This week your intrepid hosts discuss all manner of rail travel in Bangkok and beyond, and the role that the train system plays in Thai society. For most foreigners rail is a convenient alternative, but for many Thais (and others throughout the world), it’s the only option, leading to some interesting financial, logistical, and economic repercussions.

Greg and Ed also trade stories of riding the overnight train to Chiang Mai and other rail adventures they’ve had over the years, and then discuss the meat of the issue – the massive new train station in Bang Sue, as well as several high speed train lines emanating from Bangkok to both the north and south. What’s clear is that once the Bang Sue terminal is completed, rail travel in Thailand will look a hell of a lot different than it does now. For more info, check out Greg’s super-cool Bangkok rail projection map here, and also head to Nomadic Notes for a wider look at all of Asia’s proposed rail routes.

But no matter what happens, the boys conclude that as long as speed is not super important, rail travel in Thailand is both affordable and enjoyable, and definitely worth checking out by expats and tourists alike.

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Hualamphong Train Station in 1925.

A train crash in Hualamphong in 1986.

The new Bang Sue rail terminal at the time of recording this episode. Huge!