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|December 9th, 2012, 03:50 PM||#1|
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SRT Northern line: Steam Locomotives at Bang Pa In.
On the 12th august 2010 I visited Bang Pa In station to photograph the Queens Birthday special steam train. This steam train ran from Hualamphong station in Bangkok to Ayutthaya station. The special steam trains operate 4 times a year over the same route. The dates are 26th March (SRT Anniversary), 12th August (Queens Birthday), 23rd October (Chulalongkorn Day) and 5th December (Kings Birthday).
A little background on steam locomotives in Thailand.
Steam locomotives were once very common all over Thailand and used both by SRT and private industrial railways. Japanese and German built steam locomotives were the most common type used in Thailand. By 1982 all steam locomotives were removed from regular service and replaced with diesel locomotives. The railways of southern Thailand were the last to see steam in regular service.
Most Thai steam locomotives have been turned into static outdoor displays in front of various railway stations around Thailand. Also a number of former Thai industrial railway locomotives were preserved outside Thailand. Today there are only a handful of steam locomotives that remain in working condition. The remaining steam locomotives are maintained by the Thonburi locomotive workshops on the western bank of the Chao Phaya River in Bangkok.
The current SRT steam locomotive fleet consists of 5 locomotives. They are locomotive numbers 713, 715, 824, 850 and 953. However only steam locomotives 824 and 850 appear to the only locomotives on special tourist trains. Locomotive number 713 was built by Hitachi Japan in 1935 and is a 2-6-0 type. Locomotive number 715 was built by Nippon Sharyo Japan in 1935 and is a 2-6-0 type. Locomotive number 824 was built by Nippon Sharyo Japan in 1949 and is a 4-6-2 type. Locomotive number 850 was built by Nippon Sharyo Japan in 1950 and is a 4-6-2 type. Finally locomotive number 953 was built by Hitachi in 1950 and is a 2-8-2 type.
Other than the above operational steam locomotives there are no further plans to restore other Thai steam locomotives back into operational working condition. This is a real shame as steam locomotive hauled tourist trains on weekends could work very well on the outer section of the Kanchanaburi line in western Thailand as it would help bring the railway history of that area to life.
A little background on the Main North line at Bang Pa In.
The railway from Bangkok to Bang Pa In opened in 1897 and was the second railway built in Thailand after the former Paknam commuter railway that opened in 1893. The section of railway between Bangkok and Bang Pa In was the 1st step in building a nationwide railway system. The line was originally built as a standard gauge 1435mm line by the 1920s it was reguaged to a 1000mm gauge line. Today this section of railway is triple track and is one of the busiest sections of railway on the SRT system.
Bang Pa In is located 58.0 km from Hualamphong station taking about 90 minutes by train. It is considered a commuter station today and is the stopping point for visitors to Bang Pa-In Palace also known as the Summer Palace. At the northern end of the main platform at Bang Pa In station is a former royal rest house that was used by King Rama 5 during the early days of the railway.
As the area around Bang Pa In station has grown rapidly over the last 20 years with a number of major industrial complexes that are home to multinational electronics and pharmaceutical factories this has significantly increased demand on train services to and from the area. Often leading to overcrowding on trains in both the outbound and inbound direction from Bang Pa In.
In the future there have been vague plans to extend the proposed SRT Red line commuter project from Rangsit to Bang Pa In to help connect the area better with Bangkok. There has even been ideas to relocate Mochit 2 bus terminal to Bang Pa In as part of the Red line commuter project extension. These ideas tend to enforce the view that Bang Pa In is a new outer suburban area of Bangkok that is far beyond Rangsit that is also in a separate province to Bangkok.
3. This is an image of steam locomotives 824 and 850 pulling into the main platform at Bang Pa In station. To the right of the steam locomotive is the royal railway rest house that was used by King Rama 5.
7. This is an image of steam locomotives 824 and 850 while they wait for a photography stop at Bang Pa In. Note all the people on the track some taking photos. The track people were standing on is the bi directional express line and was in active use at the time steam train was there.
9. This is a video of steam locomotives 824 and 850 departing from Bang Pa In station with the Queens Birthday special train to Ayutthaya. Note how loud the whistle is on these locomotives also the whistle was sounded for a very long time upon departure. These locomotives must have been a real sight to behold in there heyday.
11.This is another shot of steam locomotives 824 and 850 as they power away from Bang Pa In station on there way to Ayutthaya. Note the amount of steam coming out of locomotive 850.
33. This is an image of Hitachi locomotive number HID 4511 taken as it passes the track workers while entering the main platform road at Bang Pa In station.
42. This is an image of General Electric locomotive number GEA 4554 hauling cement wagons from Hin Lap to Bang Sue. Taken as it powers express through platform 2 at Bang Pa In station. Note the new white boxes mounted on the roof of the locomotive these are for in cab aircon.
61. This is a shot of Alsthom locomotive number ALS 4130 powering away from Bang Pa In station hauling a very overcrowded northbound intercity train. Note the people hanging out of the doors.
63. This is another image of Daewoo wide body DMU number APD 2534 as it powers away from Bang Pa In station on an outbound special express intercity service. Before the airport rail link was built these Daewoo DMUs were the fastest trains in Thailand.
64. This is a shot of class 158 sprinter DMU number ASR 2510. Taken as it powers through Bang Pa In station on an outbound special express service to Sawan Khalok. This train was built by BREL Derby. Its is one of only 2 three car sets still in operation.
If you would like to see more images and video of the steam locomotives and other locomotives at Bang Pa In please visit:
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|December 9th, 2012, 05:10 PM||#2|
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