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Trains empty as travellers cancel bookings

Officials near the Sila At train station in Uttaradit inspect the rail line yesterday, following news that the State Railway of Thailand will close the northern line for maintenance until the end of October.

Officials near the Sila At train station in Uttaradit inspect the rail line yesterday, following news that the State Railway of Thailand will close the northern line for maintenance until the end of October.

Many train passengers cancelled their reservations yesterday as the State Railway of Thailand started the suspension of all North-bound trains until October 31 beyond Sila At train junction in Uttaradit to make way for repairs.

The SRT is organising vans to transport travellers if their destination is beyond Sila At, SRT governor Prapat Chongsanguan said.

Meanwhile, a South-bound train derailed yesterday at Bangkok's Hua Lamphong station. No casualties were reported.

In recent months, there have been as many as 10 derailments involving North-bound trains, plus a few other mishaps, including last week's accident at a Bangkok terminal and yesterday's derailment at Hua Lamphong.

Prapat said the suspension of North-bound trains should be lifted by the end of October, once the tunnels in Uttaradit, Phrae, Lampang and Lamphun as well as railway tracks at curves where derailments have taken place are repaired.

Meanwhile, up to 5,100 train tickets worth about Bt4.3 million were returned yesterday, senior SRT official Jarasphan Watcharothai said.

Prapat said that yesterday there were only five passengers travelling to Chiang Mai, while nobody had bought a ticket to the northern city for today.

Usually some 15,000 passengers travel to Chiang Mai in seven train services, Jarasphan said, adding that at least a third of this number would be lost following the suspension.

Two express train services from Bangkok to Chiang Mai had been cancelled earlier, while another three trains will be terminating in Uttaradit to make way for repairs.

The SRT said only three services were now operating on the northern line, and two express train services have been temporarily cancelled. Train travellers are being bussed in both directions between Chiang Mai and Sila At.

The SRT has set up the 1690 hotline for passengers to find out more.




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