Make sense of Bangkok’s massive new rail hub with this handy guide

Photo: Thai Government Public Relations Dept.
Photo: Thai Government Public Relations Dept.

While many Bangkok residents never stray far from their tight orbits around Sathorn, Thonglor, or Lat Phrao, millions of travelers will eventually make their way through the capital’s monumental new rail hub to reach all parts of the kingdom and, one day, beyond.

Those trying their luck now with Bangkok’s massive new public transit cathedral known as the Krung Thep Aphiwat Central Terminal, aka Bang Sue Grand Station, would be wise to download a helpful guide to their cleverphones for use in navigating its confusing immensity. 

The author of the guide is none other than Twitter-whisperer and digital doyen Richard Barrow. The latest addition to the Barrow Expanded Universe is a 30-page PDF breaking down the what, where, and how of the station’s quarter-million square meters.

Barrow, who says he’s “always been a rail fan,” told Coconuts today that the project brought together two of his great passions.

“I am basically mixing my love of railways with my interest in tourism,” Barrow said via message. “My aim is to promote Rail Tourism.”

The guide includes essential information such as how to reach the station located in the northern district of Chatuchak – beware confusion over the changed name, Barrow warns – by taxi, bus, or metro commuter rail.

It includes a map to navigate its capacious layout and find things like toilets, charging stations, food, and even showers. 

Most helpful is information about ticketing, where to wait for which trains, and current timetables. These include all long-haul routes operated by the state railway, and Barrow has added footnotes detailing what to expect from each train.

After six years and an estimated THB34 billion (US$1 billion), does Barrow think the station also known as KTW is boon or boondoggle?

He created the guide after a number of first-hand visits to the station which detailed its “teething problems.” But those have already improved, and he is optimistic about its future as a key part of civilian transit infrastructure.

“I think Krung Thep Aphiwat will be excellent in time. Basically, they have future-proofed it,” Barrow said. “If you come back in ten years it will be the hub of transportation for the region with highspeed trains going from the 3rd floor to Laos.”

He said the future would also connect the Airport Rail Link and trains headed to Phnom Penh.

“It looks big and empty now, but later it will really be bustling,” he added. “The surrounding area will also be developed so it will be like another mini city.”

The guide also includes timetables for those 62 trains still departing from the Bangkok Railway Station, including all of the Eastern Line’s routes. 

Barrow said that the tourism authority has offered to lend support, and state railway reps invited him to meet Wednesday to discuss a possible English guide collab.

Is he infuriated that Hua Lamphong is called Bangkok Railway Station despite being a terminal, while KTW is called a terminal despite being a hub for routes in all directions? 

No, Richard Barrow doesn’t get infuriated. He gets facts. 

According to him, KTW actually fits the definition of a terminal – for now.

“But in the future the Airport Rail Link will come here from Phaya Thai in the south and then leave from the northern end for Don Mueang,” he said. “Also the Red Line extension will in five years or so leave from the southern end and go to Hua Lamphong where there will be a new elevated station. The next extension after that will cross the river. Then it should be called a Central station as it will be the hub of many lines.”

Thanks for settling that, Richard. Find the guide at

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