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  • #91
    Bangkok’s Yellow Line nears completion, set to open mid-2022

    Trial runs of the Yellow Line MRT monorail between Phawana and Samrong stations and to the Lat Phrao station have encountered no bugs in the control or signalling system, Surapong Laoha-Unya, director of the Eastern Bangkok Monorail, said last week.

    He added that the service should be open to the public by mid next year.

    Surapong also said the construction of the Yellow Line monorail project is 86 per cent complete, civil work is 88 per cent and the electric train system is 83 per cent complete.

    Meanwhile, construction of the Pink Line, which links Bangkok and Nonthaburi, is 82 per cent complete, with 83 per cent of civil work done and 80 per cent of the electric train system ready.

    Surapong said the monorail will open gradually in 2022, with the Yellow Line’s Phawana-Samrong route opening first followed by the Lat Phrao connection.

    Similarly, the Pink line will open the Chaeng Wattana Government Complex-Minburi section first, except for Nopparat Ratchathani Station. Its other two sections – Chonburi-Chaeng Wattana and Khae Rai-Nonthaburi Civic Centre – will be opened later.:

    Keep your friends close and your enemies closer


    • #92
      Hua Lamphong – the end of an era in Bangkok

      Walking With The Nation Thailand: Hua Lamphong – the end of an era in Bangkok

      Bangkok’s iconic Hua Lamphong Railway Station is set to shut its doors on December 24, with Bang Sue Grand Station taking its place as the capital’s main train station.

      The Nation Thailand takes you on a walk-through Hua Lamphong to take in the atmosphere and see how the station’s closure will affect people’s lives.:

      Keep your friends close and your enemies closer


      • #93
        Projects back on after SRT clears bid delay

        The State Railway of Thailand (SRT) board has finally approved the results of a bid for construction contracts for two double-track rail projects, one in the North and the other in the Northeast.

        It revealed that the bidding for three construction contracts for the 72.9-billion-baht Den Chai-Chiang Rai-Chiang Khong route as well as for the other two contracts required for the construction of the 55.4-billion-baht Ban Phai-Maha Sarakham-Roi Et-Mukdahan-Nakhon Phanom route were conducted from June to July.

        The SRT's approval, however, had been stalled by an investigation ordered by Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha into alleged price collusion and the unfair treatment of some bidders.

        These results were only recently approved after the committee probing irregularities found no evidence to back up the claims and reported this to the prime minister on Nov 23, said the source.

        Gen Prayut therefore assigned the Ministry of Transport to continue with the two rail projects while also explaining to the public the findings from the previous investigation and starting to amend some laws to heighten legal mechanisms against collusion in future bidding wars.

        If the bidding had to be held again, the median prices for the two projects would have been raised to keep up with inflation in costs.

        That would have cost the 323km northern rail project an additional 4.2 billion baht and the 355km northeastern project an extra 2.9 billion.

        SRT governor Nirut Maneephan said the approved bidding results include a 26.5-billion-baht contract awarded to the ITD-NWR Consortium to build the 104km Den Chai-Ngao section, a 26.9-billion-baht contract awarded to CKST-DC Consortium to build the 135km Ngao-Chiang Rai section, and a 19.3-billion-baht contract also awarded to CKST-DC for the 84km Chiang Rai-Chiang Khong section. The other two contracts were awarded to AS-CHO Thavee and Associates Consortium and UNIQ Consortium for the 180km Ban Phai-Nong Phok section and the 175km Nong Phok-Sapha Mittraphap section, respectively.

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        • #94
          22 out of 118 trains to still enter Hua Lamphong station

          Nobody said that Hua Lamphong would be closed, Transport Ministry deputy permanent secretary Sorapong Paitoonpong said on Wednesday at the public forum “Future of Hua Lamphong Station: History and Development” organised by the State Railway of Thailand (SRT).

          “We only want to lower the role of Hua Lamphong station. Most of the trains are destined to stop at Bang Sue Grand Station,” he said.

          At present, there are 118 trains arriving at Hua Lamphong Station, and from December 23, it will be reduced to 22 trains – 6 trains from the North, 6 from the Northeast, 2 from the South and 14 from the East.

