, 62 tweets, 20 min read Read on Twitter
For some reason Train No. 7 is the only day train from Bangkok to Chiang Mai, and it’s 11 hours in a 2-car DMU something like this. A “Special Express”. All the other BKK-CMX trains are locomotive-hauled sleepers overnight at 14 hours. NSW people, imagine an Xplorer to Melbourne.
BTS Skytrain from Phra Khanong to Asok, four stops for THB 30.
MRT Subway from Sukhumvit to Hua Lamphong, six stops for THB 28. It is important to know that every system has different operating companies and there is no integrated ticketing because of course there isn’t.
Hua Lamphong SRT station. In a glorious bit of #verythai the top half of the departure board isn’t working. I will search for my train manually, but after a coffee. 40 minutes until departure.
In an elaborate sequence of pre-recorded bell sounds and pips, the station clock strikes 8am, and plays the National Anthem. (Or possibly the Royal Anthem. I admit not knowing which is which.) Most of the waiting passengers stand in respect.
Two random locomotives on the Arrivals side of the station.
The view from the Arrivals platforms back toward the main concourse.
I was mistaken. They are 3-car DMUs, not 2-car, and not as new inside as some of the photos online. But the air conditioning is excellent. Also, fans.
A welcoming sculpture garden near Platform 10.
Departing exactly on time at 0830 ICT.
How to wash a train before use. Attn: @TrainLinkWest @erkpod.
I suppose I should’ve looked up where else this train stops on the way to Chiang Mai, but meh adventure. #lametrainadventure
Here we go. The plan.
Bangkok’s new central railway station under construction at Bang Sue Junction. It will have three levels of train: MRT metro, SRT regional trains, and the new high-speed rail to China. The last is running into contractual difficulties, I understand. en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bang_Sue_…
Partial Henge at Lak Si. (See stilgherrian.com/thailand/unrel… for an explanation.)
If I show this thread to @DavidFeng it might keep him amused.
Morning snack: Your cup of finest coffee*, and custard in your bun.

* Also available: Tea, orange juice, or water.
Respectable speeds for a DMU cruising north through the rice fields.
Just passed Ban Phatchi Junction. We did not stop.
Some sort of mountain.
Did you know that there’s quite a lot of rice fields in Thailand?
It’s 11am, and time for some photos just for @jxeeno @SnarkyPlatypus @ApostrophePong.
Just passed this solar farm. Hard to photograph because it’s flat terrain, but it did have its own herd of goats (not shown) to keep the grass under control.
Hua Ngiu station. This isn’t a scheduled stop. It’s all single track up here, so we were allowing a southbound train to pass. For the last hour or more we’ve been passing construction work on track duplication, though, plus many road overpass bridges just being started.
It’s a few minutes before midday and we’re here, just departing Nakhon Sawan.
Passing a bunch of ponds and fish farms near the Nan River.
Oops floods.
There’s several species of crane or heron or whatever all through the paddies and it’s so nice to see wetland birds that don’t have their heads shoved down a bin.
Local train and random locomotive at Phitsanulok.
I didn’t manage to get a photo, but at the next door along on that local train a newly-wed couple was having their photos taken on the train steps.
Did you know that there are rice fields in Thailand?
Storks. I’ve just realised that some of the birds are storks.
Now arriving at Uttaradit. (“Utter Rabbit”?) We’re currently running about 15 minutes behind schedule.
We are here, but still only 64 metres above sea level.
Afternoon snack, being another cup of the finest coffee* and another but different thing.

* Also available as before: Tea, orange juice, or water.
I’m not sure what the thing has in it. It might be some sort of sweet bean paste.
We’ve started ascending into the mountains. The train runs slowly. The internets are intermittent, so I’ll get some work done.
We’re running along the course of the Yom River, which is muddy and flowing strongly. It’s also very blurry when photographed through the rain and the wet, smudged train window.
Arriving at Ban Pin. We’re now about 40 minutes late. Still 118km to Chiang Mai, so with the delay that means we’ve got about 3h40m to go. Our average speed will therefore be 32km/h tops, @DavidFeng. I believe the delays were due to landslide worries, or some such. Who can say?
Apparently there are rice fields in Thailand.
Arriving at Nakhon Lampang just as the station clock here does its complicated 6pm ritual, just like the one I described in Bangkok at 8am. We’ve made up about 10 minutes I think.
Maybe not. Around 20 people just boarded the train and they have to discuss loudly with all of the others where their seats are. And they still can’t work it out. This is worse than a Jetstar flight.
The car steward has reached the end of her tether and is herding them to the correct seats with barked orders.
We pull out at 1806. We are now only 33 minutes behind schedule.
I should mention the crewing levels. There’s a steward in each of the three cars, handling the food and drink. One cleaner works all three cars. There’s two guards, of different ranks. I think there’s also a couple of porters, though maybe they were based at the major stations.
There’s a driver, obviously. I didn’t see whether he had an assistant, though when the train was brought into the departure platform two people alighted from the cab. One may have been a yard driver though. His uniform was more casual whereas the main driver’s was crisp
The journey is timetabled at 11 hours and we’re running longer, so two people in the cab would be prudent. Still, mai pen rai krub.
Sunset is in just a couple of minutes so there probably won’t be many more photos. The car has quietened down now that everyone has settled into their seats.
Um, moving backwards up the main line. I’m hoping it’s because we weren’t switched to passing siding, or something, as opposed to being set up for a terrible rail accident.
We’ve come backwards to stop at this station. Google Maps has given up on the Roman alphabet because hey why not.
Ah. I think we’ve just decided to wait at this station for a night train (pictured) to clear the Khun Tan Tunnel. en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Khun_Tan_…
Moving again.
I believe we have just made it through the Khun Tan Tunnel to Khun Tan, finally, so that was something like 9km in the last hour or more. We should be in Chiang Mai for Christmas!
Actually that tweet was delayed because we were arseing about in the mountains. Stand by.
We are here. We were meant to be at Lamphun at 1915 but it is now 2000 and we are still maybe 15 or 20 minutes away. My guess at our ETA in Chiang Mai is now 2030 or later.
For a moment there I thought I might be living out the rest of my days in Khun Tan National Park.
Departing Lamphun. In theory* that means 15 minutes to Chiang Mai.

* Which is to say, the timetable, and as I’ve said before that’s highly aspirational.
Not far now, but it’s well dark outside.
Arrived in Chiang Mai, 75 minutes behind schedule. Thank you, Train No. 7, you served us well today. Mostly.
This thread on the Bangkok to Chiang Mai train started over here. It’s also on a single page at threadreaderapp.com/thread/1170483… and I may add some more photos later. Or not.
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