In 2017 and 2018 work on several new metro line and extension projects will either be started or are currently underway in Bangkok. Services of these new lines and extensions will commence between 2017 and 2023. The additional network will be constructed underground as well as on elevated tracks.
First Stage of new Orange Line
This first eastern part of a two-stage construction of the new Orange Line metro route is another important measure to relieve the overcrowded commuter traffic system in Bangkok. Construction may start ahead of schedule to link the Thailand Cultural Center with Bangkok’s Min Buri district. Large construction companies have been selected for the state project. The contracts between the Mass Rapid Transit Authority of Thailand (MRTA) and the joint venture of CKST, Italian-Thai Development Plc and Unique Engineering and Construction were signed on 9 February; start of construction is scheduled for June 2017.
The construction of the 23 km first stage of the project comprises about 14 km of underground alignment with single-track twin tunnels and 9 km of elevated track. It has a budget of nearly 80 billion Thai baht (equivalent to about 2.15 billion euros).
The CKST joint venture of CH. Karnchang and Sino-Thai Engineering and Construction submitted the lowest tenders for the first and second contracts and was selected for construction of the subway section progressing east from the Thailand Cultural Center to Ram Khamhaeng Soi 12 and Hua Mak. CKST also was awarded the fifth contract to build maintenance depots and parking buildings.
Italian-Thai Development was selected for the third contract, comprising the underground section connecting Hua Mak with Khlong Ban Ma on Ram Khamhaeng Road.
Unique Engineering and Construction will complete the fourth contract for a section of the elevated track, linking Khlong Ban Ma to Suwinthawong Road in Min Buri. Unique Engineering will also complete the sixth contract to design and construct the tracks from Thailand Cultural Center to Suwinthawong.
Orange Line to be opened in 2023
Eventually the new Orange Line will total about 40 km with 31 km aligned underground, including 23 underground stations, and another 9 km with seven stations on elevated structures. The route will start underground at Taling Chan railway station, west of the city, pass under the Chao Phraya River near Somdet Phra Pin Klao Bridge and will connect to the depot of the Mass Rapid Transit Authority of Thailand (MRTA), which is located at the current MRTA Office Building. Further east it will pass beneath the Lam Sari intersection with the planned Yellow Line. The route transitions to the elevated section from the Khlong Ban Ma Station and terminates at the Suwinthawong Station.
According to the latest official plan, the overall cost of the Orange Line project is budgeted at 110.4 billion Thai baht (about 2.97 billion euros). Services on the new line are scheduled to start in early 2023.
Blue Line: Extension and Link with Purple Line
The first MRT line, the Blue Line, is operational since 2004 and runs 21 km from Bang Sue to Hua Lamphong with 18 stations. It has a capacity of 40 000 passengers per hour per direction. Extensions of the Blue Line are currently underway, in the west direction from Hua Lamphong to Tha Phra and to the south to Bang Khae. Final works on these extensions are expected to be finished in 2017. A future circular extension of the Blue Line is also being considered.
The 23 km long elevated Purple Line opened in August 2016 and is the first MRT line that operates mainly outside the urban Bangkok district. It links the Khlong Bang Phai Station in the Nonthaburi Province in the northern area to Tao Poon where an interchange is planned with the underground Blue Line. Early in December 2016, the MRTA submitted a controversial rail construction plan to the Ministry of Transport to link the MRT Blue Line Bang Sue Station with the Purple Line Tao Poon Station. According to the proposal, passengers on board the MRT network would easily interchange between the Blue and Purple Lines at the new interchange station. It is planned now that commuters will be able to use the link at the latest in June 2017.
Revised Green Line Extension
The MRTA has also revised the planned extension of the Green Line with four stations from Sapan Mai to Khu Khot. The project called for the removal of the Ratchayothin overpass and was initially planned to be completed by February 2017. The overpass will be replaced by an underpass which will be constructed within a two-year period and is expected to open in late 2018.
Dipl.-Ing. Roland Herr, Freelance Journalist and Author