As a part of the State Railway of Thailand’s efforts to improve the quality of the rail service and experience, the express trains are about to undergo a much anticipated makeover.
The new compartments designed for the express trains will start plying between Bangkok and Chiang Mai from November this year.
“The new compartments will totally change our entire look and service”, the SRT Governer Wuttichart Kallayanamitr was reported as saying through the Chulalongkorn University radio. “Even the toilets”, says Mr. Kallayanamitr, ” will be a closed system”.
A part of the the 170 billion baht budget of SRT for revamping the rail network was used for the purchase of more than 100 new cars, 115 to be exact, from the China CNR Corporation. The first set of 13 trains will arrive in Thailand by June. Planned for arriving on Sunday, the delivery has been delayed due to storms. All of the 115 trains will be used as express trains.
Other than Chiang Mai, the provinces that are included in the network of the new express trains are, Ubon Ratchathani, Nong Khai and Hat Yai. The existing old express trains plying to these provinces will be replaced by the new ones by the end of 2017. “All of the old express train carriages will be eventually retired once all of the new ones are in service,” said Mr. Wutthichart. Often being ignored or snubbed as a mode of transport between provinces, the railways are trying to pick up pace with the fast modernizing culture and consciousness of the Thai society by improving the facilities in a cost effective manner to generate some much needed revenue. The existing tracks will be upgraded to double tracks resulting in faster trains and the time of travel being cut by atleast 90 minutes for a journey from Bangkok to Chiang Mai. However, widening of the tracks will be completed only by next year and the new express trains are not to be expected until then.