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SRT: Maeklong Line ? Ban Bo Station.

 
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thaitransit



Age: 36
Joined: 07 Dec 2008
Posts: 40
Location: Mahachai City

PostPosted: Mon Nov 05, 2012 12:07 am    Post subject: SRT: Maeklong Line ? Ban Bo Station. Reply with quote

One afternoon during August 2011 I visited Ban Bo station on the Maeklong Line. This visit was to document a mid route station on the Maeklong line and to capture the lines trains from a track side vantage point. Ban Bo village and station is about 50 km south west of Bangkok.

A little Background on the Maeklong Line:

The Maeklong Line is a physically isolated rural commuter railway located about 40km south west of Bangkok. This line was opened in 1907 by the Maeklong Railway Company and operated as a private railway until SRT took over operations in 1952.

The Maeklong Line is 33.57km long and runs between the western bank of Thachin river in Mahachai (Ban Laem) then runs through a number of small coastal fishing and salt farming villages to the provincial centre of Maeklong. The line is primary used by locals travelling for shopping or school in either Maeklong or Mahachai. After crossing the Thachin river on a ferry passengers can take a train from Mahachai station onwards to Wong Wian Yai in Thonburi.

The Maeklong railway is very well know for its railway market just before the lines terminus at Maeklong station. The market is built directly on top of the active railway track. Therefore requiring every stall to clear the track eight times a day to allow trains to pass through. Another prominent feature of the line are the humpback railway bridges over a large number of khlongs that cross the line on there way to the sea. The bridges have to be built up higher than the surrounding land to allow clearance for boats to pass under the railway bridges.

The Maeklong line has no signalling system all trains are controlled by radio communications. However there is never more than one train on the line at anyone time. The line has no passing loops except for a small siding at Ban Laem station. Until 2010 there was only one 2 carriage DMU to provide all services on the line. In 2010 a second 2 carriage DMU set was introduced for weekend tourist services. The trains used on the line are NKF Japanese made DMUs built in the mid 1980s. The more regularly used older DMU set is stored in the platform road at Maeklong station. The weekend tourist DMU set is stored at the very end of the platform road at Ban Laem station.

As the line is totally cut off from any other railway all carriages need to be road transported to another railway for transport to Makkasan workshops in Bangkok. As a result some basic maintenance is carried out track side at Ban Laem station. The DMU sets are refuelled at Ban Laem. Due to this isolation one of the DMU sets had been operating with patched up accident damage for more than 2 years.

As this line is only used as a rural commuter railway and is not considered an important main line the line receives very little maintenance as a result the average train speed is only 30 kph with some sections such as bridges only 20kph due to poor quality track. Due to the line being only a couple of kilometres from the Gulf of Thailand in an extremely low lying area the railway is subject to flooding during the rainy season also is subject to occasional sea inundation during high tides.

The future of the Maeklong railway is rather unknown as there has been a number of plans made over a long time period to both extend the line to Pak Tho on the Southern line and to connect it up with Mahachai line via a bridge or tunnel and thus through to Bangkok. It is possible that a future high speed railway to Padang Besar on the Malaysian border might be build via Maeklong but not on the same route as the current line.

As the Maeklong line's railway reserve is only 14 meters wide at the most thus making expansion of the line much harder due to lack of space for double tracking or larger modern stations. In many locations this land is shared with housing and roads reducing the corridor to just 3 meters wide in places. Complicating the issue further is the land the railway is built on is extremely vulnerable to rising sea levels and storm related sea inundation. Also the ground is very difficult to tunnel through due a very high water table plus the bed rock is hundreds of meters below ground far too deep to dig down to for tunnels in an area that is less than 2 km from the sea.

13. This is a shot of NKF DMU set number 1216 as it pulls into Ban Bo station on a service to Ban Laem. In 2010 and 2011 the DMU was replaced with a refurbished unit transported from the Main system.



16. This is an image of NKF DMU set number 1227. Taken as it was cresting the humpback rail bridge just east of Ban Bo station.



20. This is a shot of NKF DMU number 1227 as it approaches the humpback rail bridge east of Ban Bo station on the last service to Maeklong for the day. Note the quality rails in this area.



24. This is a shot of NKF DMU number 1227 as it powers through the level crossing just west of Ban Bo station on its way to Maeklong with all the carriage doors wide open.



25. This is a movie of NKF DMU number 1227 on a service to Maeklong. Taken from the western end of Ban Bo village near the level crossing. Note how all the carriage doors are left open as it travels along.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qXP7QRr4aD0

26. This is a shot of truck - bus number 8233 ? 3. Taken as it was turning into the terminus at Ban Bo just west of the station. This truck has been converted to operate on LPG at some point.



If you would like to see more images and video of SRT: Maeklong Line ? Ban Bo Station please visit:

http://thaitransit.blogspot.com.au/2012/11/srt-maeklong-line-ban-bo-station.html

I hope you find the pictures and vehicles shown to be of interest if you view this please post some comments and feelings about the pictures.
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JimmiB



Age: 74
Joined: 19 Apr 2011
Posts: 516
Location: Lebanon, PA

PostPosted: Tue Nov 06, 2012 2:20 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

The truck-buses look interesting. Looks like several makes of truck chassis and different bus body styles.
Interesting comparison between the modern station, well kept right of way and the Siemens train sets on the KLIA and the very poorly maintained Maeklang line. From the looks of the trackage I would think 30 KPH would be too fast!
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thaitransit



Age: 36
Joined: 07 Dec 2008
Posts: 40
Location: Mahachai City

PostPosted: Fri Nov 09, 2012 10:42 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

The DMU set can get upto 40 kph on this line and my it rocks and bounces along at that speed. This line has had no real upgrades since 1912. just very basic track repairs.
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