Hua Lamphong becoming a popular tourist attraction during its last month of operation

Hua Lamphong is 105 years old this year. When it was constructed it was a monument standing for modernization, innovation, extravagance, and connectivity. A pride of a nation just like railway stations in Europe at the time. This was an era when the railway stations should impress train passengers. In a manner that airports and High-Speed train stations are built today.

Strikingly, one often finds the most impressive architecture at historical central railway stations. You get thrown back in time when walking through the facilities or when you leave a city on a train trip out of them. For me I would come with the night train from Chiang Mai and wake up to the sound of Bangkok.

Hua Lamphong is located on the eastern edge of Chinatown close to Wat Traimit and the sprawling activities from the workshops in Charoen Krung

It is time to visit now. Especially because the station will cease operations by the end of December according to Bangkok Post. It stands on prime real estate as well so the question is how long the building will last? This station is the last song of the concert but quietly sings along.

It is said that King Rama V, on a trip to Germany in 1907, was very impressed by Frankfurt Train Station. So he commissioned the construction of Hua Lamphong. Initially, some stories say, the king had been a bit sceptic of railways since they could be used by foreign powers with the purpose of colonisation of Siam.

Completed in 1916, Hua Lamphong was designed by Italian duo Mario Tamagno and Annibale Rigotti. The station is of Italian Neo-Renaissance style. A defining feature of the station is the half dome front. It is held up inside by a vaulted iron roof. The curved roof with stained glass is iconic.

I took a walk through the station yesterday and felt a moment of grief. Many people come to do the same. Time is running out for Hua Lamphong and suddenly we all start to recognise the value and remember our train journeys from there. The suggestion to turn the station into a museum instead of commercial development will hardly be realised because of a huge amount of debt that needs to be paid.

In a not to distant future Thailand will be connected to China and Singapore through High Speed Rail. The section beween Vientiane in Laos and Kunming in China will open already this December.

%d bloggers like this: