BANGKOK Metro Co Ltd, which holds the concession to equip and operate the Thai capital’s underground metro line, confirmed on May 3 that it had put together a 30bn baht funding package for authorisation by the government’s Metropolitan Rapid Transit Authority.

BMCL Managing Director Sombat Kitjalaksana says a foreign banking consortium led by Japan Bank for International Co-operation and HSBC will provide US$350m, which will fund the purchase of rolling stock from a consortium of Mitsubishi and Alstom. Thai bankers will contribute 13bn baht.

Under the 25-year concession to operate the 20 km Blue line linking Hualampong and Bang Sue, BMCL is due to inaugurate services on half of the route by the end of next year, and complete the route by mid-2003. Interchange will be provided with the Skytrain network at Dusit Thani, Sukhumvit and Mo Chit.

According to MRTA Governor Prapat Chongsa-nguan, tunnelling is 83% complete on the southern section and 74% on the northern contract, with depot construction 89% complete and tracklaying around 44%. MRTA is already planning an extension from Hualampong to Bang Wa and Bang Khae.