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Steam Into History: Thailand’s Scenic Railway Journeys Celebrate Tradition and Rail Heritage

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Imagine stepping back in time, where the echoes of the past meet the anticipation of the future; a journey steeped in history, powered by the chug and whistle of steam locomotives. This isn’t just any train ride; it’s a voyage into the heart of Thailand’s rich heritage, a tradition initiated by King Rama V to commemorate the opening of the first public railway connecting Bangkok, the pulsating current capital, with Ayutthaya, the majestic old capital, on a day that remains etched in time: March 26, 1896. This day is proudly celebrated as SRT Foundation Day, marking an era of connectivity and progress.

The stars of this historic journey are none other than two Pacific-class steam locomotives, numbered 824 and 850, marvels of post-World War II engineering built by Japan’s Nippon Sharyo in the years 1949 and 1950, respectively. These venerable iron horses, usually resting in the Thonburi Locomotive Depot (also known as Bangkok Noi Train Station), occasionally grace the tracks to remind us of a bygone era of steam and steel.

Our story unfolds at Hua Lamphong station, where, at the precise time of 8.10 am, these legendary trains come alive, ready to whisk passengers away on a journey to Ayutthaya, arriving at the historical city at 10.20 am. Adventurers on this expedition are given a generous six hours to explore the ancient capital, immerse themselves in its timeless beauty, and perhaps, if they listen closely, hear the whispers of history in the wind before returning to the modern world, boarding the train at 4.40 pm to arrive back in Bangkok at 6.50 pm.

The journey is not just a straight dash to the past; it offers stops at Samsen, Bang Sue, Don Mueang, and Rangsit stations, allowing passengers additional flexibility to join this historical odyssey from different points along the route. This thoughtful inclusion ensures that the allure of this magical trip can be experienced by as many people as possible, each embarking on their own unique voyage through time.

For those who might have missed this extraordinary opportunity, fret not, for the State Railway of Thailand (SRT) has graciously scheduled steam train trips on five other momentous occasions throughout the year, each celebrating significant dates and honoring Thai royalty in a uniquely enchanting manner. These include journeys for HM Queen Suthida’s birthday on June 3, HM King Rama X’s birthday on July 28, HM Queen Sirikit’s birthday (also lovingly commemorated as Mother’s Day in Thailand) on August 12, King Chulalongkorn Memorial Day on October 23, and King Rama IX’s birthday, doubling as Father’s Day, on December 5.

To be part of these historically rich and soul-stirring expeditions, eager travelers can secure their passage through time by reserving tickets at SRT stations nationwide or via the digital gateway to adventure, the D-Ticket mobile application and website at So, whether you’re a history buff, a railway enthusiast, or simply in search of an unforgettable journey, these steam train trips promise a mesmerizing blend of nostalgia, beauty, and celebration, all aboard the timeless tracks of Thailand’s railway heritage.


  1. RailFan93 March 26, 2024

    Preserving trains from the post-WWII era and using them for these journeys is an incredible homage to history. It’s not just about nostalgia, it’s about understanding the industrial advances and their impact on society.

    • EcoWarrior March 26, 2024

      I appreciate the sentiment, but let’s not forget the environmental impact of steam trains. Yes, they’re historic, but are they really the best way to celebrate in this day and age?

      • RailFan93 March 26, 2024

        While I understand the concerns, these journeys are occasional. The impact is minimal compared to the daily pollution from cars and factories. Besides, preserving history is also important.

      • GreenTechie March 26, 2024

        There’s a point to be made about using modern, eco-friendly technologies to replicate the experience, maybe through VR or immersive experiences, without actual steam engines.

  2. HistoryBuff77 March 26, 2024

    The connection between Bangkok and Ayutthaya through these steam trains is a beautiful bridge between the past and present. It’s fascinating how Thailand preserves its history and culture through such events.

    • Modernist March 26, 2024

      Isn’t it time we move on from glorifying the past? There’s a fine line between preservation and living in the past. Thailand should focus more on its future, especially in technology and innovation, rather than steam trains.

      • HistoryBuff77 March 26, 2024

        Preservation doesn’t mean ignoring progress. You can embrace the future while still honoring your past. It’s about balance, not choosing one over the other.

  3. JaneSmith March 26, 2024

    This seems like a tourist trap. Are there actually any locals who take these trips, or is it just a way to make money off people’s fascination with ‘exotic’ cultures?

    • ThaiLocal March 26, 2024

      Actually, many locals, including myself, cherish these rides. It’s about reconnecting with our heritage and sharing it with others. It’s not about making money; it’s about pride in our history.

    • TravelerJoe March 26, 2024

      Having been on one of these trips, I can say they’re authentic and a great way to learn about Thai history. It didn’t feel like a trap but a genuine experience.

  4. TechGuru March 26, 2024

    Why are we romanticizing outdated technologies? It’s the 21st century; shouldn’t we focus on the future of transport like hyperloops or electric vehicles instead of steam trains?

    • OldSoul March 26, 2024

      Because history matters. It teaches us where we came from and shapes where we’re going. Steam trains are a link to our past, and there’s value in remembering and experiencing that.

  5. TravelBug March 26, 2024

    I’ve always wanted to experience a steam train journey! It’s like stepping into a time machine. Can’t wait to book my trip.

  6. CulturalCritic March 26, 2024

    Celebrating royal birthdays with steam train trips? Seems a bit archaic and too focused on the monarchy. Why not celebrate other aspects of Thai culture and history instead?

    • Patriot March 26, 2024

      The monarchy is a critical part of Thai identity and history. These celebrations are a tribute to that significance. It’s about respecting traditions that have shaped the nation.

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