Japan donates used diesel trains, Thais criticise acquisition over transport costs

Photo courtesy of the State Railway of Thailand

Japan has donated 17 second-hand diesel trains to Thailand which will be refurbished and ready to be in service in the Kingdom by 2023. The trains are the KiHa 183 series, which were constructed in the 1980s and late 1990s and were last used for UR Hokkaido limited express services. The State Railway of Thailand says the used trains can be operated for another 50 years.

The Thai government paid 42.5 million baht in transportation costs to ship the trains from Japan to Thailand. Some Thais have criticised that the acquisition of the decades-old diesel cars was not worth the costs. Some people say the trains look old. And some question if the SRT will actually keep the trains in good condition and use them for 50 years.

Authorities say the trains arrived at Chon Buri’s Laem Chabang Port on Monday and reports say they are in good condition. The cars now need to be adjusted to match the Thai railway. The main engines, transmission, air conditioning units, and seats will also be changed and adapted. The trains are expected to be in service within the next two years.

These trains will be offered for a charter train and also for four main routes including:

  • Udon Thani – Nong Khai – Vientiane: To support travellers from the new Lao-China railway
  • Nakhon Ratchasima – Khon Kaen: A feeder route for the future high speed train from Bangkok to Nakhon Ratchasima
  • Bangkok – Hua Hin – Suan Son Pradiphat: The return of an old route that had a large commuter base
  • Tourist routes: Routes that vary depending on the occasion with destinations in Central Thailand including Ayutthaya, Lop Buri, Saraburi, Pa Sak Jolasid Dam, Pak Chong, Nakhon Pathom, Chachoengsao, and Supanburi

SOURCES: State Railway of Thailand | Japan News


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