THE EASTERN RAILWAY LINE

by Richard Barrow

Starting in Bangkok, the Eastern Line route passes through seven provinces. These are Chachoengsao, Nakhon Nayok, Saraburi, Prachinburi, Sa Kaeo, Chonburi and Rayong. However, it only runs through or near four provincial cities. These are Chachoengsao, Chonburi, Prachinburi and Sa Kaeo. There’s also one railway station on the southern tip of Nakhon Nayok Province. The stations in Saraburi Province and Rayong Province are only for freight trains.

HISTORY: The Eastern Line was inaugurated on 24th January 1907. King Rama V rode the first train to Chachoengsao where he stayed for a few nights between 24-29 January 1907. Then, on 1st January 1924, the line was extended to Kabin Buri. Two years later, on 8th November 1926, the line was extended to Aranyaprathet, close to the Thai-Cambodian border. On 1st July 2019, a new border station was opened at Ban Klong Luk, 5.7km further from Arayaprathet Station. As it is in a gated compound and has its own Immigration office, as yet unused, there seems to be an intention for the train to continue into Cambodia at a future date.

ROUTES LENGTH STATIONS
Bangkok-Chachoengsao-Prachinburi-Kabin Buri-Sa Kaeo-Aranyaprathet-Ban Klong Luk 259 km 48
Chachoengsao-Chonburi-Pattaya-Ban Phlu Ta Luang 184 km 15

BRANCH LINES: At Chachoengsao Junction, there is a branch line to Ban Plu Ta Luang to the south of Pattaya in Sattahip district of Chonburi Province. There is also a branch line on the main Eastern Line at Khlong Sip Kao Junction that connects to the Northeastern Line. However, this is only for cargo trains. Other branch lines for freight trains are at Si Racha Junction for Laem Chabang Deep Sea Port in Chonburi Province and at Khao Chi Chan Junction for Map Taphut Port in Rayong Province.

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TIMETABLE FOR BANGKOK – BAN KLONG LUK

TRAIN NO. ROUTE DEPARTURE ARRIVE
275 Bangkok – Ban Klong Luk 5:55 a.m. 11:17 a.m.
279 Bangkok – Ban Klong Luk 1:05 p.m. 5:27 p.m.
280 Ban Klong Luk – Bangkok 6:58 a.m. 12:05 p.m.
276 Ban Klong Luk – Bangkok 1:53 p.m. 7:40 p.m.

There are two 3rd Class trains a day going between Bangkok and Ban Klong Luk Border Station in Sa Kaeo Province. The first one leaves at 5:55am and arrives at 11:17am (5 hours and 22 minutes). If you are just doing a day-trip, the return journey is then at 1:53pm. The second train leaves Bangkok at 1:05pm and arrives at 5:27pm (4 hours and 27 minutes). For that one, you will have to stay overnight if you plan to return to Bangkok. The morning train from Ban Klong Luk Border Station leaves at 6:58am. The cost of the ticket is 49 Baht.

NOTES: Aranyaprathet Station, which is about six kilometers from the border, used to be the terminal station for 94 years. However, since 1st July 2019, Ban Klong Luk Station opened. This is at the border itself. There is a story in the Bangkok Post about this. Visit my photo page for Ban Klong Luk Border Station. Also check out this Straits Times article about the re-opening of the railway line on the other side of the border in April 2019.

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TRIP PLANNERS

As part of my Thailand by Slow Train Challenge, I took the slow train between Bangkok and Ban Klong Luk Border Station on 17th January 2020. I went all the way to the border in Aranyaprathet district on the 275 morning train that left Bangkok at 5:55am. I then had the afternoon to explore the border town. I stayed the night at a hotel around the corner from Ban Klong Luk station. On the second day, I leapfrogged back to Bangkok with stopovers in Prachinburi and Chachoengsao. I arrived back in Bangkok at 7:55pm. Click here for the live photo blog of that trip.

DAY TRAIN ROUTE TIME STOPOVER NOTES
DAY ONE 275 Bangkok to Ban Klong Luk 5:55am-11:17am overnight stopover
DAY TWO 280 Ban Klong Luk to Prachinburi 6:58am-9:18am a 4 hour and 58 minute stopover
282 Prachinburi to Chachoengsao 2:16pm-3:32pm a 2 hour and 24 minute stopover
998 Chachoengsao to Bangkok 6:00pm-7:40pm

For the second trip on the Eastern Line, I will take the weekend excursion day-trip train to Pattaya. This leaves Bangkok every Saturday and Sunday at 6:45am. There are a number of options along the way, but a popular destination is Nang Ram Beach in Sattahip district of Chonburi. The train arrives at Ban Plu Ta Luang station at 9:50am.  You then have to transfer to the beach by songtaew. The train leaves for the return journey at 3:50pm.

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MAP OF THE EASTERN LINE

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