Athwart the country’s crisscrossing iron distant horizons, the railway police, affectionately known as the “train marshals”, have been an unwavering presence for seven decades and a bit. These silent guardians, whose duty originated following the advent of the contemporary Thai railway system during King Chulalongkorn’s reign, have been faithfully ensuring the safety of tireless trains and their passengers. However, the dawn of Tuesday will lower the curtains on these unsung heroes following an extensive reorganization of the Royal Thai Police (RTP).
The imminent redeployment springs from the ambitious restructuring scheme envisaged under the National Police Act 2022. As per this transformative initiative, the railway police will join the ranks of their fellow colleagues positioned in different RTP departments.
Their early origins can be traced back to their role as a “rail track patrol squad”, established in response to an escalating number of onboard criminal incidents. In the year 2005, this squadron was rebaptized as the Railway Police Division (RPD). RPD’s acclaimed mission until this day has involved maintaining the security of train riders and keeping a vigilant eye over various locations adjoining the extensive track network.
Key RPD stations dotted around Thailand, including Noppawong, Makkasan, Hua Hin, Hat Yai, and Nong Khai railway locations, have been strategically positioned close to the heart of their respective train stations. In alliance with the State Railway of Thailand (SRT), RPD has played a vital role in detecting and combatting crime, extending their peacekeeping mandate to areas within and around train terminals.
However, in line with the revised National Police Act 2022, enacted on October 16th of the previous year, the dissolution of the RPD has been deemed imperative. The overarching objective remains to achieve a leaner, more efficient national police force. As elucidated by the National police chief, Pol Gen Torsak Sukvimol, this dissolution complies with the reorganization strategy dictated by the Central Investigation Bureau. Consequently, multiple officers from the RPD’s ranks will now serve under several newly instituted units.
The void left in the wake of the RPD’s dissolution, especially with regards to safety assurance at train stations, will be addressed by the local police forces onsite. Furthermore, SRT staff, whose competence has been well-established through time, will be handed over the authority for on-board passenger luggage inspections.
To commemorate this historic juncture and acknowledge the RPD’s instrumental contribution, a moving celebration was recently organized. SRT governor, Nirut Maneephan, expressing his deepest gratitude to the dedicated servicemen, underscored how these officers had continuously ensured safe train journeys for countless passengers through their years of service.