Trains to the south disrupted

A second wildcat strike by drivers of the State Railways of Thailand (SRT) Union, has disrupted services of trains from Bangkok to the South, resulting in a headache for locals and tourists alike.

Limited services began running on this route from Monday, after drivers walked off the job in protest over alleged unsafe trains. No prior warning was given.

The SRT suffered a further blow to its credibility and public confidence in the state owned railways is at an all-time low, following a series of accidents in recent weeks. A derailment near Hua Hin recently resulted in a crash that caused more than 15 deaths.

The loss-making enterprise has long been considered due for an overhaul, but efforts have been hampered by poor management and union resistence to change, or privatisation. This includes the late arrival of the airport rail link which is under their responsibility.

An earlier strike, last month, caused nation-wide havoc to travel and freight, and the union was widely derided by the public for their irresponsible actions. The regional strike this time is in protest of poorly maintained trains, which they blame on the recent spate of accidents. However, checks revealed the trains to be in good working order, and the Hua Hin crash was reckoned to be the result of driver negligence.

Transport Minister Sohpon Zarum has been pressing the SRT management to find replacement drivers and resume services as soon as possible – expected by the end of the week.

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