BANGKOK: A new Bangkok-Pattaya train service that will allow tourists to make day trips to the Thai coastal city will be introduced in March, the DPA news agency reported on Wednesday (Feb 21).
Launched on a six-month trial, the new train service will run twice daily on weekends. It will depart from Bangkok at 6.30am and reach Pattaya at 9am, and leave Pattaya at 3.50pm to arrive back at the capital at 6.50pm.
There is already a train service between Bangkok and Pattaya, a popular seaside resort city about 100km southeast of the capital. But the train runs only on weekdays – it leaves Bangkok and reaches Pattaya at 11.20am, while the only train to Bangkok from Pattaya leaves at 1.35pm.
The new train will also be air-conditioned, unlike the current train in operation. The journey will also be shortened by about an hour, down from three-and-a-half hours currently.
The introduction of the new train service will help boost tourism in the country, DPA cited a Thai railway official as saying.
Mr Oratai Suwannatas, tourism marketing executive at the State Railway of Thailand, told DPA that the new service "is to accommodate both Thai and foreign tourists planning for one-day or weekend trips in Pattaya".
"The timing makes it impossible for a one-day trip. Hardly any tourists get on it," Mr Oratai said.
He confirmed that the train will operate on a permanent basis if the trial run is successful.
According to the Pattaya Mail, there will be six stations on the new train service. Shuttle services to nearby tourist attractions will be available at each station.
The six stops will be located near the Sriracha Tiger Zoo, North Pattaya, Pattaya Floating Market, Yanasanwararam Temple, Nong Nooch Tropical Garden and the Plutaluang Railway Station.