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River Kwai and Laos

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Just been to the hell fire pass on the Thai Burma railway . Verry moving site. Took the train to Nam Tok and then by pickup to the site . After visiting the site I took a bus back to kanchanaburi where I visited the museums and cemeteries the next day. After visiting the sites I took the train back too Bangkok . Am curently in Laos , I'll post updates soon.

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I take you have returned home now? If so, a few pictures would be welcome. Was there anything of interest in Laos?

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Do they have first class on the Kanchanaburi train, I thought it was third class only. The fare of 100 ThB suggests that too.

 

Mind you, that interior looks quite luxurious compared to a few years ago

 

post-14223-0-82581200-1515836801.jpg

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yes they do .  3 types  of trains  . i took the hundred baht trains  becuase  i went all the way to nam tok and   hired a taxi for 600 baht  (with my dad ) to hell fire pass .      i cuaght the local bus  back to kanchanaburi and then took the train at 3 pm to bangkok the next day .

Do they have first class on the Kanchanaburi train, I thought it was third class only. The fare of 100 ThB suggests that too.

 


 

Mind you, that interior looks quite luxurious compared to a few years ago

 

attachicon.gif3rdclass_inside.jpg

Vietnam :

This is the bamboo train i mom and dad  rode on and it was on the original line  featured in traveling with my father . a millionaire  bought  the Row and built a new line parallel. 

 

http://www.rmweb.co.uk/community/index.php?/gallery/image/85334-old-bamboo-train/

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Are you sure that's Vietnam? Bamboo trains are a Cambodian 'thing', originally borne out of necessity but now something of a tourist attraction in their own right.

They won't be around much longer in their original form, in fact they may have gone already as the line through Battambang is about to be, or already has been reinstated.

 

The plan was to build a parallel line to maintain the 'Norries' as a working feature.

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The Nam Tok trains have a flat 100THB fare for "foreigners" , certainly when travelling from Thonburi station in Bangkok.

 

There's no 1st class , just 3rd class coaches as pictured with proper opening windows to enjoy the views and the locos up front (GEK if you're lucky , Alsthom if you're less so. Recently when I visited there were 2 Alsthoms and only one GE on the 3 diagrams there)

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..................... locos up front (GEK if you're lucky , Alsthom if you're less so. Recently when I visited there were 2 Alsthoms and only one GE on the 3 diagrams there)

 

Krauss-Maffei if you're even luckier. I've not been there for over two years now though

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Krauss-Maffei if you're even luckier. I've not been there for over two years now though

3118 still gets used occasionally, it seems to be a depot pet at Thonburi.

Personally I prefer a GEK, but each to his own!

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I've just sent the artwork off for an etch of the Henschel shunter they have at Thonburi. I already have the Bull-Ant bogie for it. The same sheet also includes an etch of those level crossing gates on wheels. I'm a bit worried I might have drawn it too fine but we'll see.

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I was in Thailand for a few weeks before Christmas. I was on a pretty tight schedule so there was not much chance of wandering off to take photographs. However the trip did include a few places with a railway interest. Starting at the infamous bridge. This area has become a somewhat tacky theme park with countless hordes taking selfies on the bridge. The floating restaurant does a good value buffet for around £6.

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The C56 class locomotives ran on the line in the 1943-1944 period when another Bernard Lamb would have seen them in action. Several are preserved and I believe a couple are in running condition. They were a lightweight mogul suited to the more usual style of bamboo and timber bridges on the line as originally built.

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Another preserved machine.

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A general shot of the station.

More to follow.

Bernard

 

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To continue.

A couple of miles back towards Bangkok will bring you to Kanchanaburi War Cemetery. The cemetery has almost 7000 graves of POWs and there is a separate memorial with the names of around 300 men who died and were cremated locally on the southern part of the railway line. Next to the cemetery is the railway museum and research centre who have proved invaluable in providing information about the other Bernard Lamb

.post-149-0-55542100-1546255365.jpg

 

Moving further north you reach Kannyu. Better known as Hellfire Pass and now the site of an Australian sponsored visitor information centre.

It is possible to descend some steps to reach the track bed which has now been cleared for some 500m including the section through the rock cutting.

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A couple of original vans have been preserved near the centre. These vans carried 36 men each from Singapore to the old rail head at Ban Pong. 18 trucks to a train giving a total of around 650  men per train. Imagine stuck in one of those trucks for four days.

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Bernard at one time worked at a camp north of Kannyu and trawling through numerous writings I discovered that he marched south through the area between April 26th and April 28th 1943. His group are recorded in the war diaries of the Australian Surgeon Dunlop. Odd to be walking in his foot steps 75 years later.

Bernard

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Last instalment.

One day we drove from Bangkok to Hua Hin. I had no idea that there would be any railway interest on the trip. On arriving in Hua Hin we went for a meal in a resort hotel where the restaurant was built in the style of the original station. There was an interesting collection of old photographs on display. We then had a short visit to the railway station.

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General shot of the station. My wife on the right and three of our Thai friends taking the inevitable photographs of each other. 

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The royal waiting room dating from around the early 1920s when the royal family used to visit a local palace.

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Another plinthed locomotive.

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On the street side of the station are a couple of carriages.

I only saw the railway in Bangkok from the road but there is a lot of new construction going on with a huge new station and an elevated line serving it and another elevated line under construction that appears to go to the airport that is used mainly for internal flights. Looking at the traffic volumes I think an improved rail network is a fairly essential requirement.

