Special Express 45 International Express Train from Bangkok Krung Thep Aphiwat Central Terminal to Padang Besar (Malaysia)
Special Express 45 International Express is a daily train from Bangkok Krung Thep Aphiwat Central Terminal to Padang Besar (Malaysia) since 19 January 2023. All long distance trains have moved to Krung Thep Aphiwat Central Terminal since 19 January 2023, 1.10pm. With this move, the classic train journey from Bangkok to Singapore is now shorter – not because of increases in speed or technology, but the physical railway line has been shortened.
The first shortening of the Bangkok to Singapore train journey was on 1 July 2011 with the closure of the KTM Singapore Sector, shifting the railway terminus in Singapore from Tanjong Pagar Railway Station to Woodlands Train Checkpoint (Woodlands CIQ). This second shortening was on 19 January 2023 with the shift of Thai long distance trains from Bangkok Hua Lamphong Railway Station to Krung Thep Aphiwat Central Terminal.
Krung Thep Aphiwat Central Terminal
Krung Thep Aphiwat Central Terminal is the current long distance railway hub of Thailand and central passenger terminal in Bangkok. This is where the new Bangkok to Singapore train journey starts.
Heading in to Krung Thep Aphiwat Central Terminal.
The Krung Thep Aphiwat Central Terminal complex is huge, so there’s quite a lot of walking to do end to end. Thankfully, the air-conditioning works well to save me from the Bangkok heat.
Unfortunately with modernisation, local conveniences have been reduced to vending machines.
Even the ever-popular 7-Eleven here has been reduced to 2 vending machines.
Krung Thep Aphiwat Central Terminal Food Court (Gate 4)
For food, there is a small food court near Gate 4 at the corner of the station building.
Snacks and drinks are also available from side kiosks.
There is also a halal outlet, but it was closed during my visit.
The bakery is useful to purchase breakfast for the next day on board the train, since catering has not returned to most long distance trains yet, aside from day DRC services and flagship trains operated by CRRC coaches.
For lunch, I ordered a Khao Kha Moo or Braised Pork Leg on Rice.
My quick lunch of Khao Kha Moo and Fanta Strawberry. This costs 60 Baht and 15 Baht respectively.
After lunch, I headed over to the waiting area for a shower before my train ride, just to check the new facility out.
Click here for more information on the Krung Thep Aphiwat Central Terminal Shower Room.
Following which, I headed to the boarding area early to see if there are any new improvements to the mess which happened on the first day of operations.
New makeshift screens have been placed at the waiting areas to provide train information.
Train information by line are put up on separate screens so passengers know which train will depart from where. These information seems to be fixed as the full day’s schedule is displayed, even for trains that have already departed.
There are also kiosks in the waiting area for light refreshments.
A queue for the Special Express 37 and 45 formed about 30 minutes to departure even without any announcements made.
I suppose the new screen above the boarding area helped.
Finally, train information is displayed above the boarding area with new information screens, a much better improvement from the pure Thai announcements on the first day of operations.
Queue lines are also placed in front of the boarding area to help in crowd management.
5 minutes to boarding time, the screen changed to “Boarding Soon”.
Boarding commenced 20 minutes before departure time, with SRT ground staff scanning ticket QR codes at the boarding point.
Heading up the escalator to the platform.
Special Express 45 International Express
The Special Express 45 International Express was already at the platform and the rake has been shunted with coaches already near the up escalator – a far better improvement from the first-ever Rapid 171 where passengers walked together along with the shunting train, not knowing where it was going to stop.
CRRC Qishuyan CDA5B1 locomotive QSY 5214 heads my Special Express 45 International Express from Bangkok Krung Thep Aphiwat Central Terminal.
My Special Express 45 International Express Car 2 was just in front of me.
A metal platform bridges the big platform gap between the train and platform.
The destination sign of the Special Express 45 International Express has been fixed from Cental to Central, but there’s now a space between Pa and Dang. Time for another reprint again.
Air-Conditioned Second Class Day & Night Coach (ANS)
The interior of the Daewoo Air-Conditioned Second Class Day & Night Coach (ANS) 40 seats.
My seat and berth at number 18.
I usually travel on seat/berth 18 as far as possible on board the Daewoo ANS as I have direct access to a power socket.
The the day configuration, the lower and upper berths share a facing bay of seats.
Toilets are at the Bangkok-end of the coach.
A sink area is provided for light washing up.
A squat toilet is available.
The squat toilet comes with a shower head as well, which is useful if you don’t mind a free cold shower while in second class. Bring your own towel and toiletries.
There is also a regular sitting toilet available.
