Last weekend I was in Bangkok doing some research for one of our websites. I had parked my car at Wat Suwannaram alongside Bangkok Noi Canal, and had decided to explore as much as I could go along the canal. I had been up and down there a few times in a long-tailed boat, but this time I wanted to see how much I could explore on foot. I also wanted to see if I could find anything of interest that wasn’t in the guidebooks. I will come back to talk about this walk a bit later. But first I wanted to share with you a small discovery that is not really that unknown. It is just a little out of the way. While walking along the canal I came across the Thonburi Locomotive House. This is tucked behind the Thonburi Train Station near the banks of the Chao Phraya River. If you are a steam enthusiast then you will love this place. In the sheds were five steam trains that looked in good working order. I wandered around taking some pictures. No-one seemed to mind.
The following information is based on noticeboards seen at the location.
The State Railway of Thailand ordered 46 steam locomotives, Numbers 701-746 from Hitachi, Japan. Today there are only two of these steam locomotives left in operation. These are used at the annual light and sound presentation during the River Kwai Bridge week in Kanchanaburi. According to the plate on the engine of No. 713, the steam locomotive was in service between 1935 and 1982. The maximum speed was 65 km/ph.
The State Railway of Thailand ordered 30 steam locomotives, Numbers 821-850, from Japan. Only two of these steam locomotives are in operation. Originally these engines ran on coal but they were modified to run on crude oil. They were in service from 1949 to 1951. According to 2Bangkok.com, No. 850, pictured above, was featured in the Jackie Chan version of the movie “Around the World in 80 Days”.
The State Railway of Thailand ordered 70 steam locomotives, Numbers 901-970, from Japan. Only one is left in working operation, No. 953. The loco pictured above, No. 950, is looking a bit neglected these days as for some reason it has been banished from the locomotive sheds. These engines were originally built to run on coal but were modified to run on crude oil. They were in operation between 1949 and 1951.
If you are in Bangkok and have a bit of time on your hands, then I would suggest that you put away the guidebook and go off and do a bit of exploring by yourself. You might be pleasantly surprised what you find.
You can find this location marked on the map at ThailandPhotoMap.com.