THIRD TRAIN DERAILS IN THAILAND JUST WEEKS APART – In the space of just six weeks Thailand has experience not one, not two but now three train derailments on what some are calling the worst railway system in the world.
Just a few weeks ago a train derailed heading towards Bangkok injuring over 60 people, 50 of whom were reported as being foreign tourists.
A senior official for the State Railway of Thailand, Somchai Kongchuensin, reported to the press that some 80 passengers were onboard the train at the time. It has not been reported if there were any injuries or fatalities in this latest derailment.
According to official sources the incident occurred at just after 6.30am in Lampang’s Hang Chat district with more than 50 officials and engineers rushing to the scene.
The old diesel locomotive was eventually put back on the track after a delay of 3 hours and then allowed to resume operations.
Somchai Kongchuensin has promised a full investigation will be carried out to determine the exact cause of the accident.
Thailand’s railway system safety record is appalling and with an aging fleet of locomotives and tracks that are in a deplorable state of disrepair it is incredulous as to why anyone would use such a mode of transport.
Foreign tourists often find the Thai Rail Network a bit of a quirk; almost like riding on a museum piece but with so many accidents in such a short space of time the question has to be asked ‘Does the Thai Government care about safety at all.’
The very fact that the train was simply hoisted on, plopped back on the track and allowed on its way beggars belief; any sensible official would have closed off that section of track and prevented the locomotive from moving until a full investigation was completed.
There has been much talk over the last couple of years regarding the prospect of a Chinese consortium constructing a ‘high-speed’ rail network in Thailand. Considering Thailand’s record for appalling safety on public transport such a project should never be allowed to be run by any Thai Government department.
With corruption gripping the country it is widely known that Government officials take anything up to 60% in graft payments of any Government contract. This realization highlights the problems with Thailand’s main airport, Suvarnabhumi, where its runways have had numerous constant repairs due to sub-standard construction; which is directly blamed on corruption.