Insurgent bomb derails train in Songkhla

PHOTO: A bomb by southern insurgents derailed a train in the Deep South province of Songkhla. (via Thai PBS World)

A train was derailed in the deep south of Thailand, and security officials believe it was a result of a bomb set off by southern insurgents. Train number 707 was making a short run from Hat Yai to the border town of Padang Besar in the Sadao district in the southern province of Songkhla.

The train was a freight train, transporting para rubber to Malaysia, according to the State Railway of Thailand. It had been travelling along the main rail lines between the major southern hub of Hat Yai and the Malaysian capital city of Kuala Lumpur when the train was thrown off the tracks by the bomb.

Thai security officials believe that insurgents detonated the bomb in an attempt to disrupt the train service between Malaysia and Thailand, an extremely popular route. Over 1.5 million people have come to Thailand from Malaysia this year, more than any other demographic. Rail lines have been ramping up service between Kuala Lumpur and Hat Yai, as well as from the Malaysian border all the way to Bangkok.

The bombing will impede travel for huge numbers of travellers and tourists who were relying on the rail service. All scheduled trains between Hat Yai and Padang Besar have now been suspended by the SRT until the tracks can be repaired.

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Experts have examined the scene of the bombing. The explosive ordnance disposal unit collected debris to investigate and searched around in case there were more bombs in the area around the train tracks.

The explosion blew several freight cars off the rail lines, as well as shattering the tracks themselves. A crater measuring about three metres long and two metres wide was found underneath the remaining train tracks, carved out by the bomb explosion.

As the train was a freight train and not carrying any passengers, there were only two drivers, a brake operator, and a mechanic on board when the train was rocked by the explosion. According to Thai PBS World, no one was injured in the blast.

South Thailand News

Neill Fronde

Neill is a journalist from the United States with 10+ years broadcasting experience and national news and magazine publications. He graduated with a degree in journalism and communications from the University of California and has been living in Thailand since 2014.

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