State Railway of Thailand

State Railway of Thailand
Locale Thailand
Dates of operation 1890present
Track gauge 1,000 mm (3 ft 3 38 in) meter gauge
Previous gauge 1,435 mm (4 ft 8 12 in) standard gauge
Length 4,070 km (2,530 mi)
Headquarters Bangkok

The State Railway of Thailand (SRT) (Thai: การรถไฟแห่งประเทศไทย) is the state-owned rail operator in Thailand. The network serves around 44 million passengers per year (2014).[1]


HRH Prince Purachatra Jayakara, the first railway commander of the Royal State Railways of Siam

The SRT was founded as the Royal State Railways of Siam (RSR) in 1890. King Chulalongkorn ordered the Department of Railways to be set up under the Department of Public Works and Town and Country Planning. Construction of the Bangkok-Ayutthaya railway (71 km or 44 mi), the first part of the Northern Line, was started in 1890 and inaugurated on 26 March 1896.[2] The Thonburi-Phetchaburi line (150 km or 93 mi), later the Southern Line, was opened on 19 June 1903. The first railway commander of the RSR was Prince Purachatra Jayakara (Krom Phra Kamphaeng Phet Akkarayothin)

The Northern Line was originally built as 1,435 mm (4 ft 8 12 in) standard gauge , but in September 1919 it was decided to standardize on 1,000 mm (3 ft 3 38 in) meter gauge and the Northern Line was regauged during the next ten years. On 1 July 1951, RSR changed its name to the present State Railway of Thailand.[2]

In 2014 SRT had 4,043 km (2,512 mi) of track, all of it meter gauge Nearly all is single-track (3,685 km), although some important sections around Bangkok are double (251 km or 156 mi) or triple-tracked (107 km or 66 mi) and there are plans to extend this.[3]


Third-class carriage of Thailand State Railways

The SRT has long been popularly perceived by the public as inefficient and resistant to change. Trains are usually late, and most of its equipment is old and poorly maintained. The worst financially performing state enterprise, the SRT consistently operates at a loss despite being endowed with large amounts of property and receiving large government budgets. It reported a preliminary loss of 7.58 billion baht in 2010.[4] Recurring government attempts at restructuring and/or privatization throughout the 2000s have always been strongly opposed by the union and have not made any progress.[5][6]

SRT's failings are reflected in passenger numbers, which have dropped from 88 million in 1994 to 44 million in 2014.[1]

The Thai rail network has 2,624 level crossings nationwide (2016). Many have no crossing barriers, making them common and frequent sites of accidents.[7]

Only two percent of Thailand's freight is transported by rail, despite rail being roughly half the cost of road transport and cleaner environmentally.[8]


State Railway of Thailand
Thanaleng, Laos
Thai–Lao Friendship Bridge
Nong Khai
Ubon Ratchathani
Udon Thani
Si Sa Ket
Chiang Mai
Khon Kaen
Khun Tan Tunnel
Nakhon Lampang
Ban Phai
Sila At
Bua Yai Junction
Thanon Chira Junction
Nakhon Ratchasima
Ban Dara Junction
Royal Cambodian Railway
Prachin Buri
Nakhon Sawan
Kaeng Khoi Junction
Lop Buri
Ban Phachi Junction
Nakhon Pathom
Bang Sue Junction
Bang Sue Junction
Thon Buri
Chachoengsao Junction
Bangkok (Hua Lamphong)
Wongwian Yai (MKR)
The Bridge on the River Kwai
Mahachai (MKR)
Nam Tok
Ferry across Tha Chin River
Nam Tok Sai Yok Noi
Ban Laem (MKR)
Burma Railway
Maeklong (MKR)
Chon Buri
Si Racha Junction
Hua Hin
Laem Chabang Port
Prachuap Khiri Khan
Bang Lamung
Bang Saphan Yai
Khao Chi Chan Junction
Lang Suan
Map Ta Phut Port
Sattahip Port
Khiri Rat Nikhom
Ban Thung Pho Junction
Surat Thani
Thung Song Junction
Khao Chum Thong Junction
Nakhon Si Thammarat
U Taphao Junction (defunct)
Hat Yai Junction
Hat Yai Junction
Pattani (Khok Pho)
Thai/Malaysian Border
Padang Besar, Malaysia
Su-ngai Kolok
Malaysian Railways
Thai/Malaysian Border (Not in operation)
Down arrow Woodlands, Singapore
Rantau Panjang, Malaysia
Left arrow Gemas
Pasir Mas, Malaysia
Malaysian Railways
Down arrow Tumpat
Second-class carriage of the State Railway of Thailand at Hua Lamphong Railway Station

The SRT operates all of Thailand's national rail lines. Bangkok Railway Station (Hua Lamphong Station) is the main terminus of all routes. Phahonyothin and ICD Ladkrabang are the main freight terminals.

