The ball-bearings on the wheels of all Bangkok’s Yellow Line trains will be replaced

Construction News
BTS Group Holdings chairman Keeree Kanjanapas (centre) discusses safety measures for the Yellow Line rail system at its main workshop in Prawet district of Bangkok on Thursday. (Photo: Eastern Bangkok Monorail Co)

The ball-bearings on the wheels of all Bangkok’s Yellow Line trains will be replaced

Operator responds to safety concerns after wheel fell from monorail train

The ball-bearings on the wheels of all Yellow Line trains will be replaced to ensure public safety, the chairman of the monorail operator said on Thursday.

Alstom Thailand, the manufacturer of the wheels used on the Yellow Line trains, will replace all the ball bearings with products from new lots, said Keeree Kanjanapas, director of Eastern Bangkok Monorail Co Ltd.

Alstom staff so far have checked about 600 of the 1,080 wheels on the 30 Yellow Line trains, Mr Keeree said while inspecting train maintenance at the system’s depot.

As well, he said, maintenance would be scheduled more often to guarantee safety.

The pledge followed an incident on Tuesday evening when a guide wheel from a Yellow Line train fell from its elevated track on Thepharak Road in Samut Prakan. The bouncing wheel hit a taxi. No one was injured.

The monorail operator blamed the incident on a defective ball bearing in the wheel. On Thursday Mr Keeree apologised for the incident.

Meanwhile, the Thailand Consumer Council (TCC) has called for a complete inspection of the Yellow and Pink Lines, the country’s first two monorail systems serving outer areas of Bangkok and adjacent provinces.

In light of two recent mishaps, questions have been raised about whether errors occurred during systems installation on the two lines, it said.

On Dec 24, a section of conductor rail on the Pink Line broke free from its beam and fell onto a street, damaging several cars parked along Tiwanon Road in Nonthaburi. The incident prompted the suspension of services on the line.

Both incidents have raised safety concerns, the TCC said in a statement published on its website.

Assoc Prof Chalie Charoenlarpnopparut, an engineer and member of a TCC sub-committee on transport and vehicles, said the incidents appear to have been the first of their kind on a monorail system anywhere in the world.

The Pink Line operator is Northern Bangkok Monorail Co. The company and Eastern Bangkok Monorail are subsidiaries of BSR JV Consortium, a joint venture between three giant SET-listed companies: BTS Group Holdings, with a 75% shareholding; Sino-Thai Engineering and Construction, and Ratch Group, a major power producer.

Mr Keeree is also a director of the Pink Line operator and chairman of BTS Group Holdings, the operator of the BTS Skytrain, the capital’s first and most heavily used mass-transit rail line.