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Monday, June 17, 2024

SRT Royal Blossom Trains to Offer Affordable Day Trips by Mid-2024

The State Railway of Thailand (SRT) has successfully completed testing on the first batch of five SRT Royal Blossom train cars, according to the Daily News Transport Innovation team. The SRT is now training personnel, including maintenance staff and onboard service workers, particularly those responsible for food and beverage services. The training, which includes learning to operate coffee and beverage machines, is expected to be completed by the end of May 2024.

The SRT plans to launch the Royal Blossom train service by mid-2024. The Passenger Service Division is currently finalizing marketing strategies and setting a specific launch date. The train cars are ready for service, pending the assignment of seat numbers to ensure they match the ticketing layout. This process will be finalized shortly.

     

The SRT Royal Blossom train consists of multiple cars:

  1. Group Car: One car with four private group cabins.
  2. Passenger Cars: Three cars with communal seating.
  3. Leisure Car: One car providing dining services, with a total capacity of approximately 168 seats.

The seating arrangements vary, with some seats facing windows for scenic views and others arranged for face-to-face interaction.

The Royal Blossom train, originally the “Hamanasu” train from JR Hokkaido, Japan, was received in late 2016. The fleet includes ten cars: five OHA type with 48 and 72 seats and five SUHAFU type with 64 seats.

Former SRT Governor Nirut Maneephan previously announced that the first five cars would operate on popular short routes as a pilot, offering day trips to destinations like Chachoengsao, Kanchanaburi, Hua Hin in Prachuap Khiri Khan, and Pa Sak Jolasid Dam in Lopburi. The fare structure is designed to be affordable, varying by distance, and the trains will be accessible to the general public, similar to the KIHA 183 trains, rather than exclusively for charter.

The SRT is also modifying and refurbishing the remaining five “Hamanasu” cars. This project involves seven key areas:

  1. Structural modifications
  2. Interior and exterior painting
  3. Interior design and installation of amenities
  4. Electrical and lighting systems
  5. Upgrading the bathroom facilities
  6. Engineering enhancements
  7. Air conditioning system improvements

The goal is to develop these cars into tourist trains, mirroring the Royal Blossom service, to attract both local and international tourists. The remaining five cars are expected to be completed by the end of 2024 and operational by 2025.

The transformation of these Japanese trains into tourist trains will significantly boost domestic tourism, generating revenue for the SRT and offering unique travel experiences. This initiative is expected to enhance Thailand’s tourism image and distribute economic benefits to local communities.

Officials who attended the testing and training sessions included senior SRT executives and representatives from related sectors. The detailed design and color scheme of the last five cars remain under discussion and will be disclosed later.

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