I Hear The Train A Comin'
Regular readers of this blog know that I prefer train travel in Thailand to most other forms of transport, although there have many changes since I boarded my first train here in early January 1987.
One of the biggest changes is the decision to close Bangkok's main station on the edge of Chinatown by the end of this year, therefore I decided to pay it a visit a few days ago.
Built in 1916 based on a Neo-Renaissance design by Italian architect Mario Tamagno (*), this historical building was where it all started, but over the years having a station in the middle of an enormous city like Bangkok became problematic, especially with the huge increase in the numbers of cars on the roads.
Its huge replacement station in the outskirts of Bangkok in Bang Sue will be able to handle more trains and passengers coming from the North and Northeast, but there's no connection with the Eastern line...
Passengers coming from Aranyaprathet - at the Cambodian border - will have to change to other forms of rail transport (either sky train or underground) to get to Bang Sue.
The logistics haven't been worked out really and the general public's confidence in the authorities to solve this is... well... not very high I'm afraid. (**)
At present only the side entrance is open and after entering you'll see the ticket counters on your left.
On your right is the sitting area in the main hall and in busy times passengers will be sitting (& sleeping, eating, drinking, etc.) everywhere.
Social distancing is well in place...
Behind the ticket counters are the platforms.
Many visitors make use of the station as a photographic backdrop.
A bored railway official about to fall asleep...
Part of the ceiling.
It really is beautifully constructed.
End/beginning of the line.
Still plenty of passengers are making good use of the trains.
2nd class, 3rd class, sleepers and VIP trains, they all can be found here.
Modelling agencies use the station as well.
New sun shades.
Of course any 'proper' railway station must have an official bell, although I've never seen any staff using it!
Outside the building is a huge sprawling railway track complex.
I will be visiting Hualamphong a few more times during this year as this is the end of era...
After its closure there will be only memories, but at least I'm not the only one who has strong nostalgic feelings for this classic station. (***)
Blast From The Past
The following 3 pics I took in January 2020.
All in pre-Covid times...
As you can see the center is used in a very relaxed way, I can't imagine something similar in any Dutch station!
And this last one is from 2016...