The transport minister has ordered SRT Electric Train Co to go ahead with the purchase of new trains for its Airport Rail Link even though only one company bid on the contract.
Transport Minister Arkhom Termpittayapaisith said Monday the train procurement from the China Railway Construction Corporation consortium should proceed because it was necessary for the commuter line between central Bangkok and Suvarnabhumi airport.
“All questions about the procurement can be answered. If the cabinet inquires, I will be ready to explain,” Mr Arkhom said. “So, the project can go ahead. There is not a reason to wait. The immediate mission now is to quickly acquire more trains for the service.”
Airport Rail Link carries about 60,000 passengers a day.
SRTET, a subsidiary of the State Railway of Thailand, operates nine Siemens trains from Germany for its 28-kilometre airport link. Seven trains remain operational, but will have to be overhauled in the near future.
He dismissed criticism that the 4.4 billion baht price tag for the 28 new carriages — which will form seven trains — was relatively expensive. The specifications of the trains justified their price, the transport minister argued.
Although the CRCC consortium was the bidder for the contract, Mr Arkhom said that was not a reason for SRTET to scrap the tender as the conditions of the deal benefitted the company.
Deputy Transport Minister Ormsin Chivapruck said the new trains were essential because more commuters are using ARL. Meanwhile, acting SRTET president Daran Yutthawongsuk said the company hoped to find a contractor to overhaul the Siemens trains this year.
Money-losing SRTET annual expenses stood at about 800 million baht. Its revenue amounted to about 600 million baht yearly, but the figure was rising by 10% annually, Gen Daran said.