THAILAND: An extension of the Bangkok metro Blue Line started trial operation on July 29. Services are free, and revenue operations are scheduled to commence on September 29.

The 5·4 km partly underground southwestern extension from Hua Lamphong to Tha Phra adds five stations to the metro line. During the trial period, trains will run every 8 min from 10.00 to 16.00.

Two other Blue Line extensions are under construction. A southwestern branch from Tha Phra to Lak Song is due to open this year, adding 10·5 km and seven stations. This is to be followed next year by an 11 km extension from Tao Poon to Tha Phra with eight stations. When this section opens, part of the Blue Line will form a loop.

Mass Rapid Transit Authority expects ridership on the Blue Line to rise to 800 000 passengers a day once all the extensions are open, compared with 350 000 passengers currently.