Dodging Trains in Thailand’s Maeklong Railway Market

Maeklong-Railway-Market-Thailand (Image: (website), cc-3.0)

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.

Maeklong-Railway-Market-Thailand-2 (Image: Wunkai, cc-nc-sa-3.0)

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.

Maeklong-Railway-Market-Thailand-3 (Images: (website), cc-3.0; Zeugma, cc-sa-3.0)

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.”

Maeklong-Railway-Market-Thailand-4 (Image: ckmck, cc-3.0)

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.

Maeklong-Railway-Market-Thailand-5 (Image: (website), cc-3.0)

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.

Fan of railways? Check out more train and railway related articles here.

  • Lynn

    Great post! I think that would be pretty interesting to be walking along the market one day and then have a train come barreling through only to have things resume as normal directly afterwards

  • Tom

    Glad you enjoyed it, Lynn, and thanks for the comment. It would definitely be a shock if a train rumbled through when looking around a market, although interesting for sure!


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