Bangkok steam

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Bangkok steam

Postby johnthefireman » Tue Mar 28, 2017 12:13 am

I've just come back from a hot steamy weekend in Bangkok where the state railway company maintains four or five steam locomotives to be used on official occasions. They run five times a year for occasions such as the king's birthday and other national events. Last weekend's steam train was for the anniversary of the founding of the state railway company, 117 years ago if I recall correctly. A pair of beautifully turned out locos double-headed, coupled tender to tender, presumably to make it easy for the return trip in the absence of a turntable or a triangle at the other end. It was great to see a steam-hauled train standing in the main railway station as the normal train movements went on all around it. We had also visited Thornburi depot the day before, where we received a great welcome and were allowed to wander freely amongst the diesel and steam locos. It's good to see a state railway company being so attentive to its heritage, maintaining and running steam locos as a normal part of their work.
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Re: Bangkok steam

Postby philipmartin » Tue Mar 28, 2017 3:25 am

Very interesting post, John. I envy your hot, steamy weekend. We could use a bit of that just now, where I live.
Googling Steam in Thailand, there are a number of entries showing the 824 coupled back to back with another steamer. 824 is a Pacific, built in 1949 by Nippon Sharyo.
http://www.bangkok.com/magazine/steam-trains.htm
http://www.steamlocomotive.info/country ... h=thailand
http://thai-railway.wikia.com/wiki/Loco ... C03849.jpg
Top photo Copyright © Pawarin Prapukdee
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Re: Bangkok steam

Postby johnthefireman » Tue Mar 28, 2017 9:29 am

Thanks, Philip. I'll try and post some of my photos when I get back to Nairobi next week - I'm in South Sudan at the moment with a dodgy internet connection.
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Re: Bangkok steam

Postby philipmartin » Tue Mar 28, 2017 9:39 am

Photos: sounds good, John. I had a Siamese cat for many years, and for that reason Thailand interests me. It's great the way you folks get around. I'm trying to find a country that David hasn't visited yet. Maybe Siam is it, but I won't bet on it.
On a less pleasant note, see the article I just posted here and on "Friends of the Rail" about Transnet's future.
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Re: Bangkok steam

Postby David Benton » Fri Mar 31, 2017 12:05 am

Sorry Philip , been to Thailand a couple of times.
Is Thornburi the depot aross the river in Bangkok , John ?.
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Re: Bangkok steam

Postby johnthefireman » Fri Mar 31, 2017 12:43 am

Yes, Thornburi is the depot across the river. Interesting and fairly neat little depot, with about five steam locos, several diesels both active and under repair, quite a few coaches and wagons, and an old German rail-mounted crane. There's also a small station which was quite busy with commuter trains at 7 o'clock on a Saturday morning. We had got a Thai friend to write us a letter in Thai just explaining that we were harmless railway enthusiasts who wanted to take photos, and when we showed that to the supervisor he was very welcoming and basically gave us the freedom of the depot, all in sign language. My South African mate who I travelled with had been to Bangkok before and he had got to know one of the steam drivers, and once we were in the depot we managed to find that driver, so again we got another great welcome, again mostly in sign language.

Next day at the main station the security chappies were trying to keep us off the footplate but our friend the driver soon overruled them - never mess with a steam driver on his kingdom, the footplate! The security chaps were also trying to keep us from walking around too much to find the best photo spots, so we tagged on with a friendly group of accredited Thai journalists and they took us to a great spot a few hundred metres down the line where we could stand on an overbridge. One of them had a drone up to take overhead photos. I suppose that's quite common nowadays, but it's the first time I've ever seen it in action.

Oh yes, and true to form, we bumped into a couple of my fellow British railway enthusiasts on the platform. They had booked tickets on the train. Buggers get everywhere, chasing steam locos all over the world...
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Re: Bangkok steam

Postby philipmartin » Fri Mar 31, 2017 3:38 am

John's post sounds like a basis for a movie, one which would be quite popular with railfans.
Pardon me David, for supposing that you might not have been to Thailand; me of little faith. I don't know how David does it, covering so much of this globe.
I used to communicate with my Siamese cat through sign language. We got to understand each other pretty well over the years.
Now, if we hear that George too has been to Thailand, and converses with the people there in their native language, I won't be surprised.
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Re: Bangkok steam

Postby george matthews » Fri Mar 31, 2017 4:42 am

philipmartin wrote:John's post sounds like a basis for a movie, one which would be quite popular with railfans.
Pardon me David, for supposing that you might not have been to Thailand; me of little faith. I don't know how David does it, covering so much of this globe.
I used to communicate with my Siamese cat through sign language. We got to understand each other pretty well over the years.
Now, if we hear that George too has been to Thailand, and converses with the people there in their native language, I won't be surprised.

No, I've never been to Thailand. Only to Singapore.
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Re: Bangkok steam

Postby Gilbert B Norman » Fri Mar 31, 2017 9:15 am

I was in Thailand during Dec '67 on leave from Vietnam.

I recall a ride on a regularly scheduled train with steam power into Bangkok. That was my last, at least in this life.

Fare was about US five cents.
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Re: Bangkok steam

Postby philipmartin » Fri Mar 31, 2017 9:56 am

That five cent train ride sounds good to me. I'm selling monthly tickets for $445.00 and feeling guilty about it. I remember the days when you could ride subways and busses around New York for five cents..
Singapore sounds interesting. I wonder what a rickshaw ride cost there? A fraction of a farthing I suppose.
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Re: Bangkok steam

Postby johnthefireman » Fri Mar 31, 2017 10:02 am

We were riding on the various metro lines in Bangkok for as little as 20 baht, which is probably about 60 US cents at the current exchange rate of 30-something baht to the US dollar. You can't ride on the London Underground for anything like that price!
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Re: Bangkok steam

Postby philipmartin » Fri Mar 31, 2017 10:18 am

The Bangkok Metro. Who would have thought it!

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/MRT_(Bangkok
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Re: Bangkok steam

Postby george matthews » Fri Mar 31, 2017 10:24 am

philipmartin wrote:That five cent train ride sounds good to me. I'm selling monthly tickets for $445.00 and feeling guilty about it. I remember the days when you could ride subways and busses around New York for five cents..
Singapore sounds interesting. I wonder what a rickshaw ride cost there? A fraction of a farthing I suppose.

As a highly modern state there are no rickshaws. There is a new metro system (which I saw only in the building state when I was there). There is also severe taxation of individual motor cars to discourage their ownership and to encourage use of public transport.
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Re: Bangkok steam

Postby philipmartin » Fri Mar 31, 2017 10:43 am

Singapore: Only the rich are likely to drive personal cars. Good idea. :wink:

Singapore metro. My idea of Asian cities is a bit dated.
My link is slightly defective, lacking the close paremphasis.


https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mass_Ra ... (Singapore


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cLaVeZWes54&sns=em

http://youtu.be/GxpBEq-4rMU
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Re: Bangkok steam

Postby johnthefireman » Fri Mar 31, 2017 12:44 pm

Bangkok has an underground line and several metro-style overground lines, several of them running on elevated tracks far above the streets. There are also elevated roadways, sometimes three or more layers - street level, an elevated roadway, maybe an elevated footpath too, and right at the top an elevated railway.

I didn't see any rickshaws, although of course you can see bicycle-type rickshaws in a number of modern European cities, but Bangkok does have the ubiquitous tuk tuk, a motorised three-wheel rickshaw based on a Vespa-like motor scooter. It also has a lot of motorbike taxis, that we in Africa call boda boda.
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