          The main objective is to help reduce 27 intersections in Bangkok and cut down on the number of roadblocks from 826 times a day to 112, a reduction of 86 per cent, which will help solve traffic problems.

          Meanwhile, SRT Asset Company Limited acting managing director Trithip Sivakritkul said the firm was set up according to the Cabinet’s resolution, with the SRT holding 100 per cent of shares to manage non-railway SRT assets to generate income. As for the 120-rai Hua Lamphong area, there is a plan to develop it into a historical site, learning centre, cultural site and commercial area, which confirms that Hua Lamphong station will not be demolished, he said.

          The Transport Ministry and the SRT will collect various opinions by December 23 for consideration.:

          Keep your friends close and your enemies closer


          • #95
            Train services continue unchanged at Hua Lamphong

            The State Railway will continue operating 80 train services a day at Hua Lamphong station, which has long served Bangkok city, at least until January.

            SRT governor Nirut Maneephan said on Tuesday that the state enterprise had cancelled its plan to reduce the number of trains serving the old railway terminus to 22 from this Thursday.

            Services would remain unchanged at Hua Lamphong pending the SRT finalising plans for the transfer of services to Bang Sue Grand station and for Red Line services between Rangsit and Bang Sue, he said.

            "There has been no decision made, so, services at Hua Lamphong station will continue without change until at least January 2022," Mr Nirut said.

            Of the 80 services a day at Hua Lamphong, 40 are freight and passenger trains and the 40 others are free public services.

            He also said the SRT cancelled its plan to close the old ground level Bang Khen, Laksi and Don Muang train stations this Thursday and require commuters to instead use the elevated Red Line, which follows the same route.

            In November, Transport Minister Saksayam Chidchob announced the SRT would eventually stop all train services at 105-year-old inner city Hua Lamphong station, to allow its commercial redevelopment.

            The labour union of the SRT has strongly opposed the plan.

            Keep your friends close and your enemies closer


            • #96
              3 companies bid for THB82 billion MRT Purple Line

              The Mass Rapid Transit Authority of Thailand (MRTA) has, as of Monday, received three bids for the 82-billion-baht Purple Line running from Tao Poon to Rat Burana (Kanchanaphisek ring road).

              The first two bidders were CKST Joint Venture Group, an alliance between CH Karnchang and Sino-Thai Engineering and Construction, and ITD-NWR MRT joint venture comprising Italian-Thai Public Co and Nawarat Patanakarn. The third company to hand in a bid was Unique Engineering and Construction.

              The bidders will be considered in technical terms, the price offered and if they have worked in Thailand for at least 20 years.

              MRTA will announce the winner in the first quarter of 2022, after which the contract will be signed immediately to expedite the start of construction within the third quarter. The construction is expected to take 2,005 days and should be completed by the end of 2027.
              Keep your friends close and your enemies closer


              • #97
                Trains prove to be most popular among year-end travellers

                More than 1.3 million people used Thailand’s railway services on December 29 and 30, with more than 90,000 people travelling upcountry.

                The five lines that saw the highest number of passengers were:

                • Southern: 26,852 passengers
                • Northeast: 26,420 passengers
                • Northern: 23,402 passengers
                • Eastern: 11,010 passengers
                • Mahachai-Mae Khlong: 6,066 passengers

                Meanwhile, more than 1.28 million people used rail services in Greater Bangkok on December 29 and 30:

                • Airport Rail Link: 57,446 passengers
                • SRT Red Line: 15,590 passengers
                • MRT Purple Line: 50,721 passengers
                • MRT Blue Line: 355,242 passengers
                • BTS: 805,331 passengers

                Separately, a train crashed into a pick-up truck that was trying to cross the tracks in Nakhon Ratchasima at around 11am on December 30. Two people were slightly injured and taken to Maharat Nakhon Ratchasima Hospital for treatment.

                Keep your friends close and your enemies closer


                • #98
                  Over 3 million passengers use rail transport during New Year holidays

                  The Department of Rail Transport on Tuesday reported that precisely 3,160,216 people travelled by rail during the New Year holidays from December 29 to January 3.

