan Dam exactly is, but this photo is definitely at "Saphan Charoen Rat 31" over Khlong Lod, which is right next to Pak Khlong Talad.
I also found other pictures near that place on your "Daily Tram" pages - September 8, 2004 (Tram-05-mid-way-on-line.jpg?) and The daily tram - September 13, 2004 (Tram-06-crossing-bridge.jpg?) Compare the unique building on the corner behind the bridge. And compare the parapet with the pictures on my page.

Trams, old and new - January 19, 2006
Colin writes: Above is a picture that was published on the cover of The Modern Tramway for August 1955, to accompany an article on the Bangkok trams by Ralph Forty. The content of the article is probably what you already know, but the picture is of interest. It shows the subtle differences between the modernised trams, probably with the imported English parts and the local version. The numbers displayed might be expected to be service running numbers, but as they are so obviously posed, they may well represent the tram numbers for the occasion - 203, 17 and 3. Note also that the two modern trams are not fitted with towing gear.


(Photo: Undated postcard from the 2Bangkok.com collection)

Tram 18 info
- January 11, 2006
Wisarut comment on the photo we ran at the weekend: ...it is the Yellow Tram line (Bang Kho Laem line) in front of Wat Sam Jin (Wat Trai Mitr), near Odean Circle. This photo must originally be from the National Archives...


Bangkok trams on Google Earth - January 11, 2007
Dick van der Spek writes: On the Google Earth Community I found a Bangkok trammap projected on Google Earth, source: 2Bangkok.com. Very nice to know for our forum friends.
1950 Bangkok Tramway Network
View in Google Earth         View in Google Maps
A 1950 map of Bangkok tramways. Tramlines ringed Rattanakosin Island and peeled out along Rama 4 Road and Sukhumvit. The routes along Rame 4, Rajadamri and Sukhumvit are identical to the more modern rail systems, the BTS and MRT. Plus ca change... Copyright Dick van der Spek (more information on Mr van der Spek and his excellent historical transport maps at www.2bangkok.com)


Tram map and route description (1958) - January 7, 2005

Remembering the trams and the Paknam Railway - December 17, 2005

Tram Photos - 1962 - December 7, 2005

Return of the Daily Tram - November 15, 2005

Take a ride through Bangkok on a tram in the 1920s - October 8, 2005
A thread about the footage is here.


Bangkok Tram at the Ministry of Public Health - rotfaithai.com, September 9, 2005

TRAMWAYS et ELECTRICITE de BANGKOK SOCIETE ANONYME - May 21, 2005

The closing of the Bangkok tramways - January 29, 2005
We recently obtained a copy of Modern Tramway (March, 1969) which contains a contemporary account of the closing of the Bangkok tram system in 1968.
Article (186kb) - photos (140kb) - map (55kb)


(Photo: 2Bangkok.com)
The last tram sign - September 26, 2004
Bangkok tram stop sign near Wat Chai Chana Songkhram intersection in Chinatown (right and below).

(Photo: 2Bangkok.com)

Tram map with stations - September 15, 2004
Ric Francis sent in this great tram map. The undated map came from Robert Sechler in the USA who obtained it in Bangkok from the "Manager of the Tramways." It is a blueprint image in three parts 1 (369kb), 2 (439kb), and 3 (347kb).


(Photo: Dick van der Spek)

Bangkok Tram map - September 10, 2004
Dick van der Spek created this map of tram routes in 1950, but it is more than that--it is a look at Bangkok's surprisingly comprehensive fixed mass transit routes of the time...

Rusting mass transit - February 23, 2004


(Photo: Terry King)

Tram tracks - November 12, 2003
Terry King writes: I thought that you might find this interesting. The trams are gone, but there are still some tracks to be seen. I found these old tram tracks near the Bangkok City Pillar (Lak Meuang). The building on the left in the photo is the Lak Meuang building. The photo was taken facing east with my back to the Grand Palace. I think that the street is called Thanon Lak Meuang. There may be other tracks around, but these are the first that I have noticed.


(Photo: Charlie Sullivan)
Above: Tram #9, circa 1964-65

Wisarut comments on this photo: The tram taken by Mr. Sullivan (Tram # 9) is definitely taken at Phan Fah Intersection (on Ratchadamnoen Avenue). The pink-grey building is the SAS office in Bangkok. SAS was the partner of Thai Inter when Thai Inter was just starting up. Today that building is home to Deves Insurance PCL (an insurance company in which the Crown Property Bureau is a major shareholder).

Bangkok mulls reviving the electric tram - AFP, November 17, 2003
This is brought up from time to time...: Thailand is considering the revival of an electric tram system used in Bangkok early last century to help solve the capital's perennial traffic woes, according to a Sunday report.

New tram video - October 21, 2003
Dr. Volker Wangemann writes: I would like to inform every visitor of 2Bangkok.com who is interested in the history of the Bangkok Tramways, that there is a new video: "TRAMWAY EXOTICA-1: VIETNAM AND THAILAND." It is available for 18 English Pounds from LRTA Publications, 13A The Precinct, Broxbourne EN 10 7 HY, United Kingdom. It includes scenes not only of the classic 4-wheelers of Bangkok (including film from the 1920s), but also the tram and the short-lived trackless trolleys of Hanoi and the veteran AECs of Singapore!

Tram photos from 1906 - September 16, 2003
Ric Francis sent in some frame grabs from a 1906 film of the Bangkok trams.

Trams for Phuket? - The Phuket Gazette, November 22, 2002
Serious consideration is being given to an electric tram service around Phuket... What these studies usually find is that creating a tram system is a lot more expensive and complicated than laymen (and politicians) expect.

Tram maps - October 20, 2002
Check out this old map from the Royal Military Survey Department, Royal Siamese Army (now the Supreme Command Headquarters)

 


Bangkok streets in 1959!
Here they are! Stills from the never-before-seen tram footage circa 1959. Wilf Watters of Online Video (no website as of yet) brought the tape from England to show to Dr. Sanpsiri at the Thailand Railway Hall of Fame. The 16mm color film shows various trams gliding through the city, workmen fixing tram wires, the tram depot, and a trip out of Bangkok on a gleaming steam train. Even Dr. Sanpsiri seemed surprised and excited by this wonderful footage. There are plans to collect and issue all the tram footage on one tape. This footage is sharper and clearer than any existing footage of trams in the National Archive.

Should the Trams Return? - June 17, 2001
Sumet Jumsai, a leading Thai architect recently elected to the Honorary Fellowship of the American Institute of Architects, suggests in a Nation article that the trams be brought back as a means of mass transport in the Rattanakosin area. More on the Rattanakosin Island can be found here.
Sightseeing on Simulated Trams - February, 2001
BMA has busses painted like the trams of old that drive around Rattanakosin island passing many attractions such as the Ministry of Defence, the Flower Market, Wat Pho, the National Museum, Phra Arthit Road, Banglumpoo and Kaosarn Road. They leave every 30 minutes from the triangular island outside the front gate of the Grand Palace (this is a small sidewalk area where the road turns around Sanam Luang). The bus runs Monday-Sunday (9:00-16:00). Tickets cost 30 baht and the trip takes about half an hour. For more info, see the BMA website (What's the point? The link has already changed!) or call the Bangkok Tourist Bureau, Tel: 225 7612-4.
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5 Responses to Bangkok Trams (1894-1968) Main Page

  1. Tack says:

    How about size of tram car in Bangkok?
    1.L=9m?
    2.H=3m?
    3.W=2m,Track W=1067
    4.WB of boggy-2m, i think truck is not Brill type.
    Is there any reference on dimensions of Bakgkok Tram?
    Tack

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