Capturing Hua Lamphong’s heartbeat Through the lens of photgrapher Rammy Narula this century-old train station is still as full of life as ever – despite the fact it’s about to go into retirement by Kelly Harvey ■ AS plans get underway to move the central Bangkok railway station to Bang Sue, more and more artworks and exhibitions featuring the iconic station have begun to be displayed at Hua Lamphong as well as other galleries arcoss the city. Designed by Mario Tamagno and Annibale Rigotti in the early 1900s, Hua Lamphong is not your typical Thai-style train station. Featuring Italian Neo-Renaissance architecture, stained glass windows, and a decorated wooden roof, the structure is a piece of art in itself and has both inspired and become the subject matter of many artists. In 2016, the station celebrated its 100th year anniversary, but one year prior to the celebrations an annoucement was made that the Bangkok Railway central station would be reloacted to Bang Sue by
2019 and the historic train station would be turned into a musuem. With the development and modernisation of Bangkok already at an all time high not everyone was jumping for joy at the thought of retiring the cultural gem, including Bangkok-based photographer Rammy Narula. Rammy has spent hours taking photos at Hua Lamphong and has exhibited two Hua Lamphong Train Station series. The second series entitled ‘Platform 10’ was shot from a single platform between May and November 2015 and has now been published as a photo book. “I was born and raised in Bangkok, growing up in the concrete jungle that is its CBD area. In high school, we were often taken on field trips away from the centre but never to Hua Lamphong. I came to see the central station for the first time in 2012 as a photographer
and immediately fell in love with it. I was looking for something interesting and this place felt so different to the Bangkok I grew up in. “The most striking feature of the station I would say is its architecture. Bangkok feels overrun by buildings trying to be modern, but Hua Lamphong has kept its look over the years. The station for me felt like the Thailand I wish I knew. “At the station the most common sight is people waiting for their trains. Some folks are lying down on mats, some sleeping, and many kids travelling with their parents. I once saw a father giving a shower to his son using the hose in the middle of the tracks. It’s really quite a fascinating place. “Life moves quickly and a lot can happen when you’re not looking here. The station, renowned for being very slow-paced, wakes into life each time a
Thailand's best-read expat magazine. Find out what's hot in Bangkok and beyond. February 2017.