Northern Line

A train on the Northern Line of the State Railway of Thailand en route from Bangkok to Chiang Mai

The Northern Line runs alongside the Northeastern Line until the Ban Phachi Junction. There, it splits from the Northeastern Line and proceeds through Lopburi, Nakhon Sawan, Phichit, Phitsanulok, Denchai, Lampang, Lamphun, before finally reaching Chiang Mai, 751 km from Bangkok. There is also a branch off the mainline from Ban Dara Junction to Sawankhalok in Sukhothai Province.

Northeastern Line

The Northeastern Line begins on the same route as the Northern Line, splitting at Ban Phachi Junction towards Nakhon Ratchasima. Then at Thanon Chira Junction, the line splits with one route passing Khon Kaen and Udon Thani before terminating at Nong Khai 624 kilometers from Bangkok. The other route passes through Buriram, Surin, Sisaket to reach Ubon Ratchathani, 575 km from Bangkok.

There is also another branch route originating from Kaeng Khoi Junction in Saraburi Province passing through Chai Badan District in Lopburi Province and Chatturat District in Chaiyaphum Province, before joining the mainline heading towards Nong Khai at Bua Yai Junction in Nakhon Ratchasima Province.

Southern Line

A OTOP tourist train for operation on the Southern Line of the State Railway of Thailand

The Southern Line begins in Bangkok and heads west towards Nakhon Pathom before splitting into three different routes. One route heads west to Kanchanaburi Province (210 km) while another heads north towards Suphan Buri (157 km). The Southern Line itself continues southbound through Ratchaburi, Phetchaburi, Hua Hin, Prachuap Khiri Khan Province, Chumphon, to Surat Thani 678 kilometers distant. From Surat Thani, there is a westerly branch towards Khiri Rat Nikhom while the main line continues south to Thung Song Junction in Nakhon Si Thammarat Province where another branch reaches Kantang in Trang Province. Not far away, another branch separates off the mainline at Khao Chum Thong Junction. The main line from Nakhon Sri Thammarat continues through Phatthalung before reaching Hat Yai Junction in Songkhla Province. From here, a line branches to connect with the Malaysian railway at Padang Besar and the mainline continues to Su-ngai Kolok passing through Yala Province.

Namtok Branch

Eastern Line

The Eastern Line begins at Bangkok before heading through Chacheongsao, Prachinburi to terminate at Aranyaprathet in Sa Kaew Province, 255 kilometers from Bangkok. There is an unused rail link to Cambodia from Aranyaprathet, currently being rebuilt. A branch line also connects Khlong Sip Kao Junction to the Northeastern Line at Kaeng Khoi Junction. At Chachoengsao Junction, there is another branch to Sattahip. Along the route to Sattahip, at Si Racha Junction, there is yet another branch towards Laem Chabang Deep Sea Port and further at Khao Chi Chan Junction for Map Ta Phut Port, in Rayong.

Maeklong Line

Maeklong Railway
Pak Khlong San
Wongwian Yai
Talat Phlu
Khlong Ton Sai
Chom Thong
Wat Sai
Wat Sing
Bang Bon
Khan Keha
Rang Sakae
Rang Pho
Sam Yaek
Phrom Daen
Thung Si Thong
Bang Nam Jued
Khok Khwai
Ban Khom
Khlong Chak
Tha Chin River
Ban Laem
Tha Chalom
Ban Chi Phakhao
Khlong Noklek
Bang Sikhot
Bang Krachao
Ban Bo
Bang Thorat
Ban Kalong
Ban Na Khwang
Ban Na Khok
Ked Mueang
Lad Yai
Bang Krabun

The Maeklong Railway, also operated by the SRT, is independent of the national rail network and is split into two sections. The line begins at Wongwian Yai in Bangkok before terminating at Mahachai where a ferry is used by passengers to cross the Tha Chin River. The line starts again across the river at Ban Laem and continues towards Mae Klong.[10]


Intercity services

First-class sleeping carriage of State Railway of Thailand at Hua Lamphong Railway Station
Second-class carriage of the State Railway of Thailand
Second-class sleeping carriage of the State Railway of Thailand at Hua Lamphong Railway Station
A passenger car of the Northern Line of the State Railway of Thailand.
The bunk in a passenger car of the Northern Line of the State Railway of Thailand.