                  “Of the total rail passengers during these six days, most of them [2,897,234] commuted via electric train in Bangkok and the surrounding provinces,” department deputy director-general Phichet Khunatham said.

                  “The BTS Green and Gold lines recorded the most passengers – 1,825,928 – followed by the MRT Blue Line at 791,173 passengers and the Airport Rail Link at 135,665 people.”

                  Over 3 million passengers use rail transport during New Year holidaysOver 3 million passengers use rail transport during New Year holidays

                  Meanwhile, 262,982 people used State Railway of Thailand (SRT) interprovincial trains during the six days. Trains on the southern route saw the most passengers – 80,010 – followed by northeastern and northern trains at 71,703 and 61,877 people, respectively.

                  The department also reported six rail accidents during the six days that resulted in two fatalities and two injuries.

                  During the period, there were five instances of electrical malfunction, four trains were delayed and one cancelled.

                  “The SRT added another express train from Tuesday, running from Chiang Mai to Bangkok, and has increased the number of carriages for long-distance trains to make sure people visiting their hometowns during the New Year break can return to Bangkok on time,” Phichet added.

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                  • #99
                    Donated Japanese trains getting ready to run Thai tracks by mid-2022

                    The 17 KiHA 183 diesel trains donated to Thailand by Japan’s Hokkaido Railway Company are being modified so they can run on local tracks, while four trains are expected to start running by mid-2022.

                    “Japanese diesel trains use 1.067 metre wide axels, while the Thai railway is 1 metre wide,” State Railway of Thailand (SRT)’s Public Relations Centre director Ekarat Sriarayanphong said on Friday. “We began modifying the trains as soon as they arrived in December last year and now they can run on our tracks. The next step is repainting them at the Makkasan train depot.”

                    Ekarat added that once the trains are repainted, SRT will make adjustments to other systems such as the engine, transmission system, air conditioning and passenger seats, so they meet Thai conditions.

                    Donated Japanese trains getting ready to run Thai tracks by mid-2022

                    “Modifications will be carried out on four trains at a time, with the first lot set to be completed by mid-2022. These trains will run for short distances to Ayutthaya and Chachoengsao to promote domestic tourism,” he said.

                    KiHA 183 diesel trains have a maximum speed of 100 kilometres per hour. Each train has four bogies and can accommodate up to 216 passengers. Once completed, they will be fully airconditioned and include reclining seats and toilets.

                    Though SRT received these trains for free, it paid a private contractor 42.25 million baht to bring them from Japan to Thailand.

                    Donated Japanese trains getting ready to run Thai tracks by mid-2022

                    Keep your friends close and your enemies closer


                    • Train crew killed by railway crossing truck collision

                      UDON THANI: The train driver and the engineer were killed when their train hit an 18-wheel trailer truck at a railway crossing in Muang district of this northeastern province on Monday night, police said.

                      The accident occurred at the crossing near Ban Chan intersection in Muang district. Rapid train No134 (Nong Khai-Bangkok) hit the truck about 7.45pm, Pol Capt Narasak Nonthabut, a Muang duty officer, said.

                      The violent impact derailed the locomotive, which sustained heavy damage. The truck tractor was not damaged. The train hit the trailer, which was torn free from its coupling and hurled into the canal beside the tracks.

                      Wuthichai Ruang-aram, the train driver, and Jennarong Chuenchoy, the train engineer, were both killed, ripped out of the cabin and into the canal by the impact.

                      There were about 100 passengers in the train's nine cars. Some received minor injuries.

                      Trailer truck driver Surachai Wongsuk, 58, said he was taking a load of cassava chips from Bung Kan province to Prachin Buri.

                      He did not stop at the crossing, but drove over it because the safety barrier arm was not down. The truck was halfway across when he heard a train warning klaxon and then felt a huge impact as it crashed into the trailer and tore it from the mounting.

                      Mr Surachai was adamant the safety barrier was not down across the road. If it was, he would have stopped, he said.

                      Police were investigating who was to blame, whether a railway employee had failed to lower the safety barrier.

