Hua Hin train line update: New dual track to open for testing in September

The construction of the new Hua Hin train station. Image taken on 22 March 2023. Hua Hin Today.

The new dual-track rail line that runs through Hua Hin will be open for testing this September, the State Railway of Thailand (SRT) has announced.

Mr. Ekarat Sriarayanpong, Head of the Governor’s Office at the State Railway of Thailand (SRT), provided an update on the progress of the rapid expansion dual-track railway project.

The ambitious 400-kilometer-long railway project, stretching from Nakhon Pathom to Chumphon, known as the southern line, is nearing completion.

During the testing phase, control and telecom systems will be installed, while the whole line is expected to be ready by the end of 2024.

Notably, the train lines that impact Hua Hin and the surrounding region are making significant strides towards completion, Mr. Ekarat revealed.

The Nakhon Pathom – Hua Hin segment is divided into two contracts, with the first one, Nakhon Pathom – Nong Pla Lai, covering 93 kilometers and already 97.183% complete.

The second contract, Nong Pla Lai – Hua Hin, spans 76 kilometers and is 97.535% complete.

Similarly, the Hua Hin – Prachuap Khiri Khan segment, spanning 84 kilometers, is on the verge of completion and has a progress status of 99.999%.

Lastly, the Prachuap Khiri Khan – Chumphon segment, divided into two contracts, is also making significant headway, with 93.510% and 96.523% completion progress, respectively.

Furthermore, the southern signaling system, which covers the entire 420 kilometers of the Southern line, has reached 48.147% completion.

Commencing in September 2023, the SRT plans to begin operations from Nakhon Pathom station, extending approximately 400 kilometers to Saphli railway station in Chumpon.

There are currently a total of nine rail line expansion projects being undertaken in Thailand, seven of which are new dual track lines (like the one you see being constructed in Hua Hin) and two are single track lines.

Mr. Ekachai said that once all the projects have been completed, the railway lines will increase the proportion of dual-track lines in the country up to 10 times, accounting for about 65% of the total railway distance.

This will help to make rail transport more efficient and competitive, Mr Ekachai added.

The u-turn bridge next to the Seapines recreation centre and hotel, which is on newly built double-track railway between Hua Hin and Prachuap Khiri Khan. Image: SRT

It is also expected to support the growth of both cargo and passenger transport and facilitate a shift from road transport to more cost-effective rail options, while enhancing connectivity with neighboring countries.

The new dual track trains are expected to achieve speeds of approximately 160 km/h, enabling people to travel between Hua Hin and Bangkok in just two to three hours, a vast improvement compared to the current journey, which can take up to six hours by train. This improved connectivity is set to benefit both commuters and tourists alike, fostering economic growth and promoting tourism in the region.

The SRT has projected that by 2051, around 2.85 million people will be utilizing the dual-track train line, underscoring its potential to revolutionize transportation in Thailand and solidify the nation’s position as a central hub for rail transportation in ASEAN.

As part of the project, the region’s train stations are being overhauled and emerging as architectural gems that have been designed to blend functionality, accessibility, and aesthetics.

Some of the local train stations have already been completed, while others, like Hua Hin Train Station, are nearing completion.

All of the new stations along the Southern Line have been designed to enhance accessibility and inclusivity in adherence to meet Universal Design principles. This helps to ensure that all individuals, regardless of their abilities, can access and navigate the stations with ease.

Universal Design is the design and composition of an environment so that it can be accessed, understood and used to the greatest extent possible by all people regardless of their age, size, ability or disability.

This means all the train stations include features such as disabled parking spaces and ramps, reduced height counter at ticket office, escalators, lifts, restrooms and more.