Pattaya Daily News

30 August 2008 :: 12:08:33 pm 42827

Rail Service Halted on 76 Routes as Srt Largely Shuts Down

BANGKOK, Aug 30 -- Senior railways executives are talking with representatives of Thailand‘s striking railway workers Saturday in an attempt settle problems which have brought the kingdom‘s passenger and cargo services to a virtual standstill, causing an estimated Bt20 million in lost revenue daily.
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State Railways of Thailand (SRT) services nationwide were disrupted, with many services suspended altogether, for the second day Saturday, following the absence of hundreds of state employees who are taking sick leave.

Seventy-six rail services were discontinued by the State Railway of Thailand (SRT), forcing would-be travelers to return advance booking rail tickets, and paralyzing railway cargo transport.

Long distance rail services, especially to the south, were completely halted, with trains from Bangkok serving only Hua Hin resort in Prachuap Khiri Khan.

Services Bangkok to the northeast served only Nakhon Ratchasima, while services to the north were canceled.

SRT labour union members began their work stoppage, citing that they needed to take sick leave.

However, state railways governor Youdtana Tupcharoen said the union also made demands unrelated to the current political troubles, demanding that the government help resolve the heavy debts suffered by the railroad, face the problem of SRT land leased to a major department store at below market rate rental fees and land trespass in a northeastern province.

The rail workers claimed that these problems have been left unresolved for several years. The SRT work stoppage at a time when the People’s Alliance for Democracy (PAD) protests are heating up, with violence in the air in Bangkok and upcountry, as the so-called democracy activists demand that the coalition government of Prime Minister Samak Sundaravej step down.

Meanwhile, airports in the southern resorts of Phuket and Krabi remain closed for the second day as the PAD protesters continued their demonstrations if the Andaman Sea beach resort sector, with flights from Bangkok to both airports cancelled. (TNA)

Reporter : PDN staff   Photo : Internet   Category : Thailand News

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