Bernard 

 

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That would be Bang Sue. When I was there about ten years ago it was a huge freight and carriage stabling yard. There was also one of the SRT's major locomotive sheds as well. I spent many hours there measuring up freight wagons for my articles in Continental Modeller. Back in Thaksin Shinawatra's day the plan was to close Hualamphong and terminate all trains at Bang Sue. Given the way Thaksin operated that probably meant he had an interest in redeveloping some of the land nearer the city centre. What I think is happening now is upgrading the lines North to Isaan and Chang Mai, finally building the "Red Line", an outer suburban line connecting the commuter belt on Nontaburi with the business centres of Bangkok and building a new station. The underground metro already reaches Bang Sue. This is what Bang Sue used to look like in 2008

 

post-14223-0-66347000-1546461745_thumb.jpg

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Just goes to show how impossible "Modern Image" is. My layout is set in the 2006-2011 period and it's now beginning to look a little quaint! This is Bang Sue's passenger station. There were actually two laid end to end, this is the one serving the Northern lines (yes that is a Class 158 there)

 

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As I said though, my interest lay in what was in the yard beyond. Such as these bits of freight stock

 

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Although the move to block freight was well advanced the yard was still actively shunted. This venerable GE UM12C was trundling around that morning

 

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Individual wagons were dotted around

 

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The reason why this one was not in a block train becomes obvious from the other end

 

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Oops.

 

Edited by whart57
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Does anyone know whether Hualamphong will remain partially open for services once the main Bang Sue terminus is operational?

From what I can see, it will be difficult/impossible to connect the Eastern Line (to Chachoengsao and the Cambodian border) to Bang Sue.

 

I also heard on my last trip that Hualamphong is meant to become the Thai version of our NRM, I'd hope so with such an iconic building, which has a place in many Thais' hearts.

SE Asian folk don't tend to get as sentimental about architecture as we do, but I guarantee an outcry if Hualamphong train shed were to be demolished.

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This article in The Bangkok Post explains, it is to become a railway museum.

 

https://www.bangkokpost.com/learning/easy/605048/hua-lamphong-to-become-museum-as-station-moves-to-bang-sue

 

Memories of arriving in Hualamphong on a Saturday night a few years ago, very, very busy and walking through the main hall were hundreds of people sat on suitcases etc staring up at a large TV screen - what was it ? - Why English football of course, Arsenal V Liverpool !!!!!!

 

Brit15

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There is a chord from the Eastern line that heads towards Bang Sue , normally freight only , but a set of points would soon solve that. If you take an Eastern Line train out of Bangkok, the triangle is just before Phayathai - what looks like double track is actually two single lines with the line towards Bang Sue being on the left as you head into Phayathai.

 

I presume SRT will have to do something to maintain access to Makkasan works as well.

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Cheers for the info Supaned, sadly Makkasan Works is going soon too.

To make way for yet another shopping mall, 'cos BKK really needs another one of those...

 

The works is relocating approx 200ks north, I forgot the name of the place now.

 

If no booked services are to use Hualamphong in the near future, then I'd hope that the rail connection is retained, for museum stock, steam specials and so on.

 

I got round Makkasan twice a few years back, very lucky there but my friend is ex SRT and does a lot of work for them as a contractor.

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You did well to get in - normally all I've seen is what is visible from the line as the train passes by.

 

Back in BKK next month so hoping for some more GEK action :-)

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Great photos of Makkasan E3109.

 

There is a railway works at Saraburi, about 60m north of Bangkok - I wonder if they're moving there. Lots of existing line upgrades going on around saraburi, especially the line down to Lam Chabang port, bypassing Bangkok - this is for freight - one day it will be extended to China.

 

I was in Thailand in July staying with family near to Don Muang - the new overhead station being built there is impressive, as is the new station at Bangsue we say from the motorway.

 

Bangkok is manic with building (as usual !!) We like to get away from it all either up north (Chiang Mai) or Hua Hin - but both those places are rapidly developing also. Getting to be nowhere to hide !!!!!

 

Brit15

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I didn't see that about Hualamphong a while back, but then it was a plan a long time ago. It has to be said though that Hualamphong is pretty badly served by BKK's local services. It has a station on the underground metro but that only goes off one way and it's not a bus hub. Bang Sue on the other hand is on the metro, new suburban lines will be serving it and although there weren't many bus routes passing it a few years ago, a whole lot of buses pass the other side of Chatuchak Park and could be diverted over fairly easily. Are there any plans to extend the BTS from Mo Chit? It's not far.

 

The path from Bang Sue to Hualamphong does cross a few main roads on the level, with fun and games for all. YouTube clips of the fun can be found quite easily, for example:

 

 

 

Apart from Makkasan, what is the future of Thonburi? All services to Thonburi go through Taling Chin Junction so could easily be rerouted to Bang Sue as well.

 

And then there is the freight only line from Makkasan to Mae Nam. When I was last in BKK in 2016 the track was being relaid with new and heavier rail

 

post-14223-0-86766000-1547045085_thumb.jpg

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You did well to get in - normally all I've seen is what is visible from the line as the train passes by.

 

Back in BKK next month so hoping for some more GEK action :-)

 

This is the only GEK action I see these days

 

post-14223-0-35246600-1547045982.png

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