FORMAL proposals for a package of new metro lines and extensions in Bangkok totalling 94 km were submitted to the Thai government by the Mass Rapid Transit Authority on May 12.

In January MRTA was authorised to begin design for two new lines and two extensions, which are expected to be completed by 2012 at a total cost of 269bn baht. According to MRTA Governor Prapat Chongsanguan, the application will lead to the royal decree needed to expropriate the necessary land. He says the government is expected to fund 30% of the project cost, with the rest coming from commercial loans.

The 43 km Purple Line is to be built in two stages. The Bang Yai - Bang Sue section will be completed by 2009 at a cost of 47bn baht. The Bang Sue - Rat Burana section costing 65bn will follow in 2012.

A 14 km western extension at the southern end of the Blue Line from Hualampong to Bang Khae is to be built in 2006-12 at a cost of 75bn baht. A 13 km northern extension from Bang Sue to Tha Phra would be completed in 2010 for 25bn. Prapat also expects the 24 km Orange Line from Bang Kapi to Bang Bamru to be built by 2012 at an estimated cost of 82bn baht.

A fleet of around 1000 cars will be needed, and Prapat is hoping to select a single supplier who would have the volume to set up a local assembly plant which could also provide ongoing maintenance support and spares. Bidding for an initial batch of vehicles to work the Bang Sue - Bang Yai line is expected to start shortly.

MRTA is looking to integrate the ownership and management of the various metro lines. Prapat expects to take up a 25% stake in Blue Line operator Bangkok Metro Co Ltd as provided for in the concession agreement, but hopes to lift the stake to 49% and acquire management control. BMCL is currently planning an initial public offering of three billion 1-baht shares, lifting its registered capital to 11bn baht and raising finance for five new trains and new ticket vending machines.

  • Bangkok Governor Aprirak Kosayodhin said at the end of April that he hoped to see a 2·2 km extension of the elevated Skytrain metro’s Silorn line from Taksim across the Choa Phraya river to Thon Buri completed within a year. Civil works are underway, and Bangkok Metropolitan Administration has selected Sino-Thai Engineering for tracklaying. Skytrain operator Bangkok Mass Transit System has agreed a debt repayment moratorium with its creditors so that it can divert revenue to fund signalling and rolling stock for the extension.