Rapid 109: The First Northern Long Distance Train From Krung Thep Aphiwat Central Terminal
On 19 January 2023, Krung Thep Aphiwat Central Terminal, formerly known as Bang Sue Grand Station, replaced Bangkok Hua Lamphong Railway Station as the main long distance train terminal in Bangkok. In view of this move, King Vajiralongkorn bestowed the name of Krung Thep Aphiwat Central Terminal to this mega station on 8 September 2022 to mark this new era of railways in Thailand.
Following my ride with Rapid 171 as the first ever long distance train departing from Krung Thep Aphiwat Central Terminal heading on the Southern Line, the next train to joyride on was Rapid 109 to get on the first ever long distance train from Krung Thep Aphiwat Central Terminal using the quadruple-track Northern Line.
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Krung Thep Aphiwat Central Terminal
Arriving from Nakhon Withi Line 2044 from Bang Bamru, the queue to board Rapid 109 at the waiting area for Platforms 1 and 2 for Northern Line and Northeastern Line long distance trains was already formed.
Plenty of SRT staff were at hand for Rapid 109.
As compared with Rapid 171, there are more queue poles forming a line direction for Rapid 109.
My ticket for Rapid 109 for my joyriding trip from Krung Thep Aphiwat Central Terminal to Ayutthaya.
Passengers were queuing up ready for departure, but manual announcements by ground staff told everyone to take a seat as the Rapid 109 train was not ready for departure.
At around departure time, there was announcement in Thai saying that the Rapid 109 was delayed for 60 minutes. However, the English announcement only said that the train was delayed, without any mention of how long the delay was. Thankfully, I was with a Thai railway fan friend who helped me with on-the-spot translations.
There were mobile charging stations around the waiting area for passengers to charge phones in the meantime.
As such, the second public train to depart from Krung Thep Aphiwat Central Terminal was now Special Express 31 Thaksinarath bound for Hat Yai Junction.
My Rapid 109 was then further delayed by 30 minutes, and the Special Express 37/45 for Hat Yai Junction/Sungai Golok/Padang Besar was delayed by 20 minutes. This made the Special Express 37/45 the third public train to depart from Krung Thep Aphiwat Central Terminal.
Another announcement was then made that the Rapid 109 was delayed again to 5pm, resulting in loud shouts of annoyance from passengers who were actually travelling for long distances. Some railway fans decided to give up waiting for the Rapid 109 at this point.
20 minutes before 5pm, the platform was still not opened yet.
Boarding was finally called at around 5.10pm for the Rapid 109.
This time, tickets were scanned at the boarding entrance area by staff with mobile devices.
Souvenirs were handed out by another staff at the escalator.
Heading up to the long distance train platform.
I was given a keychain of JNR Class C56 steam locomotive to commemorate this first northern long distance train departure from Krung Thep Aphiwat Central Terminal.
The JNR Class C56 steam locomotive resides in Thonburi Depot and is mainly used for the annual River Kwai Bridge Week Light and Sound Show.
Alsthom AHK 4227 leads the Rapid 109 from Krung Thep Aphiwat Central Terminal to Chiang Mai.
The Full Van follows behind, but no freight activity is done at Krung Thep Aphiwat Central Terminal.
The sleeper coaches are now attached at the outbound end of the Rapid 109, as compared with the Bangkok end in the Hua Lamphong era.
The departure screen at Platform 1 does not reflect the Rapid 109 at all, having supposed to depart almost 3 hours ago.
The running joke of the day of Krung Thep Aphiwat “Cental” Terminal continues at Rapid 109, as the railway fans now know that it isn’t just a one-off mistake.
There was a rush to depart the train, and staff ushered passengers quickly into any available train car, and passengers walked through the train to get to their ticketed coach.
Bogie Second Class Carriage (BSC)
I headed over to my booked 2nd Class seat coach (Bogie Second Class Carriage (BSC)).
My booked window seat 36 for this trip.
The legroom available on board the Bogie Second Class Carriage (BSC).
A tray table is provided at the seat back.
The Rapid 171 departed from Krung Thep Aphiwat Central Terminal at 5.21pm – 3 hours and 6 minutes delayed. The delays would later continue through the night affecting overnight trains to the dismay of many passengers.
Heading out of Krung Thep Aphiwat Central Terminal for the first time on a northern long distance train.
Railfanning continues despite the massive delay.
As the Northern Line operates with a quadruple track, there is no conflict between long distance trains and the SRT Thani Ratthaya Line between Krung Thep Aphiwat Central Terminal and Rangsit.
Passing by the new long distance train depot at Krung Thep Aphiwat Central Terminal.
