THAILAND: The first section of Bangkok’s Gold Line peoplemover opened for revenue service on December 16, with Prime Minister Prayuth Cha-o-cha presiding over the launch ceremony.

The rubber-tyred peoplemover is the first automated urban rail route in Bangkok, running over an initial 1∙7 km corridor with three stations. It links the BTS Green (Silom) Line Skytrain station at Krung Thon Buri with the Iconsiam shopping mall on the Thonburi side of the Chao Phraya River and Khlong San, close to a large hospital. A further 1 km extension serving residential developments at Phra Pok Klao is expected to open in the coming months.

The line has been built at a cost of 3∙8bn baht; funding has been provided by Siam Piwat Corp, owner of the Iconsiam shopping centre, which was granted rights to advertising revenue along the route under a 30-year concession.

Bombardier Transportation supplied the vehicles, lineside systems and its Cityflo 650 automated control system. Design and delivery was managed from its engineering centre in Bangkok, with the vehicles manufactured in China by the CRRC Puzhen Bombardier Transportation Systems joint venture.

ST Engineering supplied the automatic fare collection system, and Teltronic the TETRA radio communications. AMR Asia is system integrator. Civil works were undertaken by Italthai Engineering.

A series of planned extensions could see the route reach 6∙4 km, enabling it to serve Asiatique The Riverfront, a popular tourist attraction.