14 rail routes in southern border provinces still halted

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NARATHIWAT, July 28 – Rail services in this restive southern border province remained suspended Thursday for repair work amid tight security following Wednesday’s bombing of State Railway of Thailand tracks in Rangae district.

As of Thursday morning, services on 14 rail routes converging on Sungai Kolok station, remain closed as officials are repairing the bomb-damaged sections of rail track at Salowkadae and Maruebo railway stations.

At present all trains from Bangkok must stop at Yala province due to the disruption caused by this week’s bombs.

State Railways of Thailand (SRT) southern director Somsak Thongthavorn said local security authorities are tightening security in the bomb-hit areas to prevent further incidents which may take place when SRT workers repair the damaged rail tracks.

Mr Somsak said the SRT expects to resume train service to Sungai Kolok this afternoon.

Meanwhile, Pattani station chief Suriyan Chivanitchakorn said six train routes from Pattani to Bangkok still operate as usual despite the railway track incidents in the adjacent province.

Mr Suriyan added he believes the passengers are confident regarding their safety during the journey.

The estimated five-kilogram homemade bomb placed near the rail line between Salowkadae and Maruebo railway stations was detonated at 5.30am by unknown persons in Rangae district. The explosion destroyed two sections of track, paralyzing the railway operations in the three southern border provinces of Yala, Pattani and Narathiwat were paralysed.

Internal Security Operations Command (ISOC) Region 4 Deputy Director Maj-Gen Akara Tiproj said the blast is believed to be the work of a narcotics trafficking ring after railway security personnel seized 60,000 methamphetamine pills and arrested two suspects in Hua Hin.

The alleged drug gang detainees were identified as being from Bangkok and Rangae, with their case being heard by the court on Tuesday.