RATCHABURI: A director of the State Railway of Thailand confirmed that three employees of the railway firm were among the injured in the accident which was the result of a switching failure. He promised a full enquiry into the incident.

Twenty people including three employees of Thailand’s state railway company were injured on Monday evening after a freight train ploughed into a waiting southbound passenger train at Pak Tho station in Ratchaburi.

Scenes from Monday evening after the two trains collided at Pak Tho station. Rescue workers had to later cut the driver of the northbound freight train that crashed into the waiting 14 car passenger train at approximately 6.40 pm.

Two trains heading in opposite directions were involved in a head-on collision at Pak Tho railway station in Ratchaburi province in central Thailand on Monday evening.

The accident occurred at 6.40 pm and caused at least 20 people to suffer injuries in the crash.

The incident occurred when the Thaksin Expressway 37/45 heading to Narathiwat province and on to Malaysia was waiting on track 2.

At the same time, a 722 freight train, travelling from Hat Yai in the south of Thailand to Bangsue railway station in Bangkok was approaching.

Efforts to switch the track for the freight train failed

It is reported that efforts to switch the track to allow the trains to avoid each other failed and the northbound train careered into the waiting southbound passenger train which comprised of 14 carriages including 11 passengers cars and three sleeping cars.

Driver of freight train seriously injured

The driver of the northbound train tried frantically to slow down but ultimately could only help to lessen the impact as the two trains collided.

He has been named as 37-year-old Pakorn Mananan. There are unconfirmed reports that the man was seriously injured in the impact.

Recuse workers cut drive out of the wreckage

Rescue personnel from the local Prachanukul Foundation were called to the scene and helped evacuate the injured to Pak Tho hospital.

An operation using cutters had to take place to retrieve the badly injured freight train driver from the mangled wreckage. 

There are reports that the man was badly crushed.

Suspension of all southern trains for a time

The incident caused the suspension of all southern trains with over 170 trains affected as the train service reorganised its routes and timings.

Thakoon Intharachom, the Director of the State Railways of Thailand (SRT) confirmed that the accident was caused by a switching malfunction and explained that a full investigation will take place.

He also confirmed that 3 employees of the railway company had been injured.

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