For a long time now I have been searching for the original steam trains in Thailand that ran on the Paknam Railway. A couple of days ago someone said I should visit the headquarters of the State Railway of Thailand (SRT) as they believed that the Paknam train was preserved there. So, I drove up to Hua Lamphong Station today to check it out. The train was indeed a Krauss locomotive from Germany like the Paknam trains and it also had the distinctive chimney. However, this one was used on the Maeklong Railway like the one I found at the Ekkamai Science Museum recently. This one is locomotive No. 5427 (a 2-4-0T train) and dated 1906. The running number was originally MRC 1 but was later changed to MRC 7. According to an information plate, it had a maximum speed of 40 km/h. The four trains I am looking for have a manufacture number of 2696-7 (1892 A.D.), 3336 (1896 A.D.) and 5987 (1908 A.D.). The first two are 0-4-0Ts and the second two 2-4-0Ts like this one. It was so close but I am afraid my quest will have to continue. I now have a tip that one of these trains is now in Northern Thailand about a 6 hour drive from Paknam. Looks like I have a road trip ahead of me.
My second reason for going to Hua Lamphong Station today was to book my tickets for a ride on a steam train later this month. The SRT organize three of these trips every year from Bangkok to Ayutthaya. These always happen on 26th March (anniversary of the founding of SRT), 23rd October (anniversary of the birth of King Rama V) and 5th December (birthday of King Rama IX). Steam Train 901 leaves Bangkok at 8 a.m. and arrives just over two hours later in Ayutthaya. You can then join a coach tour of Ayutthaya or do your own thing. Steam Train 902 then returns at 5.25 p.m. arriving in Bangkok at 7.20 p.m. There is a charge of 120 baht for the return trip and 180 baht for the coach tour. If you are interested in going then you will have to be quick as the tickets are running out fast. You can buy them at the advanced booking office at Hua Lamphong. We will be in carriage 6 so come and say hello if you join this trip. I will share some photos of the trip as soon as we get back.