Monday, January 21, 2008

Bangsue Junction Railway Yards

Bangsue Junction
Bangsue Junction

Bangsue Junction, it's a couple of syllables short of being a really exotic name. Not quite up there with some of the Indian railway names where you would expect to see William Holden falling in love with a beautiful Eurasian girl, in black & white of course.

I had seen the massive railway yards from the elevated expressway a couple of weeks ago while getting to the Morechit northern bus terminal and figured it would make a future walk. Sometimes for the walk I don't mind the lack of interesting scenery as then I can get some thinking done. Other-times some interesting sights can be the impetus needed to get out walking. Yesterday I shed fifty years and became a boy again and got to play with the railways.

Crashed Railway Carriage
Crashed rail carriage in the sidings

One of the good things about Thailand is that it can be fairly laid back on some of the official rules that are now accepted as gospel back home. I don't want to get too "Life on Mars" like, but things have changed, probably for the better, in the UK. Anyway, even with this laid back attitude I thought that a Sunday morning would be best for an exploration of yards as the security would be a little more lax. I drove over at 7 AM.

The yards are really massive and it makes sense that when the business press here talks about the State Railways of Thailand they talk about its property portfolio. The yards are split into cargo sidings, passenger carriages sidings and a large diesel engine workshop. I also found another area where the very upmarket Eastern & Oriental Express railway coaches were parked. These are part of an expensive tour taking in Singapore, Malaysia and Thailand.

Railway Carriage Homes
Railway workers homes

The railway security guys did catch up with me a couple of times just to see what I was up to. Exchanged pleasantries and all was well. Not the reaction if I did it in the UK I think. I did try and stay off the rails and we don't have electric rails here either. There were Sunday shifts both working in the goods yards and in the diesel shed, but everyone was friendly and it was a fine morning's walk. There is a community of railway workers that look fairly settled in a small hamlet made up of vintage railway carriages. Beautiful gardens and even a satellite dish.

Armoured Railcar
Armoured rail car

Near the southern end of the yards near to where the old steam engine in yesterday's picture was on display was this police armoured rail car. Now this looked like pure Hollywood. It should have been full of Federales while Pancho Villa attacked the train. Did Anthony Quinn ever play Pancho?

Getting home I found that it was an ex-British railcar taken to Malaya during the Emergency. 47 were built in the UK by D. Wickham in 1953. In the 1960s two were lent to Thailand and this must be one of those. Anyone who needs this type of information should try and get hold of an out of print book called "The Railways of Thailand" by an Austrian called R. Ramaer.

One last photo for now. Strange items left on a warehouse loading dock.

Railway Warehouse Loading Dock
Warehouse loading dock

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