Bang Sue Grand Station is Bangkok’s newest and largest railway station which is currently being fitted out to become the main terminus for intercity and international train services in Thailand.
About Bang Sue Grand Station
With a internal floor space of 274,192 sqm and 26 platforms, Bang Sue Grand Station is the largest railway station in South East Asia, larger even than the massive KL Sentral Station in Malaysia. The large size of this new station is indicative of Thailand’s aspirations to modernise and enlarge its railway operations. Hua Lamphong Railway Station, the main hub for Thai railway services since 1916, is a fraction of the size and has handled an average of 60,000 passengers a day. Bang Sue Grand Station has been designed to accommodation passenger flows of several hundred thousand a day.
The plan to construct Bang Sue Grand Station was made in 2010. The concern of the government at the time was that the location of the main terminus Hua Lamphong Railway Station, which is right in the centre of the China Town district of Bangkok, was adding to the city’s traffic congestion problems. The view of the government at the time was that the city’s traffic problem was being exacerbated both by passengers being dropped off and picked up by cars at Hua Lamphong Railway Station, and by traffic being held up at level crossing as trains passed slowly through the city centre to reach the main terminus. Three out of the four intercity train lines in Thailand already pass through the existing Bang Sue Railway Station, so building a new train station in Bang Sue appeared to the government at the time as an easy solution to what they perceived as the negative impact of having a main railway terminus right in the centre of the city.
The design of Bang Sue Grand Station, both in terms of it dimensions and modernist architectural features, has been heavily influenced by the Chinese led Pan Asia Railway Network project. This ambitious project involves high speed railway services linking Kumming in China with Singapore via three routes, one via Myanmar, one via Laos and another via Vietnam, with all three routes meeting in Bangkok before continuing south to Singapore. Bang Sue Grand Station has been designed with these new high-speed train services in mind. Making good use of the space inside this new station will require a lot more train passengers than Thailand currently has, and the enclosed platforms are better suited to electric trains than the diesel powered engines that currently operate on all of Thailand’s existing intercity routes.
In many respects Bang Sue Grand Station is ahead of its time. A link railway from Vientiane in Laos to Kumming in China has recently been completed, however, high speed train lines linking Vientiane to Bangkok are several years away from completion. The section of high speed railway from Bangkok to Nakhon Ratchasima should become operational in 2024, however, construction of a high-speed railway line linking Nakhon Ratchasima to Vientiane has not even begun. Nor has construction of high speed railway lines in Vietnam and Myanmar. A minor amount of progress has been made on improving the train line going south from Bangkok as far as Surat Thani, but no work on a high speed train line from Bangkok through Malaysia to Singapore has commenced either. As a consequence, for the remainder of the decade Bang Sue Grand Station is likely to feel like an under utilised facility, with too few new international customers to justify the scale of the project.
The other issue with Bang Sue Grand Station is that both the railway staff and commuting public have objections to the closure of Hua Lamphong Railway Station. Bang Sue is not an end destination for most train passengers. It’s too far out of the city centre. The existing Bang Sue Station is fairly busy because it is linked to much of the city by an underground suburban train service. However, for most of the travelling public this too lower level of connectivity to the rest of Bangkok is unlikely to make Bang Sue Grand Station a more preferable arrival point than the existing main terminus, Hua Lamphong Railway Station. More and better local transport links are needed before Bang Sue Grand Station wins the approval of the travelling public.
Current Services at Bang Sue Grand Station
Intercity trains are not currently departing from from or stopping at Bang Sue Grand Station. Hua Lamphong Railway Station and Bang Sue Railway Station remain the principal train stations in Bangkok.
Bang Sue Grand Station is currently only hosting three suburban railway services:
- MRT Blue Line: This is an underground train service linking Bang Sue Grand Station to city centre destinations such as the Phetchaburi, Sukhumvit and Silom Roads as well as to Hua Lamphong Railway Station. The MRT service also connects with the BTS overhead train service, and the Airport Link.
- SRT Light Red Line: This suburban light railway service runs west from Bang Sue Grand Station to Taling Chan.
- SRT Dark Red Line: This suburban light railway service runs north from Bang Sue Grand Station to Rangsit, with a stop at Mueang Airport on route.
Future Services at Bang Sue Grand Station
The second level of Bang Sue Grand Station has 12 platform, two of which are currently in use for the Light and Dark Red SRT lines. The other 10 platforms will used for existing intercity train services. The start date for intercity services operating out of Bang Sue Grand Station, and how many there will be, is still be decided upon.
The third level Bang Sue Grand Station has a further 10 platforms. Most of these platforms have been set aside for high speed electric train services. Currently Thailand has no electric train services so the third level of Bang Sue Grand Station is likely to remain closed off for at least another 2 years until the Bangkok to Nakhon Ratchasima high speed railway line becomes operational.
