Lam Narai is a branch of the Northeastern Line. The 251 kilometre long branch line opened in 1967 as an alternative route to Nong Khai. It starts at Kaeng Khoi Junction Station and passes through Saraburi, Lopburi, Chaiyaphum and Nakhon Ratchasima provinces and finishes at Bua Yai Junction Station on the line to Nong Khai. The highlight is the viaduct across Pasak Chonlasit Reservoir (Pa Sak Jolasid) and the climb through the hills alongside the wind turbines in Chaiyaphum province.
There are two pairs of local trains, Ordinary No. 433/434 and 439/440, that stop at every station on the branch line between Kaeng Khoi and Bua Yai junctions. It takes the train five hours to stop at all 38 stations on the branch line. Ticket price is 44 Baht. To get here from Bangkok, catch any train on the Northeastern Line as they all stop at Kaeng Khoi Junction.
- No. 433: Kaeng Khoi Junction (departs 5:30 a.m.) to Bua Yai Junction (arrives 10:08 a.m.)
- No. 439: Kaeng Khoi Junction (departs 11:45 a.m.) to Bua Yai Junction (arrives 4:44 p.m.)
- No. 440: Bua Yai Junction (departs 5:50 a.m.) to Kaeng Khoi Junction (arrives 10:45 a.m.)
- No. 434: Bua Yai Junction (departs 12:20 p.m.) to Kaeng Khoi Junction (arrives 5:10 p.m.)
LINK: How to Buy Train Tickets
There are also some long distance express trains that go this way on the way to Nong Khai from Bangkok. They stop at six or seven stations on the branch line. Express No. 75/76 train passes this route during the day (around 10:30 a.m. – 2:04 p.m. outbound and around 10:45 a.m. – 2:42 p.m. inbound) and so you will have some good daytime views. Rapid No. 133/134 and Special Express No. 25/26 pass over the reservoir and through the hills during the night and so you won’t see anything.
- No. 25 Special Express: Bangkok to Nong Khai <–CNR sleeper
- No. 26 Special Express: Nong Khai to Bangkok <–CNR sleeper
- No. 75 Express: Bangkok to Nong Khai <– 2nd & 3rd Class seats
- No. 76 Express: Nong Khai to Bangkok <– 2nd & 3rd Class seats
- No. 133 Rapid: Bangkok to Nong Khai <– 3rd Class seats
- No. 134 Rapid: Nong Khai to Bangkok <– 3rd Class seats
- No. 433 Ordinary: Kaeng Khoi Junction to Bua Yai Junction <– 3rd Class seats
- No. 434 Ordinary: Bua Yai Junction to Kaeng Khoi Junction <– 3rd Class seats
- No. 439 Ordinary: Kaeng Khoi Junction to Bua Yai Junction <– 3rd Class seats
- No. 440 Ordinary: Bua Yai Junction to Kaeng Khoi Junction <– 3rd Class seats
If you have your own car, there is a popular viewpoint near one of the viaducts across Pasak Chonlasit Reservoir. This one is about 600 metres north of Khok Salung Railway Station (see map). You can walk on the tracks though please check the times of trains first and be aware that there are sometimes special trains that aren’t on the timetable or some trains might arrive early or late. The long distance train to and from Nong Khai can run up to an hour late.
APPROXIMATE TIMES TO SEE TRAINS ON THIS VIADUCT
- 6:20 a.m. (Ordinary No. 433 Kaeng Khoi Junction to Bua Yai Junction)
- 9:33 a.m. (Ordinary No. 440 Bua Yai Junction to Kaeng Khoi Junction)
- 11:17 a.m. (Express No. 75 Bangkok to Nong Khai)
- 12:45 p.m. (Ordinary No. 439 Kaeng Khoi Junction to Bua Yai Junction)
- 1:46 p.m. (Express No. 76 Nong Khai to Bangkok)
- 4:00 p.m. (Ordinary No. 434: Bua Yai Junction to Kaeng Khoi Junction)
TRIP PLANNER 1
If you want to just go over the viaduct and back as a day trip from Bangkok, I suggest that you catch Express No. 75 that leaves Bangkok at 8:20 a.m. and get off at Khok Salung at 11:12 a.m. Then walk 600 meters north to the viewpoint and wait for the next train to come across the viaduct at 12:45 p.m. Your train will probably arrive 10-15 minutes late and so you have about an hour to wait. Once you have taken selfies on the viaduct and then photos of the train crossing the viaduct, slowly make your way back to the station. You have about an hour to wait for Express No. 76 to arrive from Nong Khai at 1:51 p.m. This will take you all the way back to Bangkok by 5:10 p.m. You can do this trip any day. There are some food shops near the station but you might want to bring a packed lunch. The return ticket price is 372 Baht in 3rd Class with fan or 584 Baht for 2nd Class with air-conditioning. Click here to find out how to track trains live.
The State Railway of Thailand organises a day excursion to Pasak Chonlasid Dam during the cool season from November to January every year. The train takes you out onto the bridge across the reservoir where it stops for around twenty minutes. You can get down on the tracks and take pictures (see photo blog of a recent trip). The train then takes you back to the dam where you can relax and eat lunch before heading back to Bangkok. The return ticket price is 330 Baht in 3rd Class with fan or 560 Baht for 2nd Class with air-conditioning.
TRIP PLANNER 2
The following is a suggestion on how to do a two-day trip that does a loop that includes the viaduct, wind turbines, and another large lake on the second day.
If you are not short of time, take Rapid No. 135 train going from Bangkok to Ubon Ratchathani at 6:40 a.m. This will reach Kaeng Khoi Junction at 9:22 a.m. You then have about two hours to explore the station and town. Make sure you visit nearby Wat Kaeng Khoi as there is a memorial there for the people who died during a Second World War air-raid when the bombers targeted the railway yard. Then catch Ordinary No. 439 train at 11:45 a.m. for the highlight of your trip along Lam Narai branch line. This stops at all stations on the branch line before reaching Bua Yai Junction at 4:40 p.m. If your train arrived on time, catch Ordinary No. 418 to Nakhon Ratchasima at 5:05 p.m. There are more hotel options here. Then, in the morning, take Ordinary No. 234 back to Bangkok at 8:22 a.m. There are some later trains if you want to spend more time in Khorat. But make sure you go back during the day time as there are some great views as the train passes Lam Takong Reservoir.
PHOTO BLOG: Exploring the Lam Narai Branch Line