Bangkok may boast a selection of famously floating markets, but 42 miles to the southwest at Samut Songkhram, at the opposite end of the Maeklong Railway, is one of the largest fresh seafood markets in Thailand – where vendors must be quick-witted and quick-heeled.
Famously – or perhaps infamously – built around the narrow gauge track, the Maeklong Railway Market is already a hive of activity when, several times per day, a locomotive cuts straight through the stalls sending vendors and visitors running.
As Karl writes at Environmental Graffiti: “Eight times daily, a train runs through without care for stopping, sending vendors and visitors to action stations before business as usual resumes.”
To the locals, the Maeklong Railway Market is known as Talad Rom Hoop, which translates as ‘Market Umbrella Pull-down’. When a train approaches, awnings and shopfronts are hastily moved back then replaced once it passes.
Fortunately the line, which has no signals whatsoever, is one of the slowest in Thailand. The maximum speed on the route, which was completed in 1907, is just 18.6 mph.
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