ON MAY 22 the Thai cabinet authorised State Railway of Thailand to call tenders for construction for the 14·7 km Taling Chan to Bang Sue first phase of the planned Red Line in the suburbs of Bangkok.

Tenders will be called in the next few weeks, a contractor will be appointed by January 2008, and work is to begin in February for completion by August 2010. The Finance Ministry will issue bonds and guarantee Japan Bank for International Co-operation loans to SRT for the project, which is expected to cost 13bn baht.

The line will be electrified, and operated by SRT with the private sector only being responsible for construction. A second phase would extend the line from Bang Sue to Rangsit along an existing SRT corridor by August 2012, but this will be tendered separately as designs are still to be finalised and the funding has yet to be identified.