SRT operates intercity passenger services on the following lines:

Northern Line

Northeastern Line

Eastern Line

Southern Line

International services

SRT operates international services to Butterworth in Penang, Malaysia, in conjunction with Malaysian state operator KTM.

A link across the First Thai–Lao Friendship Bridge to Thanaleng Railway Station, near Vientiane, opened in March 2009.[11]

There are plans to re-open rail links to Cambodia via Poipet from the railhead at Aranyaprathet. Railway connections to Myanmar (Burma), notably the infamous Death Railway, are defunct.

In December 2010, following Chinese plans to extend their (standard gauge) network to Xishuangbanna on the China-Laos border and further into Laos,[12] the Thai government agreed to start negotiations on building a standard-gauge network.[13] This would initially involve two lines: from Bangkok to the Lao border, and a longer line from Bangkok along the peninsula to the Malay border.[14]

SRT also allows operation of the Eastern and Oriental Express on their tracks which runs from Singapore to Bangkok and vice versa, with a few trips to Laos and Chiang Mai.

Rail links to adjacent countries

Commuter trains

The SRT operates commuter rail services from Bangkok along the Northern and Northeastern Lines up to Ayutthaya, Ban Phachi Junction, Lopburi and Kaeng Khoi Junction. Ten trains run along the route on a daily basis.[16] A new service serving between Thonburi and Sala Ya was launched on 22 October 2010.[17]

The Red Line project is a new commuter rail system also owned by the SRT. It is currently under construction and will replace portions of rail lines running through Bangkok, eliminating at-grade crossings.

Other passenger services

SRT operates the Airport Link to Suvarnabhumi Airport which opened in 2010.[18] It is medium speed (160 km/h) and links with BTS Skytrain at Phaya Thai Station and MRT at Phetchaburi Station, and a new transit center at Makkasan allows airline passengers to check-in.


Thai railways transported around 11 million tons of freight per year in 2007-2012, which was around 2% of the total amount of freight moved by all modes of transportation.[19] While it is possible for freight trains to travel between Thailand and the neighboring countries (Malaysia and Laos), the amount of international rail freight presently constitutes only a minuscule portion of Thailand's foreign trade. In 2012, merely 95 thousand tons of export cargo left Thailand by rail, as compared to 12 million tons of cargo exported by road, and 114 million tons of cargo exported by ship. For import, the rail transport's share was even smaller.[19]

Thai railways transport both bulk freight (primarily oil products and construction materials) and containerized freight. Most of the freight movement is between Bangkok and sea ports (in particular, between the deepwater port of Laem Chabang and the container terminal in Lad Krabang, in Bangkok's eastern suburbs).[20]

In an attempt to increase the railway's share of the nation's freight transportation market, in 2016 the SRT, in a joint project with Japan, started experimenting with small, 12-foot containers. It is thought that, being smaller than the standard 20-foot containers, these containers can be more easily transported by truck between a rail station and the end customer. These containers are being tried on two routes from Bangkok's Bang Sue station: a 722-km route to Lamphun Province in the north of the country, and a 433-km route to Khon Kaen in the northeast.[21]

