Express 949: Hat Yai Junction to Padang Besar by Shuttle Train

The Hat Yai – Padang Besar Shuttle Train is a twice-daily return service running between Hat Yai, the largest town in the Songkhla Province of Southern Thailand and Padang Besar, the eastern Malaysia-Thailand border town. The Express 949 operates on a time-effective afternoon schedule departing Hat Yai at 1.05pm Thai Time (GMT+7), just after checking-out of your hotel and allowing a last Thai lunch before heading back to Malaysia.


This post is about the travel experience onboard the Hat Yai – Padang Besar Shuttle Train.

This is NOT the actual information page you are looking for.

Click here to visit the dedicated Hat Yai – Padang Besar Shuttle Train information page.



Tickets for the Hat Yai – Padang Besar Shuttle Train are only sold on the day of departure. Get your tickets at the counters for immediate travel.



The dedicated 4-car BREL Class 158/T Sprinter DMU, ready for an on-time departure from Hat Yai Junction to Padang Besar.

As this journey was significantly more crowded than the Express 947 in the morning, there wasn’t any available seats left in the entire train.

Hence, even though I had to stand for the journey, I decided to stand where I would have gotten the best view of the journey.

As the Sprinter has a connecting door at the ends of the train should the need arise to add more cars to the train, that was where I stood for the journey with the best view* possible.

*Of course the best view at the front of the train, but that wouldn’t be possible with the driver driving it.

The Special Express DRC 41 bound for Yala.


Exiting Hat Yai Junction Railway Station with the view of disused Krupp locomotives in a siding.


Heading off towards Khlong Ngae.


Making a short stop at Khlong Ngae.



Departing Khlong Ngae, on the way to Padang Besar (Thai).



Making a short stop at Padang Besar (Thai).



Entering the electrified sector of Thailand.

Wait, what?

A short section of approximately 280 meters just after the Malaysia-Thailand border of Padang Besar lies the State Railway of Thailand’s only electrified sector in the whole of Thailand.

This line is part of the Ipoh – Padang Besar Electrified Double Track Project undertaken in Malaysia. Even before this project came about, as the last northern point of Padang Besar station is just at the national border itself, locomotives running around will have to enter this main line “headshunt” in Thailand and take another track in Malaysia to to loop back to the other end of the train. This “overrun” into Thailand is possibly planned to allow electric trains to enter this short section of track to change lines at Padang Besar station, just as the locomotives have done. This also allows the overhead lines to taper into a single file before ending the line.

However, as the ETS or Komuter trains have driving cabs on each end, they have never entered Thailand before. While I’m not sure about the EL Class locomotives, if an electric train ever uses this section of track, it can technically be said that there are electrified trains running on the meter-gauge State Railway of Thailand tracks.


Passing by the old Padang Besar (Thailand) platforms, which was never on train schedules till the Padang Besar (Thai) Railway Station was completed.

Passing through the border of Thailand and Malaysia.


Entering Platform 2 of Padang Besar Railway Station.


Arrived at Padang Besar Railway Station.

Padang Besar Railway Station’s platforms are all at train level (ie. high platforms). If you are disembarking from the front-most or rear-most doors, you can hop over to the platform easily with a platform gap of just about 30cm.


Disembark easily from the Sprinter at Padang Besar.

If you are disembarking from all other doors, there is a big platform gap of about 75cm.

If you aren’t confident to hop over the 75cm-wide platform gap, take one step down first and then take another step up the platform.


Still disembarking somewhat easily from the Sprinter at Padang Besar.

Most importantly, keep in mind the ever-popular British announcement when you are on board the Sprinter.

“Mind the gap.”

Once off the train, queue up to clear Thailand and Malaysia immigration and customs.



If you are at the end of the line, expect to queue for an hour when on a fully-loaded train. Once done, you can head upstairs to get tickets for ETS and Komuter trains for your onward journey within Malaysia.


This post is about the travel experience onboard the Hat Yai – Padang Besar Shuttle Train.

This is NOT the actual information page you are looking for.

Click here to visit the dedicated Hat Yai – Padang Besar Shuttle Train information page.

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