The Transport Ministry, through the State Railway of Thailand (SRT), is determined to run the main section of the Red Line electric rail service, from Bang Sue to Rangsit, by itself, instead of inviting private partnership.
Deputy Transport Minister Omsin Chivapruck said that although the State Enterprise Policy Commission had deemed that a public-private partnership (PPP) should run the Red Line, the Transport Ministry would insist that the SRT operate the line by itself.
He said the state enterprise had fully funded the construction with investment funding and borrowing, and a PPP would also delay the project.
A PPP was acceptable on three extended routes of the Red Line – to Ayutthaya, Nakhon Pathom and Chachoengsao provinces – to be built afterwards, the deputy minister said.
SRT governor Wuthichart Kalyanamitra said the rail authority would set up a subsidiary to run the main Red Line section from Bang Sue to Rangsit. If its operation proved unprofitable in the first five years, the SRT would pave the way for private participation, he said.
The 26.3-kilometre-long main Red Line section starts from the current Bang Sue station, which will be the new national railway hub. The line runs alongside the north-bound regular train line and ends at Rangsit station in Pathum Thani province. About 19.2 km of the track will be elevated, with the rest at ground level.
Construction of the Red Line route is split into three contracts. The first was awarded to SU Joint Venture to construct the train station buildings and the train maintenance facility, at a total cost of 29.8 billion baht.
The second contract was awarded to Italian-Thai Development Plc to lay rail tracks from Bang Sue to Rangsit, at a cost of 21.2billion baht.
The third contract, to install the electrical and mechanical systems and to procure electric trains, is still to be awarded, pending the calling of tenders.
The Transport Ministry has yet to seek cabinet approval to invest 32.34 billion baht in the third contract. The Red Line opening is scheduled for 2019.