A look at the new trains earmarked for use on Hua Hin dual track line

All images: State Railway of Thailand

The State Railway of Thailand (SRT) has given a glimpse of the new train carriages, which are earmarked for use to a number of destinations, including Hua Hin.

SRT governor Nirut Maneephan said the four-bogey train may be used for trips from Bangkok to places like Sai Yok Falls in Kanchanaburi, Hua Hin or the Pasak Dam in Lopburi.

“SRT hopes the KIHA 183 trains will play a big part in promoting tourism in Thailand,” he said.

“They will offer tourists a brand new experience.”

The 17 second-hand diesel KIHA 183 locomotive trains were donated by the Japanese Hokkaido Railway Company (JR Hokkaido) back in December 2021.

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Of the 17 air-conditioned diesel locomotives, eight can seat 40 passengers, eight can seat 68 passengers and one carriage has 52 seats.

Mr Nirut revealed the SRT spent a total of 42.5 million baht, or 2.5 million baht per train, in transporting the trains from Japan to Thailand, with another 200,000 baht per train spent on materials and modifications.

Using the trains donated from Japan helped to save the SRT a significant amount of money when compared to what it cost to buy brand new trains.

Mr Nirut said it was about 400 times cheaper to use the donated trains when compared to buying new, which will cost in the region of 80-100 million baht per carriage.

He added that the test runs of the trains have successfully been conducted on the Makkasan-Chachoengsao-Bangkok route where the train comfortably reached a maximum speed of 100 kilometres per hour.

All of the trains are expected to be fully operational by late 2023 and will be in use for the next 15 to 20 years.

A further trial of the new trains will then take place in October along other routes in Thailand.

The trial will begin with SRT soliciting feedback in order to evaluate where the trains will be used.

Initially, the service will be limited to short routes of less than 300 kilometers, such as the Sai Yok Waterfall in Kanchanaburi Province, Hua Hin in Prachuap Khiri Khan Province, and the Pa Sak Jolasid Dam in Lopburi Province.

Mr Nirut also gave further details on the first phase of the renovation that has been carried on an initial 13 of the 17 trains.

This includes inspecting the engine operation system, brake, electrics and air conditioning systems, including cleaning the interior, washing seats and curtains, improving interior signs from Japanese to English, and testing all virtual working systems.

External renovation of the train has also been carried out, which includes new lights being installed, modified steps and repainting and polishing.

In the second phase, the SRT will completely overhaul the trains by changing wheels, bearings, engines, electrical systems, brakes and air-conditioning so they can be used for long-haul services, Mr Nirut said. The overhaul may take two years to complete, he added.

If Hua Hin is one of the routes used for the trains, they will be in operation on the new dual track rail line which is expected to be completed by the end of the year. 

The section of the track in Hua Hin forms part of the Southern line that will eventually connect Nakhon Pathom with Chumphon, a distance of 421 kilometers, a distance of 421 kilometers.

All images: State Railway of Thailand


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