Bangkok Red Line opening smoke (Photo SRT)

THAILAND: State Railway of Thailand held a soft launch for Bangkok’s Red Line elevated metre-gauge suburban rail corridor on August 2, offering three months of free travel before the start of full commercial services in November.

Services on the Red Line were inaugurated by Prime Minister General Prayuth Chan-o-cha in a virtual ceremony, with Minister of Transport Saksayam Chidchob and SRT Governor Nirut Maneephan meeting the first passengers at Bang Sue Grand Station, which is being developed as the capital’s main transport hub.

Bangkok Red Line opening (Photo SRT)

The Dark Red Line runs 21·6 km north from Bang Sue to Don Mueang International Airport and Rangsit, serving 10 stations. A planned three-station extension to serve a university campus would take the route to 26 km.

The 14·6 km Light Red Line also starts from Bang Sue, and runs west to Taling Chan with three stations. This line was built first and opened for trial operations in 2012, but services were suspended in 2014.

Following the soft launch, trial services will run from 06.00 to 20.00 every day, with trains every 15 min during the peaks and every 30 min off-peak. The trains are initially being limited to half capacity in order to meet social distancing requirements during the coronavirus pandemic.

Both routes are electrified at 25 kV 50 Hz. Hitachi has supplied 15 six-car EMUs to operate the Dark Red Line and 10 four-car units for the Light Red Line under a 32·4bn baht E&M contract awarded in 2016 to a consortium including Mitsubishi Heavy Industries and Sumitomo. The order was facilitated by financing from Japan International Co-operation Agency.

  • Bang Sue Grand Station and related transport developments in Bangkok were described in detail in the June 2021 issue of Railway Gazette International magazine, which subscribers can access online.