The construction of the Red Line is underway near Pradiphat intersection south of the Bang Sue station in Bangkok on Tuesday. (Photo by Wichan Charoenkiartpakun)
The Red Line from Bangkok’s Bang Sue district to Pathum Thani’s Rangsit area could begin operation in 2018, the State Railway of Thailand said Tuesday.
Jaray Roongthanee, chief engineer for special projects, said SRT management still was trying to determine final prices for electric trains and the operating system for the 26-kilometre-long railway. If price negotiations conclude soon, the Red Line could be completed and start service in 2018, he said.
Price discussions are continuing with the MHSC Consortium, comprised of Mitsubishi Heavy Industries Ltd, Hitachi Co and Sumitomo Corp. The consortium bid 49 billion baht for the project, but the SRT is trying to lower the price to about 30 billion baht.
Meanwhile, construction of the Red Line system has already started. The Bang Sue passenger station and train depot are 18% complete while other work is 32% done, Mr Jaray said.
When the price of the train package is settled, the installation of the train-operating system can start without having to wait for 100% completion of the stations and track, he said.
He also said the SRT has modified the design of the Red Line to also accommodate long-haul, freight, commuter, airport, and standard-gauge trains.
The SRT received 8.14 billion baht from the government for the design improvement and the additional budget could also fund two additional stations: Wat Samian and Lak Hok. Both were earlier mentioned as future stations.
Other stations planned are Bang Sue, Chatuchak, Bang Khen, Thung Song Hong, Laksi, Karnkheha, Don Muang, and Rangsit.