Bangkok’s Airport Rail Link connecting Suvarnabhumi Airport with downtown Bangkok due for big overhaul to ensure passenger safety

Construction News

Bangkok’s Airport Rail Link connecting Suvarnabhumi Airport with downtown Bangkok due for big overhaul to ensure passenger safety

After 14 years in operation, Bangkok’s Airport Rail Link that connects Suvarnabhumi Airport with downtown Bangkok, will soon undergo a major maintenance, the Department of Rail Transport has announced.

Skipping this important step could jeopardise the safety of commuters, the department’s director-general Pichet Kunadhamraks said on Thursday (March 21)

He said that following a recent inspection, the current operator Asia Era One hired experienced companies, including Siemens Mobility, to monitor and maintain the rail’s electrical and signaling systems on a daily, weekly, and monthly basis. All trains are inspected by officials before running every day, he added.

Asia Era One is a subsidiary of Charoen Pokphand (CP) Group, Thailand’s largest conglomerate. Operating the Airport Rail Link is part of the deal to which CP agreed after winning the 276.5-billion-baht contract to build and operate high-speed rail lines linking the three airports of Don Mueang, Suvarnabhumi and U-Tapao.

Pichet added that the Airport Rail Link, which began operations in 2010, had undergone a major overhaul in 2018 after hitting the 2.4 million-kilometre mark while it was still under the administration of State Railway of Thailand (SRT).

“Another major overhaul is due soon as the route has expanded to cover a greater distance since 2018,” he said. “Without this overhaul, the train system could experience more frequent malfunctions that affect passenger safety or cause more delays in schedules.”

The system could also suffer from having insufficient functioning trains to serve the increasing number of passengers in the future, he added.

Airport Rail Link due for big overhaul to ensure passenger safety

In 2021, CP Group announced that it had earmarked 2 billion baht to improve Airport Rail Link’s services and various systems, including braking, electricity, air conditioning, lighting and radio communication.

It also vowed to add one more carriage to the express line, which has 3 carriages per train, to increase passenger capacity to 800 per day.

Last year, Asia Era One president Sarit Jinnasith said the company would invest another 1.4 billion baht to improve the rail system, add more passenger seats, and hire expert companies from overseas to help monitor the operation as well as troubleshoot any technical difficulties.

He added that several improvements have been made to the Airport Rail Link system over the years under Asia Era One’s administration, including customer services, parking space for passengers and public buses, restrooms for passengers, and signs in the stations.