Locomotives and multiple units

Active fleet

Diesel electric locomotives

Type Manufacturer Numbers Year(s) built Quantity built Power Max speed (km/h) Image Note
UM12C[22] (GE[23]) General Electric 4001-4050[22][23][24] 1963 (4001-4040)[22][24]
1966 (4041-4050)[22][24]
50[22][23][24] 1,320 hp (0.98 MW)[22]
(660 hp (0.49 MW)x2)
103[23] Refurbished around 2010-2011.
AD24C[25] (ALS[23]) Alsthom[25] 4101-4154[23][25] 1974–1975[25] 54[25] 2,400 hp (1.79 MW)[25] 90[23][25] First batch of AD24C locomotives. Some refurbished with new MTU 16V4000R41R[26] or Caterpillar diesel engines.
AD24C[25] (AHK[23]) Alsthom,[25] Henschel[25] and Krupp[25] 4201-4230[23][25] 1980[25] 30[25] 2,400 hp (1.79 MW)[25] 100[23][25] Second batch of AD24C, built under license by Henschel and Krupp. Some refurbished with new MTU 16V4000R41R [26] or Caterpillar diesel engines.
AD24C[25] (ALD[23]) Alsthom[25] 4301-4309[23][25] 1983[25] 9[25] 2,400 hp (1.79 MW) 100[23][25] Third batch of AD24C. Some refurbished with Caterpillar diesel engines.
AD24C[25] (ADD[23]) Alsthom[25] 4401-4420[23][25] 1985[25] 20[25] 2,400 hp (1.79 MW)[25] 100[23][25] Fourth and last batch of AD24C. Some refurbished with new MTU 16V4000R41R[26] or Caterpillar diesel engines.
8FA-36C (HID[23]) Hitachi 4501-4522[23] 1993 22 2,860 hp (2.13 MW)
(1,430 hp (1.07 MW)x2)
100[23] First batch of Main Line Locomotive Program, used MAN B&W Diesel engines in the short-term , then replaced by Cummins KTTA-50L engine, later modified to KTA-50L
CM22-7i[22] (GEA[23]) General Electric 4523-4560[22][23] 1995–1996[22] 38[22] 2,500 hp (1.86 MW)[22]
(1,250 hp (0.93 MW)x2)
100[23] Second batch of Main Line Locomotive Program, used Cummins KTA-50L[22] engine. Some locomotives air-conditioned.
CSR SDA3 CSR Qishuyan 5101-5120[27] 2013–2015[28][29] 20[28] 3,190 hp (2.38 MW)[28] 120 But limited 100[28] 5101-5110 In Active

5111-5120 Under testing. Use Caterpillar C175-16 ACERT engines[28]

Diesel hydraulic locomotives

Type Manufacturer Numbers Year built Quantity built Power (horsepower) Max speed (km/h) Image Note
DH1200BB Henschel[23] 3001-3027[23] 1964 27 1200[23] 90[23] All locomotives except #3015 and 3013 are retired. #3026 preserved. Some sold to Italian-Thai construction and rebuilt by Vossloh, remainder scrapped.
M1500BB Krupp[23] & Krauss-Maffei 3101-3130[23] 1969 30 1500[23] 90[23] 3118 Inactive 3114 [tel:3121 3113 3114 3121 3113 3114 3121] have been placed into storage. Remainder sold or retired.

Diesel multiple units

Type Manufacturer Numbers Year built Quantity built Power (horsepower) Max speed (km/h) Image Note
RHN Hitachi 1011-1048 (power cars)
(trailer cars)
1967 38+38 220 90 Now used as a Northeastern line commuter train. Some installed Nathan K3LA horn.
RTS Tokyu D9-D16
(power cars)
(center/trailer cars)
1971 8+4 220 70 Ex-Mahachai railways, to be refurbished. Similar bodyshell of THN and NKF but with different formation (power car-2 trailer cars).
THN Tokyu, Hitachi and Nippon Sharyo 1101–1140 1983 40 235 105 Similar to NKF. Some installed Nathan K3LA horn.
NKF Nippon Sharyo, Hitachi, Fuji Heavy Industries,Kawasaki Heavy Industries, Niigata Tekkousho, and Kinki Sharyo 1201–1264, (center) 2101-2112 1985 64+12 235 105 Similar to THN, but with plastic chairs. Some installed Nathan K3LA horn.
British Rail Engineering Limited, Derby Works 2501–2512, (center) 2113-2120 1991 12+8 285 160 km/h but Ministry of transport limited the top speed to 120 km/h. Metre gauge version of British Rail Class 158, with different gangways and couplers, and with inward-opening slam doors instead of plug doors. 3-car set until 2011, when all were refurbished with new seats, vinyl floors, an extra coach, plug doors and new livery. Some installed Nathan K3LA horn.
APD .20 Daewoo Heavy Industries 2513-2524 (center) 2121-2128 1995 10+8 298 120 First batch, narrow body. All units installed Nathan K3LA horn.
APD .60 Daewoo Heavy Industries 2525-2544 1996 20+40 298 120 Second batch, wide body. All units installed Nathan K3LA horn.

Former types

Diesel hydraulic locomotives

Type Manufacturer Numbers Year built Quantity built Power (horsepower) Max speed (km/h) Image Note
CR-8b[30] Plymouth Locomotive Works 2001-2010[30] 1963 or 1964[30] 10[30] 900[30] 80[30] All locomotives withdrawn in 1968 and sent to Vietnam[30]

Future railways

High Speed Railways

Thai-Chinese railways

China and Thailand are building a high-speed railway in two phases: Bangkok-Nakhon Ratchasima and Nakhon Ratchasima-Nong Khai. This route's trains will operate at about 250 km/h.[31]

Thai-Japanese railways

Japan will provide Shinkansen technology for a high-speed rail link between Bangkok and the northern city of Chiang Mai.

