Nakhon Ratchasima main railway station is one of hundreds of old stations which will be demolished and replaced with new buildings under the State Railway of Thailand’s double-tracks upgrade.(Photo by Prasit Tangprasert)
NAKHON RATCHASIMA – The local community has launched a campaign to save 10 picturesque old railway stations along the Chira Road-Khon Kaen route which are to be demolished and replaced under the State Railway of Thailand’s (SRT) double-track development plan.
Led by provincial authorities, residents living around the 10 stations have agreed to raise money needed to fund the removal, relocation and reconstruction of these old structures, which are considered to have cultural and achitectural value.
Under the SRT’s development scheme almost all of the 443 old stations will have to go.
Conservationists have protested against the demolition and called for preservation of these buildings. They argue that about 200 of them should be preserved as cultural and architectural heritage sites.
Following a meeting with local residents and officials, Nakhon Ratchasima governor Wichian Chantaranothai said funds will be raised to purchase the old structures along the train route from the SRT, remove and reconstruct them elsewhere.
Demolition work at some stations had already begun, and so local officials had been assigned to take photos of the old stations and document all possible details for the reconstruction project.
Mr Wichian said he would hold talks with the SRT about the possibility of participating in the project by handing over the old structures to provincial authorities free of charge.
The SRT would be allowed to keep ownership of these buildings, but they would be maintained by provincial authorities, he said. Costs of the reconstruction project would be estimated and reported to him next week.
Passengers wait for their train on an open-air platform. (Photo by Prasit Tangprasert)
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