Just a head's up to anyone planning to travel this route today... You'll probably want to hit the bus station instead. This looks pretty rough; good thing no one was killed.
I was just reading accounts (in the book "The Buddha in the Jungle" by Tiyavanich - a good read) from Europeans and Americans who traveled around in Siam during the 19th century. The only ways to go were boat and elephant. I do wish adventures like those were still possible. Of course, after day three on an elephant I'd probably be regretting it. On the other hand, even with all the king cobras and tigers that still roamed the jungle back then, I imagine those voyages were safer than a typical modern bus ride in Thailand!
I love how blase the officials sound about it:
"Derailments happen quite often," said State Railway of Thailand governor Prapat Chongsanguan.
Yep, it's just one of those things....
There's a bit of video coverage in our local paper.... http://www.stuff.co.nz/world/asia/8933718/Kiwi-injured-in-Thai-train-crash
No internet and planes back then and 40yo was old age. Just going overseas was a huge mission. Then there's disease that killed many with little medicine to treat any of it. People like to glorify the past and some aspects would have been interesting but also very tough.
Agreed. It's easy to romanticize far off places and times. But after seeing cookie cutter concrete house after house where traditional villages and jungle used to stand, I can't help but romanticize.
Seems that there is a spate of horrific bus crashes too....
19 dead in Saraburi crash (tourist night bus, truck and pickup - 4.30am)
22 injured in Prachuap Khiri Khan on Monday
Thai buses and trucks crash often. That's why I prefer to fly. Even catching a mini bus for 1-2 hours can be a scary ride. I caught one from Prachuap to Hua Hin and the road between those places is pretty bad now with lots of potholes and bumps in the road. The driver was going 120km on this road and hit a bump with a small child in the back seat hitting his head on the ceiling as the seats in the back has less head room. What did the driver do? Laugh and say kor thort then keep driving fast. And half the time he's on the phone whilst driving with one hand - this sort of reckless driving is very common in Thailand. It's a wonder there's not more crashes.
"But after seeing cookie cutter concrete house after house where traditional villages and jungle used to stand, I can't help but romanticize."
In the old days it was cookie cutter hovel after cookie cutter hovel. This reminds me of a joke I heard a while back.
"How do our grandfathers refer to the misery of the Great Depression and the slaughter of the WW II?"
"The good ol' days."
"It's a wonder there's not more crashes."
You can say that again. I recently got a driver (it's a long story why) from Sakhon Nakhon to Mukdahan and told the driver "I'll drive" when we got ready to go (it was his truck). He said to me "I can do it." And I responded "I've seen Thai people drive." He laughed and gave me the keys. He was a nice kid.