Transport minister U-turns on Hua Lamphong station

Transport minister U-turns on Hua Lamphong station

A girl poses for photos in Hua Lamphong station on Nov 25, 2021. (Photo: Wichan Charoenkiatpakul)
A girl poses for photos in Hua Lamphong station on Nov 25, 2021. (Photo: Wichan Charoenkiatpakul)

Hua Lamphong was granted a reprieve when Transport Minister Saksayam Chidchob decided to temporarily scrap a plan to shut Bangkok's iconic railway station.

The minister ordered the State Railway of Thailand (SRT) to continue service at Hua Lamphong for at least another month, according to a statement from the Office of Transport and Traffic Policy and Planning issued on Monday.

Mr Saksayam held a meeting to discuss the Red Line, Bang Sue Grand Station and Hua Lamphong station and then issued a two-page press release -- with the highlight in the last paragraph.

The minister ordered the SRT "to continue the operations of all trains to and from Bangkok Station (Hua Lamphong)... and inform the public and passengers about the decision," the press release said.

Mr Saksayam said a transport infrastructure impact study -- including Hua Lamphong -- would be conducted and the findings released in 30 days.

The railway agency planned to close Hua Lamphong on Dec 23 and divert all trains to Bang Sue, the planned railway hub for all trains, including future high-speed trains.

The loss-ridden SRT wanted to develop Hua Lamphong, one of the most beautiful stations in the country, into a commercial area that it hoped could lift the agency out of the red.

The plan ran into public opposition from commuters who rely on cheap trains from suburban areas to work and study in Bangkok every day, as well as railway enthusiasts who vow to prevent the station from falling into the hands of big business.

People have been flocking to Hua Lamphong in order to take photos before the landmark station's scheduled closure on Dec 23.

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