Bangkok Airport Express Train

The State Railway of Thailand (SRT) has been running free trial trains on the new Suvarnabhumi Airport Link route between Makkasan Central Air Terminal (CAT) and Suvarnabhumi Airport (Bangkok’s main international airport). The Bangkok Frugal Photographer likes free, so on Monday (a public holiday in lieu of the King’s Birthday on Saturday) I went down to Makkasan Station to try it.

Bangkok’s transport planners had the right idea. Makkasan Station is close to Phetchaburi Subway Station. Unfortunately the implementation is a bit awry – there are no signs at all in the Subway Station to direct passengers to the railway station. They’ll probably fix this when the service opens for full service.

The CAT is huge. It’s obviously designed for growth. It has separate areas for the Express train direct to the airport and the City Line train that stops at four stations en route.

There are check-in desks for flights so you can leave your luggage there and travel in comfort. None of them are operating yet. There were not any shops or restaurants open either. However some enterprising companies were promoting things like a condo development close to the station.

The State Railway of Thailand provided many people to guide the curious passengers to the free train service. It used a City Line train – presumably because they have more standing room.

The train was standing room only in both directions. They were departing about one every fifteen minutes and the non-stop run took the same time.

Everything was very smooth and the Siemens Desiro Electric Multiple Units accelerated quickly. The blue bench seats were not very comfortable: they seemed sized for small Thai posteriors. I expect the Express trains are more comfortable.

Here’s a Picasa Web album of some of the pictures I took today.

Bangkok Airport Express
State Railway of Thailand Train

The Traditional Thai Train

I did not have time to linger at the airport so I took a few pictures of service vehicles and then took a train back to Makkasan. Unfortunately Suvarnabhumi airport is not good for plane spotting.

As I was leaving the station some railway employees pushed wheeled gates across the main Asok-Din Daeng Road to allow a State Railway of Thailand train to pass. The Airport Express follows the old Eastern Line. The latter is a single track that has not been well maintained. It is such a contrast with the elevated Express trains above it.

See also http://sites.google.com/site/thebkkphotographer/home/bangkok-airport-express-train for a slide show.

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4 Responses to “Bangkok Airport Express Train”

  1. Les Says:

    Can you tell me when this line will be fully operanation? I undarstand it won’t go ‘live’ till March

  2. BKKPhotographer Says:

    I don’t think they have a firm commitment yet. What I understand happened is that the State Railway of Thailand (SRT) were under pressure to open the line in honour of the King’s birthday on December 5th.

    They opened it for a demo to the Prime Minister but said it was not ready for full service. The PM suggested they run free trips for a few days to show the people the progress that had been made. That’s what I was able to go on.

    Now the line is closed again while the SRT and its contractors finish all the detailed work.

  3. BKKPhotographer Says:

    According to http://www.bangkokpost.com/news/transport/161932/pm-airport-link-opening-before-april the line will be open “before April” 2010.

  4. By Train to Pattaya « Bkkphotographer's Blog Says:

    […] my apartment as it travels along Phetchaburi Road. It’s the corridor used by the new elevated Airport Express […]

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