See also


  1. 1 2 Ganjanakhundee, Supalak (2016-02-10). "Rail plan may serve China's interests more than Thailand's". The Nation.
  2. 1 2 "Railway of Thailand History". State Railway of Thailand (SRT). Retrieved 14 July 2016.
  3. Thongkamkoon, Chaiwat. "Thailand's Railway Development Strategy 2015-2022" (PDF). Railway Technology Development Institute of Thailand. Retrieved 2014-11-28.
  4. Chantanusornsiri, Wichit (23 January 2012). "State railway to finally account for assets and liabilities". Bangkok Post.
  5. Mahitthirook, Amornrat; Marukatat, Saritdet (22 December 2010). "Getting on track needs strong political will". Bangkok Post.
  6. Bowring, Philip (23 October 2009). "Thailand's Railways: Wrong Track". Asia Sentinel. Asia Sentinel. Retrieved 22 August 2012.
  7. Mahitthirook, Amornrat (2016-04-05). "SRT eyes rail crossing danger spots". Bangkok Post. Retrieved 5 April 2016.
  8. Janssen, Peter (2 November 2016). "Thailand takes a long-term gamble on Isaan region". Nikkei Asian Review. Retrieved 3 November 2016.
  9. New Eastern rail line gets on track, The Bangkok Post, 13/01/2012
  10. Barrett, Kenneth (2013). "Walk 1 Wong Wian Yai". 22 Walks in Bangkok (ebook sample 36 pp. 2.5MB). Singapore: Tuttle. p. 25. ISBN 978 1 4629 1380 0. Retrieved 2014-07-27. The Mahachai-Mae Klong line was built by the Tha Cheen Railway Company under a private concession and opened in early 1905, its purpose being to bring fish and farm produce from the coast.
  11. "Inaugural train begins Laos royal visit". Railway Gazette International. 2009-03-05.
  12. "NEW CHINA-LAOS LINK". Railways Africa. Retrieved 2010-11-09.
  13. "STANDARD GAUGE FOR THAILAND". Railways Africa. Retrieved 2010-12-19.
  14. "Railway Gazette: Two standard gauge main lines recommended". Retrieved 2011-02-27.
  15. "Neighbours to the west get closer | Bangkok Post: news". Bangkok Post. 2012-02-28. Retrieved 2012-08-13.
  16. "Commuter line timetable". SRT website. State Railway of Thailand. Retrieved 20 January 2012.
  17. ศูนย์ประชาสัมพันธ์และบริการท่องเที่ยว (22 October 2010). การรถไฟแห่งประเทศไทยพัฒนารถไฟสายศิริราช-ศาลายานำร่อง เตรียมสร้างโครงข่าย. press release (in Thai). Retrieved 20 January 2012.
  18. "Bangkok Suvarnabhumi airport rail link opens". Railway Gazette International. 2010-08-24.
  19. 1 2 Transport and Traffic Statistics and Information Thailand
  20. Thailand: Transport Sector Assessment, Strategy, and Road Map. ADB, 2011
  21. State railway tries mini-containers, 5 Feb 2016
  22. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 Phil's Loco Page (July 4, 2015). "GE Export".
  23. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 "SRT Diesel locomotive". September 6, 2013.
  24. 1 2 3 4 Dave Dallner (November 20, 2010). "General Electric UM12C Production Roster".
  25. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 "Locomotives Diesel standard Alsthom".
  26. 1 2 3 "SRT Alsthom Locomotive for MTU Engine". November 26, 2013.
  27. Wisarut (16 January 2015), "New SRT Locos: 20 CSR- 8 locos delivered!", 2Bangkok, retrieved 11 July 2015
  28. 1 2 3 4 5 "CSR Qishuyan locomotives delivered to Thailand",, DVV Media Group, 10 January 2015, retrieved 4 July 2015
  29. "CSR Qishuyan to supply 20 locomotives to Thailand", Railway Gazette, DVV Media Group, 27 January 2013, retrieved 4 July 2015
  30. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 "First D10H/Plymouth CR-8b , Bo-Bo Diesel Hydraulic", Railways in Vietnam (, retrieved 11 July 2015
  31. "รถไฟความเร็วสูง ไทย-จีน-ญี่ปุ่น". Retrieved 25 Mar 2016.

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