Platform space on the third level of Bang Sue Grand Station has also been set aside for the Airport Rail Link. The signs for the Airport Rail Link have already been installed although there are no Airport Link services available. The existing Airport Rail Link from Central Bangkok to Suvarnabhumi Airport doesn’t currently connect to Bang Sue Grand Station. There is also a future high speed rail link connecting Don Mueang Airport, Suvarnabumi Airport and U-Tapao Airport (near Pattaya) currently in the planning phase, however, it is unlikely to become operational any time earlier than 2024.
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Local Transport to Bang Sue Grand Station
The main local transport links to Bang Sue Grand Station currently in operation are the MRT line, and the Light Red and Dark Red SRT lines.
On the eastern side of Bang Sue Grand Station there is also a bus stop and a taxi rank. At the present time (due to a lack of demand) there are limited bus services operating to and from Grand Sue Central Station.
There are also plans to build a walkway between Bang Sue Grand Station and Bangkok Northern Bus Terminal. When this walkway is completed it will be a ‘game changer’ in terms of footfall at Bang Sue Grand Station. At the present time Bangkok Northern Bus Terminal isn’t connected to either of Bangkok’s rapid public transport systems, the MRT and BTS, so arrivals at the massive Bangkok Northern Bus Terminal need to take a bus or taxi to travel onward in Bangkok. When the walkway is completed we predict that the majority of passengers arriving at Bangkok Northern Bus Terminal will pass through Bang Sue Grand Station on route to either the MRT or a suburban light railway service. Local services from Bang Sue Grand Station will, at that point, need to increase in number and frequency so as not to create bottlenecks of commuters when intercity train services start to arrive and depart from the station.
Location of Bang Sue Central Station
Bang Sue Grand Station is located 10.4 km by road to the north east of the Khao San Road.
Facilities at Bang Sue Grand Station
Bang Sue Grand Station currently has very few services. The public toilets are functional but there are no food or beverage outlets other than a small number of vending machines. Nor are there are shops of any other type currently operating inside the terminal or within the grounds of Bang Sue Grand Station.
A large part of Bang Sue Grand Station, by the front entrance, is currently being put to good use as Thailand’s largest covid-19 vaccination centre. The retail space inside and outside the station building has not yet been let to any customers, and no internal partitions have been erected to house shops and restaurants.
Facilities near Bang Sue Grand Station
At the present time there are few shops or restaurants within walking distance of Bang Sue Grand Station. If you need to buy food and drink your closest option is to exit the station via the western entrance and walk across the road to the existing Bang Sue Railway Station. Platform 1 at Bang Sue Railway Station is lined with a wide range of good value for money food and beverages stalls.
Hotels near Bang Sue Grand Station
At the moment there are relatively few good hotels near Bang Sue Grand Station. No doubt this will change in the future, however, for the time being here are the top three hotels near Bang Sue Grand Station listed with the closest of the three hotels first.
- Distance by road from Bang Sue Grand Station: 2.7 km
- Rating: 3 star
- Approximate cost per night: 1,500 to 2,000 THB
- See more information about Bangkok Living
The State Apartment
- Distance by road from Bang Sue Grand Station: 5.2 km km
- Rating: 2 star
- Approximate cost per night: 750 to 1,000 THB
- See more information about The State Apartment
- Distance by road from Bang Sue Grand Station: 7.4 km
- Rating: 3 star
- Approximate cost per night: 1,000 to 1,500 THB
- See more information about Baanrao Bangson
Future of the other Train Stations in Bangkok
In addition to Bang Sue Grand Station there are three existing long distance train stations in Bangkok:
- Hua Lamphong Railway Station (currently also known simply as Bangkok Train Station).
- Bang Sue Railway Station
- Thonburi Railway Station
Exactly what will happen to each of these stations, and in particular when they might close down as a consequence of the opening of Bang Sue Grand Station, is currently not known for sure. However, on the basis of the most recent information available below are the most likely outcomes.
Hua Lamphong Railway Station
When the decision to build Grand Sue Grand Station was made the original plan was that Hua Lamphong Railway Station should close entirely. However, as the date for opening Grand Sue Grand Station grew closer lots of groups, including the union representing the employees of the State Railway of Thailand, objected. As of December 2021 the plan is to keep Hua Lamphong Railway Station open with a limited number of long and short distance trains arriving and departing from Hua Lamphong Railway Station, although all trains will still pass through Bang Sue Grand Station even if they start from from, or terminate at, Hua Lamphong Railway Station.
Bang Sue Railway Station
Bang Sue Railway Station is very close to Bang Sue Grand Station (across the road from the rear entrance). When Bang Sue Grand Station becomes fully operational the old Bang Sue Railway Station will close. What hasn’t been decided is whether the many food and drink vendors who operate at this station will be given pitches outside Bang Sue Grand Station where they can still operate.
Thonburi Railway Station
Trains to Kanchanaburi and Nam Tok operate from Thoburi Railway Station. There are currently no plans to re-route these train services to Bang Sue Grand Station which means that at the present time there is no threat of closure for Thonburi Railway Station as a consequence of the opening of Bang Sue Grand Station.