People in Greater Bangkok are being warned of “nightmare” traffic jams for the next three years as construction on at least seven railway lines gets into full swing.
Long-distance commuters can expect to spend four to six hours a day commuting until 2014, said Soithip Trisuddhi, director of the Transport Ministry’s Office of Transport and Traffic Policy and Planning.
Tenders for the electric train projects, preparation of construction sites and partial construction will start this year. Work on at least five new projects will begin late in the year, in addition to the two that have already begun.
“Railway crossings will become flyovers and people will have electric trains as their choice of travel, and the trains will cover much wider areas.
“But prior to that point, people in the capital may have to suffer severe hardship, so I apologise for that beforehand.”
Ms Soithip said construction of the Purple Line from Bang Sue to Bang Yai and the Red Line from Bang Sue to Taling Chan was under way. Construction of the Red Line from Bang Sue to Rangsit will start after August.
Construction of the Green Line from Soi Baring to Samut Prakan and from Mor Chit to Saphan Mai will begin late this year, and the Pink Line from Khae Rai to Pak Kret will be accelerated so construction can begin this year.
Next year may see the start of work on the Blue Line from Bang Sue to Tha Phra and Hua Lamphong and the Purple Line from Bang Sue via the new parliament house in Kiakkai to Wang Burapha.
Bang Sue railway station will be upgraded to become the hub for most of the electric train services, including the Airport Rail Link and commuter trains.
Ms Soithip said the Purple Line from Bang Sue to Bang Yai would be ready in 2014. The Red Line from Bang Sue to Taling Chan and from Bang Sue to Rangsit would open in 2015.
The Blue Line from Bang Sue to Tha Phra and from Hua Lamphong to Bang Khae would start operations in 2016. The Pink Line from Khae Rai to Nonthaburi would be accelerated so it could be completed in either 2014 or 2015.
Under its 10-year electric railway master plan, the planning office foresees greater
By that time, extended sections of existing electric railway projects would be completed.
They include the Red Line that would extend from Rangsit to Thammasat University’s Rangsit campus and from Bang Sue via Phaya Thai to Makkasan, the Green Line from Saphan Mai to Khu Khot, the Purple Line from Wang Burapha to Rat Burana, the Airport Rail Link from Phaya Thai via Bang Sue to Don Mueang, and the Orange Line from Taling Chan via the Thailand Cultural Centre to Min Buri.
For the Orange Line, the Din Daeng-Bang Kapi section would open in 2016, the Bang Kapi-Min Buri section in 2018 and the Taling Chan-Thailand Cultural Centre section in 2019.
By 2019, electric railway lines should cover a catchment area of 525 square kilometres and serve 3.8 million commuters a day.
The planning office expects all 12 electric railway projects for greater