Thursday saw the official opening of Southeast Asia’s largest railway station, ushering in a new era for rail travel in Thailand.
According to the government, the massive, contemporary construction on the outskirts of Bangkok’s city center will strengthen the nation’s status as a regional hub and improve its economy.
The king gave it the formal name Krung Thep Aphiwat Central Terminal. However, given its location in Bangkok, Bang Sue Grand Station is likelier to be known by that name to most people.
Takun Indarachome, the State Railway of Thailand’s head of traffic operations, estimates the cost of the new terminal—including the station, elevated train tracks, and a connecting station for the city of Bangkok’s mass transit system—will be close to $1 billion.
The new terminal, constructed ten years ago, will serve nearly all Thailand’s long-distance domestic and international rail services.
Sungai Kolok, located on Thailand’s southern border with Malaysia, was the destination of the first train to leave the new station.
However, many Thais regret the removal of the previous station, Hua Lamphong Station, which was located amid Bangkok’s Chinatown.
Generations of travelers have passed through the historic station’s high-ceilinged waiting area, from backpacking tourists heading south to unwind at beach resorts to rural laborers seeking work in the city.
For the nostalgic, though, not all is lost.
Numerous lines that travel locally and to the east will still zigzag their way to the more historic and convenient station.
It will be utilized by 62 trains each day, at least initially.
The Belt and Road Initiative, primarily responsible for the new terminal’s construction, simultaneously extends Southeast Asia’s rail networks.
A nearly 30-hectare, four-story station will be accessible to passengers (3.2 million square feet).
As the primary location for the government’s free COVID-19 vaccination program last year, the location is already well-known to many Bangkok residents.
According to the government, trains will arrive and depart on 24 tracks at 12 platforms, and the station can handle up to 40 trains at once.
It claims that at peak hours, it can accommodate up to 600,000 passengers per day, which is more than ten times the capacity of Hua Lamphong station.
🎥 Video clip of KiHa-183, the ceremonial train for today, leaving #KrungThepAphiwat at 1:52pm with the Minister of Transport. This was the second train to leave #Bangkok’s new railway terminal. #KTW #Thailand #Trains pic.twitter.com/PsdjrE2Bvw
— Thai Train Guide (@ThaiTrainGuide) January 19, 2023