Track bombing fails to deter Malaysian tourist train

Track bombing fails to deter Malaysian tourist train

Service still scheduled for weekend, but passengers will take buses between Hat Yai and Padang Besar

Equipment used to repair the damaged section of track on the Hat Yai-Padang Besar line in Songkhla is left on the tracks after two bombs went off in the same area. (Photo: Assawin Pakkawan)
Equipment used to repair the damaged section of track on the Hat Yai-Padang Besar line in Songkhla is left on the tracks after two bombs went off in the same area. (Photo: Assawin Pakkawan)

SONGKHLA: A Malaysian train service to promote tourism in Hat Yai will operate as planned this weekend but with some adjustments, after two bombings on the Thai track compelled workers to delay repairs over safety fears.

Hat Yai station master Narongrit Karikan said on Thursday that the tour that will bring 400 Malaysian travellers and train personnel to Hat Yai has slightly changed its itinerary.

The Malaysian train cannot travel beyond the Thai border as the tracks on the Hat Yai-Padang Besar line require major repairs following the blasts.

Instead, passengers on the MySawasdee special train, which leaves Kuala Lumpur on Friday, will alight at Padang Besar and then travel by bus to Hat Yai. They will take buses from Hat Yai to Padang Besar to catch the train on their return leg on Monday, said Mr Narongrit.

The special train made its debut in September and its next scheduled trips are on Dec 24 and 31.

“Train journey status for the next date will be informed from time to time,” the Malaysian train operator KTM said in a message pinned on its Facebook page.

The track between Hat Yai and Padang Besar was rocked by two bombs in four days. The first explosion in Sadao district went off on Saturday, causing a freight train to derail. The second bombing in the same area occurred on Tuesday, this time killing three railway workers and injuring four others.

The State Railway of Thailand (SRT) has cancelled all trains in the sector, including a special express train from Bangkok to Padang Besar. Passengers on the train have to journey by bus from Hat Yai to the border with Malaysia. A local train running between the two destinations is cancelled.

Col Pichit Chotikaew, the deputy chief of the Internal Security Operations Command in Songkhla, said on Thursday that train workers plan to enter the site to repair the damaged track and salvage the freight cars on Sunday after security personnel and bomb disposal experts clear the area.

The locations where the track was bombed are being guarded by soldiers around the clock and they will stay with workers until the line is fully repaired, he added.


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