Hopewell's pillars ousted by Red Line

The concrete pillars of the abandoned Hopewell mass transit project will be demolished for a new railway on the same route.

  • Published: 1/02/2013 at 12:12 AM
  • Newspaper section: topstories

End of the line: These concrete pillars and beams of the abandoned Hopewell mass transit project along northbound railway tracks in Bangkok will be dismantled soon to pave the way for the construction of the Red Line electric railway from Bang Sue to Rangsit of Pathum Thani. The picture was taken from a camera mounted on a remote-controlled helicopter. (Photo by Sithikorn Wongwudthianun)

The clearance of the pillars will cost about 200 million baht.

More than 500 concrete pillars of the Hopewell project have stood unused along the line for about 15 years.

Hopewell (Thailand) Co of Hong Kong's Hopewell Holding failed to complete the original project.

The State Railway of Thailand (SRT) Thursday signed a 21.2-billion-baht deal with Italian-Thai Development Plc (ITD) to build the Red Line electric rail section from Bang Sue to Rangsit.

It is the second of three contracts to build the Red Line railway.

Withawat Khunapongsiri, ITD's Red Line director, said 90% of the pillars would be demolished. The pillars slated for demolition were not strong enough to be used in the project or they would cause obstructions, he said.

The Red Line's 21km-long Bang Sue-Rangsit section is planned along Bangkok's northbound railway tracks, which is where the Hopewell project had also been planned.

More than 900 structures, including houses, garages, warehouses and shops, will be demolished over the next 30-45 days to make way for the route.

The Bang Sue-Rangsit link is expected be completed in three years.

The route's original design was to include six stations in Bang Khen, Thung Song Hong, Lak Si, Karn Kheha, Don Muang and Rangsit.

Transport Minister Chadchat Sittipunt, however, has ordered the SRT to develop two more stations at Wat Samian Nari and Lak Hok areas. He also wants more tracks to be added to support a future high-speed railway.

The route's first contract, worth 29.82 billion baht, included the construction of the Bang Sue main station, a depot and a station in the Chatuchak area.

The SRT signed that contract with the SU Joint Venture of Sino-Thai Engineering & Construction Plc and Unique Engineering and Construction Plc on Jan 18.

The third contract concerns the procurement of trains and their operating system, worth 26.27 billion baht. Four contenders are bidding for the deal, which SRT governor Prapat Chongsanguan promised to speed up.

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Writer: Amornrat Mahitthirook
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