State Railway of Thailand banks on new dual track lifting passenger numbers
The 187 kilometre dual track between Jira Junction in Muang district of Nakhon Ratchasima and Khon Kaen city was opened on Wednesday
13 March 2019
The State Railway of Thailand (SRT) is banking on the opening of new parallel tracks between Nakhon Ratchasima and Khon Kaen attracting more passengers and lifting revenue.
The 187 kilometre dual track between Jira Junction in Muang district of Nakhon Ratchasima and Khon Kaen city was opened on Wednesday.
It was marked by the opening of the new Khon Kaen station, the first elevated railway station in the northeastern region, celebrating the completion of construction of the dual track on this sector. Work started in 2016, with total investment of 23 billion baht.
It slashes travelling time between the two cities by more than half – from three hours to one hour and 20 minutes. It ends delays caused by trains having to wait at stations for another one travelling in the opposition direction to pass on the single track.
Freight trains running on this sector of the northeastern line will also benefit, with travel time shortened from six hours to two hours and 30 minutes.
“The opening of the dual track service from Jira Junction to Khon Kaen will serve 10 million passengers a year, up from two million at present,” SRT deputy governor Worawut Mala predicted at the opening ceremony.
Jira Junction is about three kilometres from Nakhon Ratchasima station. It is where the northeastern line splits to Nong Khai via Khon Kaen, with the other line continuing on to Surin and Ubon Ratchathani.
Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha presides over the new Khon Kaen railway station on Wednesday.
The Jira-Khon Kaen dual track is part of the planned extension of the state railway covering 900 kilometres in the northeastern region.The next phase will be from Khon Kaen to Nong Khai.
Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha presided over the ceremony to open the new station and tested the new tracks, travelling on a special train for a short ride of 13km from Khon Kaen to Tha Phra station in Muang district.
Residents thronged the City Pillar pavillion in Muang district, waiting for the prime minister, who paid respect to the pillar and went out to meet them before going on to the station. Another group greeted him there.