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                      • SRT preps for high-speed airport link extension

                        The State Railway of Thailand (SRT) is preparing to submit its fiscal 2023 budget proposal for a feasibility study of the second-phase extension of the high-speed rail project linking three major airports.

                        The present rail project will connect Don Mueang and Suvarnabhumi airports in Bangkok with U-Tapao airport in Rayong which will include a Rayong-Chanthaburi-Trat link, stretching 190 kilometres.

                        The SRT will ask for 100 million baht to hire consultants and conduct a feasibility study for a Public-Private Partnership (PPP) investment as well as the required Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA).

                        The process will take about 12 months, and the SRT will submit the results of the feasibility study to the committee's board in 2024, with bidding eventually pencilled in for 2026 after a round of government approvals.

                        "The extension to Trat requires further assessment so we want to make a start on the U-Tapao-Rayong stretch as it will promote logistics and tourism in the province," said a source on the committee, who added that the 30-km line would require a budget of around 14 billion baht.

                        At present, the high-speed rail linking the three major airports is being constructed by a Charoen Pokphand Group (CP)-led consortium.

                        The line, which is expected to be completed in the next four years, is one of the key infrastructure projects of the flagship Eastern Economic Corridor, which aims to transform Thailand into a high-tech economy.

                        Keep your friends close and your enemies closer


                        • Skytrain concession extension put on hold following Bhumjaithai’s no-show

                          The cabinet has put on hold the Interior Ministry’s proposed 30-year extension of the concession contract of the BTS Skytrain Green Line system, between the Bangkok Metropolitan Administration (BMA), the project’s owner, and BTS Group Holdings, the operator of the Skytrain, Deputy Government Spokesperson Rachada Dhnadirek said today (Wednesday).

                          The decision, the fourth time a cabinet deliberation has been delayed, came after seven ministers of the Bhumjaithai party, including party leader, Public Health Minister Anutin Charnvirakul and Transport Minister Saksayam Chidchob, did not attend the cabinet meeting yesterday claiming that it was “inconvenient” for them to discuss the issue.

                          Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha said today that he does not think there is a conflict with the Bhumjaithai party, saying that every minister has his or her view and that he is ready to listen to all their opinions.

                          He insisted that the government will make a decision on this issue based primarily on the public interest and that the decision must not lead to additional public borrowing.

                          “This is what the government must do,” he said, adding that the final decision rests with the cabinet.

                          Saksayam said the Transport Ministry has already submitted its objection, to the Interior Ministry’s proposal, to the secretary-general of the Cabinet, along with some additional observations.

                          He also pointed out that the Bhumjaithai party is against the capping of the maximum train fare at 65 baht for the entire route which, he said, is unfair to the commuters and can be reduced.

                          The MRT is under the supervision of the Transport Ministry while the BMA is under the Interior Ministry.

                          Keep your friends close and your enemies closer


                          • Political standoff over Green Line

                            All eyes are on the Bhumjaithai Party's next move against a 30-year extension of the Green Line railway concession with the maximum fare set at 65 baht.

                            The matter was withdrawn from last week's cabinet meeting agenda with the absence of ministers from the coalition Bhumjaithai Party -- including its leader, Deputy Prime Minister and Public Health Minister Anutin Charnvirakul, and Transport Minister and party secretary-general Saksayam Chidchob -- thought to be a factor.

                            The Interior Ministry has proposed that the agreement be extended from 2029 to 2059 with the stipulation that the maximum fare goes no higher than 65 baht.

                            Observers have claimed the Interior Ministry did not comply with regulations and principles of good governance. If the matter is approved, it may affect laws in the future, they have said.

                            Mr Anutin and Mr Saksayam had earlier opposed the extension and this was the seventh time the matter had been tabled then withdrawn prior to a cabinet meeting, according to a source.

                            Moreover, the absence of ministers from the Bhumjaithai Party has shaken the stability of Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha's government given disunity within the ruling party amid growing political pressure.

                            The party brought up the reason Mr Saksayam was against the 30-year Green Line railway concession which was that he thinks the government would be disadvantaged by it.

                            The matter began during the tenure of former Bangkok governor MR Sukhumbhand Paribatra in 2012.

