Bangkok’s mass transit Orange Line’s western section approved

Construction News
Tunneling began last month at the site of Klong Ban Ma station on the Orange Line’s eastern section between the Thailand Cultural Centre and Min Buri. Approval of the Orange Line extension to Bang Khun Non in western Bangkok is probably the last major transport decision until after the election

Bangkok’s mass transit Orange Line’s western section approved

Nod to the Orange Line’s western section, stretching from Bang Khun Non to Min Buri

11 February 2019

The National Economic and Social Development Council (NESDC) has given the nod to the Orange Line’s western section, stretching from Bang Khun Non to Min Buri, as one of the last mass transit projects in Bangkok approved by this government.

According to an NESDC source who requested anonymity, the council on Feb 6 approved the Orange Line’s 235-billion-baht western section after the Public-Private Partnership (PPP) Committee agreed to the development under a fast-track joint investment scheme on Jan 21.

Investment in the western section will be in the form of the net cost PPP model, whereby the government will be responsible for land expropriation fees and the private sector will invest in the rail system and provide operations and maintenance.

The section’s operating contract will run for 30 years.

The new section will help commuters travelling from both Bangkok’s western and eastern districts to the capital’s centre after it connects with the eastern section, running from Thailand Cultural Centre to Min Buri.

The eastern Orange Line, scheduled for opening in 2023, is under construction.

According to the source, the Mass Rapid Transit Authority of Thailand, which handles the project’s development, is expected to complete the terms of reference early this year, with construction likely to kick off by late this year or early 2020. The project is scheduled to become operational in 2025.

The source said the Orange Line’s western section is likely to be the last mass transit project in Bangkok approved by this government before the general election set for March 24.

Last month the NESDC approved the Dark Red Line extension linking Rangsit with Thammasat University’s Rangsit campus and the Light Red Line connecting Taling Chan-Salaya and Taling Chan-Siriraj.

Thosaporn Sirisamphand, the NESDC’s secretary-general, said 70% of the 10 planned mass transit lines in Bangkok and its vicinity are under construction.

The agency reported recently that Thailand saw significant economic and social progress in the past five years, especially in infrastructure development.

The report showed that infrastructure development progressed with 2.45 trillion baht in investment during 2014-18, which is forecast to increase the country’s competitiveness.

This includes 1.27 trillion baht in rail development that expanded the amount of dual-track rail in the country to 2,453 kilometres, up from 251km, making a total of 5,738km of tracks that includes the first stage of the Thai-Sino high-speed rail.

Investment in three motorways accounted for 302 billion baht, including Pattaya-Map Ta Phut, Bang Pa-in-Nakhon Ratchasima and Bang Yai-Kanchanaburi.

The next development includes Nakhon Pathom-Cha-am, the third-phase expressway and Kathu-Patong in Phuket.

Investment for 10 mass transit projects in Bangkok and its vicinity accounted for 875 billion baht, with routes spanning 343km by 2025, covering 680 sq km in operating service and accessing 5.13 million passengers.

Other investments were in internet broadband, a submarine cable and satellites.

Mr Thosaporn said that once completed the 10 mass transit projects are sufficient to facilitate commuters in Bangkok and the vicinity, helping ease traffic congestion and reduce pollution.

He said the development of other mass transit projects in big cities such as Phuket, Khon Kaen, Hat Yai, Nakhon Ratchasima and Phitsanulok will be handled by the next government.

Deputy Prime Minister Somkid Jatusripitak, who chaired the meeting of the Land Traffic Management Commission last October, assigned responsible units to speed up construction of mass transit projects in Phuket, Chiang Mai, Nakhon Ratchasima and Khon Kaen.