Day 35: State Railway of Thailand from Aranyaprathet to Bangkok

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Aranyaprathet is the closest station to the border of Cambodia at Poipet. It is linked to Bangkok via the Eastern Line.

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The food stalls and tuk-tuk waiting area outside the station.

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My train was already waiting at the platform, which is formed from the early morning train from Bangkok.

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The destination board of my train, the Ordinary 276 from Aranyaprathet to Bangkok. Sometimes informally known as the Cambodia Express, this train is far from being an actual express as it stops at almost every station along the way and fully consists of third class non-air-conditioned coaches. Also, it doesn’t actually enter Cambodia.

But hopefully this will change once the Phnom Penh – Poipet – Aranyaprathet Line is up, hopefully at the end of this year.

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The ticket counter opened about half an hour before departure. It moved quite fast, since most of the passengers in the queue did not have to pay for their ticket.

Thai citizens travel free on third class in all Ordinary and some Rapid trains in Thailand by the way.

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My ticket for the Ordinary 276.

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In the train, railway policemen were checking the train for possibly any contraband. All of them were very friendly, greeting every passenger as they pass along.

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The sniffer dog on duty today.

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A look at the Aranyaprathet Railway Police station on the other side of the tracks, with the flags of ASEAN in front of it. Most land borders in Vietnam, Cambodia and Thailand bear the flags of ASEAN in front of them.

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The train departed from Aranyaprathet on schedule.

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For the most part of this leg, views of the countryside with temple stupas breaking the horizon are common.

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Making a brief scheduled stop at a rural station.

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During the journey though, it started raining. Something which I don’t like on non-air-conditioned trains as I have to close the window.

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Thankfully though, the Thai coaches have a glass panel and a opaque metal panel with louvers to continue to let air in, though of course not as much as a fully opened window.

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This is how I aligned the panels to still get a view and some fresh air in my section, instead of just fully utilising one of the panels.

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Bought a sticky rice with pork (?) from one of the vendors as a snack for 10 baht.

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Crossing a lake along the way.

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Crossing with the THN diesel railcar from Bangkok to Aranyaprathet, departing Bangkok in the afternoon.

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More food vendors at Prachin Buri, but her stock was sold out before she could even make it to my coach. Oh well.

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Paddy fields along the way.

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An ex-JNR KiHa 48 which functioned as a second class air-conditioned railcar service in Thailand before being converted to non-air-conditioned third class and now on a maintenance train.

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More fields.

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The sunset view from the train is excellent for photos. The train travels north-south during the sunset window, so photos are really easy to shoot straight from the window.

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A rare double rainbow seen from the train.

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The actual sunset timing is when the train enters the Bangkok Metropolitan Region.

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Crossing Luang Phang, the border of Chacheongsao and Bangkok.

Hello Bangkok, I’m back!

The train runs parallel under the Suvarnabhumi Airport Rail Link tracks from Lat Krabang to Phaya Thai. If you are staying at hotels along the line, especially in the popular Pratunam area, get off at Ratchaprarop station, just like how you would do from the Airport Rail Link.

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The familiarity really hits me on the section of track after Suvarnabhumi Airport. Passing through the Makkasan area and the Petchaburi MRT station.

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The heavy traffic waiting for my train to pass through.

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The train also stops at Phaya Thai. If you’re changing to the BTS, you can alight here as well.

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Entering the all-familiar Hua Lamphong Railway Station.

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Trying to guess which track my train is using this evening.

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As the train pulls in to the platform, a staff skillfully removes the destination signs on all the coaches to store them in his “library” behind him for the next train tomorrow.

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Finally arrived back in Bangkok.

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The Ordinary 276 at its terminal station.

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I counted a 12 minute delay for arrival, but the arrival board says 15. I guess they count the arrival time by what time the train staff actually report to the station master’s office rather than the exact time the train stopped at the station.

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The facade of Bangkok Hua Lamphong Railway Station.

Price I paid from Aranyaprathet to Bangkok: ฿48 in cash (around S$1.87, rounding up)

With that, I have also completed the full line between Aranyaprathet and Bangkok, just as how I have already completed the southern line between Bangkok and Padang Besar & Hat Yai and Sungai Golok, and the northern line between Bangkok and Chiang Mai.

Everything is definitely familiar from here onwards.

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