My ticket for the Special Express 45 International Express from Bangkok Krung Thep Aphiwat Central Terminal to Padang Besar Railway Station in Malaysia.
My Special Express 45 International Express departed from Bangkok Krung Thep Aphiwat Central Terminal sharp on time at 3.35pm.
Passing by the signal box of Bang Sue Junction.
Splitting off from the main quadruple-track section towards Rangsit.
Passing over the ground level line to the north from Bang Sue Junction.
Heading under the Prachim Ratthaya Expressway.
Heading on the Southern Line elevated viaducts.
Passing through Bang Son Railway Station.
Passing under the MRT Purple Line tracks.
Crossing over the Chao Phraya River on the new Red Line viaducts between the Rama VI Bridge and the Rama VII Bridge.
Bang Bamru Railway Station
Making a brief stop at Bang Bamru Railway Station.
My ticket was checked at Bang Bamru Railway Station.
Making a brief stop at Taling Chan Junction Railway Station though this seems to be a signalling stop and not a scheduled stop.
Heading on the non-electrified double track.
Sala Ya Railway Station
Making a brief stop at Sala Ya Railway Station.
Train hawkers board the Special Express 45 International Express at Sala Ya Railway Station. Thankfully they were still around and I won’t go hungry since I didn’t prepare any food for this train ride.
As a token meal to kick-start my at-seat buffet this afternoon to evening, I bought a Basil Chicken Rice with Omelette (Krapow Gai Khai Jiao). This costs 40 Baht.
Nakhon Pathom Railway Station
Making a brief stop at Nakhon Pathom Railway Station.
The high platforms at Nakhon Pathom Railway Station are coming up, built for future-proofing with the Red Line.
After Nakhon Pathom Railway Station, the car attendant comes round to take orders for dinner from him which will be served at Phetchaburi Railway Station at about 6.45pm. A pack of rice costs 60 Baht from him.
Passing through Nong Pladuk Junction Railway Station, the historical southern starting point of the Death Railway.
The new Nong Pladuk Junction Railway Station is taking shape as well.
The branch lines to Suphan Buri and Nam Tok splits off here.
The branch line to Suphan Buri turns away from the main line first. Only 1 pair of passenger trains daily serve Suphan Buri.
The branch line to Kanchanaburi and Nam Tok runs parallel to the main line for a while before splitting off at Ban Pong town.
Arriving at Ban Pong.
Ban Pong Railway Station
Making a brief stop at Ban Pong Railway Station. This was where the POWs from Changi Prison in Singapore were dropped off to start and complete the construction of the Death Railway.
The new Ban Pong Railway Station is taking shape as well.
The sun starts to go down after 5pm.
Crossing over the Mae Klong River on Chulalongkorn Bridge in Ratchaburi.
Passing through Chulalongkorn Bridge Railway Halt on the southern end of Chulalongkorn Bridge.
Passing by a former Hokutosei DD51 locomotive now operating as contractor locomotives working on the double track project.
Ratchaburi Railway Station
Making a brief stop at Ratchaburi Railway Station.
There was quite a crowd at the door with boarding passengers, on-board passengers wanting to buy the ever-popular Ratchaburi Kuey Teow, and of course the platform vendors themselves. Luckily, I managed to buy 2 boxes just before the doors closed.
The new Ratchaburi Railway Station and high platforms are taking shape.
The sun starts to set after Ratchaburi Railway Station.
Phetchaburi Railway Station
Making a brief stop at Phetchaburi Railway Station.
Meals ordered from the attendant are delivered here, cooked from Phetchaburi.
Following dinner, the attendant came round to convert the seats to berths.
Bedding is stored in the upper berth which is now folded down.
The attendant effortlessly lays the sheets in a matter of seconds.
The made upper and lower berths completed in a flash.
Sheets for the mattress and pillow are made by the attendant, and a blanket is provided in a sealed plastic bag.
The seat backs on the lower berth can be raised to form a shelf for storage. Underneath the seat back is a basket for storage, a reading light, and an emergency call button.
Hua Hin Railway Station
Making a brief stop at Hua Hin Railway Station.
Almost everyone on board went to sleep after Hua Hin Railway Station. And so did I.
I had quite a good night’s sleep of about 8 hours on the comfortable lower berth of the Daewoo ANS. The wide mattress 2 seats abreast probably helped with the comfort.
Phatthalung Railway Station
Making a brief stop at Phatthalung Railway Station.
With everyone woken up, the attendant comes round to clear the bedding and to convert the berths back into seats.
The attendant packs used sheets into bundles for laundry later on.