Tailing Chan Station, and the BTS

Tailing Chan Station, and the BTS

Tailing Chan is where the Thonburi branch merges, is a new BTS hub, and a sight of a nasty train crash!

It is here that there is a little fork in the road. One track to Thonburi Station – or Bangkok Noi – and the other loops around Bangkok and down to Hua Lumphong Station from the North.

At dawn on 21 August 1979, a train very similar to yours approached this rail junction. A freight train was coming from the North from Bang Sue Junction and either did not receive or did not notice the red light. The junction manager said he saw the driver of the freight train ‘frantically waving from the engine’s window’. It was too late. The freight train collided into the rear end of the passenger train in the middle of the intersection. Both trains derailed. There were 51 deaths and 138 injured. Many of the passengers were students heading to school from Thonburi Station. The accident was one of the most horrific rail disasters in Thailand, and was the second major incident in Thailand that year after a fuel-laden tanker train also ran into a passenger train, sparking an inferno in an adjacent market… So uh, yeah. Have a nice trip!

You should be able to see the very latest extensions to Bangkok’s elevated train system. From the mid-80s, the numbers of cars in Bangkok was rising by around one-third every year, leaving the city with a catatonically slow average traffic speed of 10km per hour by the beginning of the 90s. So an ambitious plan was developed in 1991 to build up! … The plan was then axed when the 1997 Asian Financial Crisis sapped the Thai economy funds and too little progress was being made. But the experiment with the megolithic use of concrete seemed to be a hit, and was a central theme of the next plan and its modern iterations. This is no doubt to the delight of Thailand’s cement and construction companies, as well as landholders near the BTS lines who invariably see leaps in prices as the Thai middle class lap up adjacent condominiums … The BTS has certainly changed the character of Bangkok – sometimes negatively… but each new line can move 25,000 people per hour in each direction, and this has probably saved Bangkok (from itself).

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