BANGKOK (AP) — The locomotive of a luxury train carrying about 200 mostly European tourists caught fire Sunday morning as it was leaving a station in western Thailand, but no one was hurt.
The website of the Bangkok Post newspaper cited Police Maj. Sukhon Rat-iam as saying the accident occurred as the 17-coach Eastern & Oriental Express was leaving the station at Kanchanaburi, site of World War II’s infamous “Death Railway” depicted in the 1957 movie “The Bridge on the River Kwai.”
The train’s engineers stopped the train when smoke started pouring from the engine, then had the coaches detached and pulled back to the station.
Police said the locomotive was about 30 years old, and the fire appeared to have been caused by leaking diesel fuel.
The train travels regularly between Singapore and Thailand. A derailment occurred less than six months ago, and in separate accidents in Kanchanaburi, three foreign tourists travelling on Royal Thai Railways trains fell under moving carriages and were killed.
The Transport Ministry recently asked for 32 million baht ($1 million) to improve safety at railway crossings.
The government is planning a major expansion of the rail network, with high-speed domestic routes and connections to neighboring countries.