Seventeen second-hand passenger train carriages donated by Japan have arrived in Thailand, the State Railway of Thailand (SRT) announced on Monday.
The Kiha 183 carriages, which were previously in service on Japan Railways' Hokkaido Line, arrived at Laem Chabang port in Chon Buri on Monday.
Deputy governor of SRT Siripong Prutipan said the carriages are in working order and will be moved to Makkasan maintenance yard for a thorough inspection.
SRT will spend about four months converting the carriages so they fit Thailand's one-metre gauge tracks. After that, the carriages' engine and transmission will be overhauled, before their interiors are refurbished.
The process will take at least two years, he said, adding the carriages can be used for at least another 50 years.
While SRT organises a bid to seek a contractor to refurbish the carriages' interior, they will be temporarily deployed on several routes, including Udon Thani to Vientiane via Nong Khai, Nakhon Ratchasima to Khon Khaen, and Bangkok to Suan Son Pradipat via Hua Hin. They will also be used for one-day trips to Bangkok's neighbouring provinces, he said.
The carriages will test the capacity of the dual-track upgrades on the Nakhon Ratchasima to Khon Kaen route, which had just been recently completed, according to the SRT.
The carriages were the second batch donated by JR Hokkaido. The first lot of 10 carriages, first used on the Hamanasu line in Japan, are now currently being refurbished.
The 10 carriages have been earmarked for use on routes between Lampang and Chiang Mai as well as between Bangkok and the Sai Yok Noi waterfalls in Kanchanaburi. Interior upgrades on these carriages will also take about two years, SRT said.