                            At that time, he chaired a signing ceremony for a contract to operate railway line extensions from On Nut-Bearing and Wong Wian Yai-Bang Wa sections from 2012-2042, in addition to Mo Chit-On Nut and National Stadium-Saphan Taksin sections from 2029-2042.

                            A study by the Bangkok Metropolitan Administration (BMA) said that since Bangkok Mass Transit System Plc (BTSC) has certain capital advantages, such as having its own maintenance centre, other firms may not be able to offer competing bids when the BTSC reaches the end of its term in 2029.

                            Despite MR Sukhumbhand's reiteration that BMA only hired the BTSC for a long-term operation which was not the extension of the concession, the matter had sparked criticism against him over violations of the Bid Rigging Act and Public-Private Partnership Act, prompting queries from opposition parties since.

                            On April 11, 2019, Gen Prayut invoked sweeping powers under Section 44 of the interim charter in a bid to resolve the issue by forming a panel to negotiate with the BTSC.

                            The negotiations led to the conclusion that a 30-year concession will be offered to the BTSC to operate Green Line extensions, as well as Bearing-Samut Prakan and Mo Chit-Saphan Mai-Khu Khot transferrals from the MRTA.

                            In exchange, the BTSC would have to shoulder the BMA's debt of almost 100 billion baht. Additionally, the maximum fare must also be capped at 65 baht.

                            Now, it has to be closely observed whether the matter will end on Feb 22.

                            A source said the issue may stem from the benefits of the MRT Orange Line project. This belonged to the MRTA, which had opened bidding for the western extension from Bang Khun Non-Thailand Cultural Centre section.

                            The BTSC, one of several potential bidders, filed a lawsuit against the MRTA including a decision to revise the terms of reference when bidding for the Orange Line's western extension.

                            The changes came despite the MRTA having already sold bid envelopes to several potential bidders.

                            The bid was later cancelled after the BTSC protested.

                            Keep your friends close and your enemies closer


                            • New Ratchaburi rail bridge to be ready in September

                              The construction of Thailand's first 421-kilometre extradosed railway bridge, which would be a new landmark in Ratchaburi province, is expected to be completed in September this year, the State Railway of Thailand (SRT) said.

                              An extradosed bridge employs a structure that combines the main elements of both a prestressed box girder bridge and a cable-stayed bridge.

                              The bridge, estimated to cost 33.9 billion baht, will be a part of the double-track railway southern line project between Nakhon Pathom and Chumphon provinces, parallel to the Chulalongkorn railway bridge crossing the Mae Klong River.

                              The bridge will be 160 metres long, and the height from the rail to the apex of the pillar will be 16 metres.

                              Meanwhile, the SRT has approved two names for the new bridge – Burachat and Chulalongkorn 2.

                              The SRT said the names will be proposed to the Transport Ministry and the Cabinet for consideration within March this year.
                              Keep your friends close and your enemies closer


                              • Monorail projects face further delays due to Covid

                                The first two monorail transit projects, known as Pink and Yellow lines, will be further delayed until next year due to the Covid-19 pandemic, their operator said on Thursday.

                                Bangkok Mass Transit System (BTSC) will request the Mass Rapid Transit Authority of Thailand to extend the deadline for construction of the Yellow Line and Pink Line for another 677 days, BTSC chief executive Surapong Laoha-unya said.

                                Both projects were originally scheduled to start partial operation around the middle of this year.

                                However, the persistent Covid-19 situation has prevented imports of certain necessary construction materials from overseas, according to the CEO of BTSC.

                                “The company will expedite the construction so that the project can be operational within this year, or no later than 2023, to help reduce the interest cost burden,” he said.

                                The 34.5-kilometre Pink Line runs from Khae Rai area in Nonthaburi province to Min Buri district in Bangkok.

                                The Yellow Line is 30.4 kilometres long and runs from Lat Phrao district in Bangkok to Samrong district in Samut Prakan province.

                                As of January, the Pink Line project was 85 per cent complete, while the Yellow Line construction was 90 per cent ready.

                                Keep your friends close and your enemies closer


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