Passing by locomotives on shunting duty outside Krung Thep Aphiwat Central Terminal.
Heading straight up to the long distance tracks on the Northern Line.
The long distance trains on the quadruple section runs at high speeds, perhaps too high for comfort in a non-air-conditioned coach as there were many sand and dust particles flying around the coach constantly, resulting in massive discomfort in the eyes of all passengers.
Passing through Chatuchak Railway Station at speed.
The conductor comes round to check for tickets.
The link track from the low level tracks from Bang Sue Junction rises up to the elevated Red Line section at Wat Samian Nari Junction.
Passing through Wat Samian Nari Railway Station.
Heading parallel with the Don Mueang Tollway.
Passing through Bang Khen Railway Station.
Passing through Thung Song Hong Railway Station.
A strange feeling to be on a very fast old train on very new tracks and stations.
Passing through Lak Si Railway Station.
Passing through Kan Kheha Railway Station.
Don Mueang Airport is in sight after Kan Kheha Railway Station.
Passing by a Red Line train bound for Krung Thep Aphiwat Central Terminal.
Heading into the mid-levels platform at Don Mueang Railway Station.
Platforms at Don Mueang Railway Station are split into 2 levels separating long distance and commuter trains. Each level has 4 platforms, 2 for each bound.
Heading in to the long distance trains platform at Don Mueang Railway Station.
Don Mueang Airport Terminal 2 is just beside the new Don Mueang Railway Station.
Don Mueang Railway Station
Making a brief stop at Don Mueang Railway Station.
The Don Mueang Airport apron can be seen from Don Mueang Railway Station.
Another train bound for Krung Thep Aphiwat arrived on the other side of the platform, which I lost track of due to the amount of delays happening that day.
Departing from Don Mueang Railway Station.
The lines for the two platforms merges back after departure.
The commuter line swings to the right of the long distance line after Don Mueang.
Passing by Don Mueang Airport Terminal 1. If you are flying international from Don Mueang Airport Terminal 1, it is quite a bit of a walk from the new Don Mueang Railway Station.
The commuter line descends down on level with the long distance line.
Curving left after Don Mueang Airport
Heading on ground level in Pathum Thani province.
This was supposed to be a noon time joyride, I wasn’t expecting a sunset.
This stretch of track has already been in use by long distance trains for a few years before this move.
Approaching Lak Hok (Rangsit University) Railway Station.
Passing by Lak Hok (Rangsit University) Railway Station.
Passing an opposing Red Line train going at speed.
Passing over Khlong Rangsit.
The commuter line heads up to the high level platforms of Rangsit.
Long distance trains use the low level platforms at Rangsit.
Approaching Rangsit Railway Station. Platforms at Rangsit Railway Station are split into 2 levels separating long distance and commuter trains. Each level has 4 platforms, 2 for each bound.
Rangsit Railway Station
My Rapid 109 arrived at Rangsit Railway Station at 5.53pm – 3 hours and 10 minutes delayed.
Due to the delay, I decided to truncate my journey to Rangsit and not proceed on to Ayutthata as earlier planned. My booked return train of Rapid 112 had already arrived at Krung Thep Aphiwat Central Terminal just as my Rapid 109 was departing anyway.
While Rangsit uses high level platforms, the fold-down platform fillers were not deployed.
Heading up the stairs to the concourse. From here, I headed back to Krung Thep Aphiwat Central Terminal by the SRT Thani Ratthaya Line, formerly known as Dark Red Line or Red Line (North).
It was certainly another memorable milestone train ride out of Krung Thep Aphiwat Central Terminal with a 3 hours and 6 minutes to the very first long distance train using the northern line out of Krung Thep Aphiwat Central Terminal. It wasn’t a great start to the operations of Krung Thep Aphiwat Central Terminal on the first day, with these major delays set to continue for the next few hours through the night. It felt as if the long distance trains didn’t like to operate from Krung Thep Aphiwat Central Terminal and want to return to Hua Lamphong instead.
The Rapid 109 also surprisingly departed from Krung Thep Aphiwat Central Terminal without fanfare and media coverage, which was strange, considering that it still was a milestone train despite being 3 hours and 6 minutes delayed. But Rapid 109 passengers were also in a rather annoyed mood with the delay, and didn’t think much about it being the first northern train out of Krung Thep Aphiwat Central Terminal.
Hopefully Krung Thep Aphiwat Central Terminal has sorted itself out. On 3 February 2023, the 16th day of operations, Krung Thep Aphiwat Central Terminal finally operated all 52 trains on time for the very first time.