LAMPHUN — The safety demonstration of the State Railway of Thailand (SRT) of its newly repaired tracks has ended in an embarrassing failure when the train carrying the SRT director derailed en route to Chiang Mai province yesterday.
Prapat Chongsanguan and his entourage were riding on the third carriage of the train, which departed from Bangkok on 1 December as an effort of the SRT to show that their northern route is now operating again after weeks of repair works.
The repair operation along the northern route followed series of train derailment occurring on the route in the past year.
However, the train derailed 100 metres away from a train station in Lamphun. No injuries have been reported, as the train was slowing its speed during its approach to the train station.
Witnesses at the station said a technician prematurely switched the tracks under the incoming train before the entire train went past the switching position, causing the third and last carriage, where Mr. Prapat and his entourage along with members of the press were riding, to derail.
After the incident, Mr. Prapat and other officials traveled to their destination in Chiang Mai province by cars. He refused to answer questions from reporters, and appeared to be visibly distraught by the accident.
Technicians spent 5 hours removing the derailed carriage, and few more hours in fixing the rail track. The line was reopened in the evening.