Thursday 16 September: This time I enjoy lunch at Hua Lampong station, take some photographs and board the 2:45pm 'International Express' to Butterworth, Malaysia. I opt for a forward-facing window seat and a wider, more-expensive, lower berth. There is no restaurant car just a galley-kitchen that will be unhooked at the Malaysia border, so meals are served at your table. Dinner is simple - soup, chicken with cashew nuts, mixed vegetables with rice, plus pineapple slices as desert. It's good but beer is expensive.
Friday 17: I wake at 6:30am but my breakfast has already arrived - orange juice, ham sandwiches, cold French-fries and pineapple slices, hot tea arrives a little later. This is okay.
The border crossing is reasonably painless and my passport has a free ninety-day Malaysia visa stamped in the corner - quick and simple. The engines are changed, carriages unhooked and we continue to Butterworth arriving at 3:30pm where the handy ferry takes me to the island of Panang, and Georgetown. The whole journey, including the berth, food and one beer costs 1,620 baht (around £34).
Photos, for train-spotters and the like, of the Special Express to Butterworth.