Train’s coming - off the tracks! We are all familiar with that alert, but what if it happens in an open street market?
Maeklong Railway Market is a phenomenal place where the vendors have to move the awnings and shop fronts back from the tracks every time a train approaches so it can run through, then replace the items when the train has passed. The train could come as regularly as several times a day, depending on the train schedule. That’s why the market is also referred to as "Folding-umbrella Market", a rising site to visit when traveling to Thailand.
Produce stands encroach the track. When the train comes, vendors are busy folding the awnings while customers step back to avoid getting hurt. (Photo: Odyssey guest Caroline Faye)
However, vendors will take a long break from folding and unfolding umbrellas as the line will be shut down for maintenance from May 13 to November 8, 2015, approximately six months, according to The State Railways of Thailand (SRT).
Standing as an active market frequented by local Thais in Samut Songkhram, Maeklong Railway Market existed long before the track was laid. Ever since the line from Samut Sakhon to Samut Songkhram was built, vendors have to deal with the oncoming train and that makes the market popular with curious domestic and foreign visitors, who come all the way to witness and snaps photos of the quaint scene.
SRT also said that during the closure period, the market will remain open. A locomotive will be deployed at the station for photo taking while passengers will take an alternative bus to and from the two destinations.
According to travelers, it’s really amazing to watch how fast they fold and unfold everything. The train actually cruises over some produce but the vendors seemingly do not mind. With pity for the temporary closure, some even postpone their travel date to ensure they will not miss the sight, which tops the things to do in Samut Songkhram that takes an hour’s drive from Bangkok.
Fascinated by the railway market? Better start planning a tour when its line is re-opened!