Thailand upgrades rolling stock with Chinese-made ‘Ultraman’ locomotives

Photo: State Railway of Thailand / Facebook
Photo: State Railway of Thailand / Facebook

The State Railway has begun shaking out new diesel-electric locomotives to replace its decrepit fleet. 

A test run was conducted yesterday for the trains, named after Japanese superhero Ultraman for their color scheme, between Bangkok’s Bang Sue station and Chachoengsao. A second test will commence next month from Choburi’s Sri Racha junction to Bangkok’s Lat Krabang district.

“The State Railway of Thailand is confident that this new diesel-electric locomotive help increase the efficiency of service to the people,” SRT spokesperson Ekkarat Sri-Arayanphong said.

Made by CRRC Qishuyan of China, 20 of the locomotives arrived this week, with 30 more due by early next year in a deal reportedly worth THB6.2 billion (US$181 million).

The debt-saddled state enterprise operates very few freight operations, something it hopes to increase in the coming years. 

The majority of its locomotives were built in the ‘80s and ‘90s and were only capable of roughly 2,500 horsepower. The new locomotives have 3,263 horsepower and can tow 550 tonnes at up to 120kph. That speed drops to 70kph for fully loaded cargo trains.

They will be used to replace aging stock for both freight and passenger uses for long-distance routes, including links between the capital and Chiang Mai, Nong Khai, and the Deep South.

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