Chadchart delays train service
NONG KHAI - The Nong Khai-bound train was supposed to arrive on time at 9.45am on Friday but it was 20 minutes late because it had to wait for one passenger - Transport Minister Chadchart Suttipunt - to get back on board at the next to last station.
- Published: 4/10/2013 at 05:02 PM
- Newspaper section: news
Transport Minister Chadchart Suttipunt takes a third-class ride on the rapid train to Nong Khai which was delayed for 20 minutes. (Photo by Thiti Wannamontha)
Mr Chadchart continued his on-the-job inspection of trains by buying a third class ticket on rapid train No. 133 leaving Hua Lamphong at 8.45pm on Thursday to attend a government roadshow to promote infrastructure megaprojects in the northeastern province with State Railway of Thailand governor Prapas Chongsanguan as one of his travelling partners.
The minister hopped off the train at Udon Thani station for a detour to preside over an event at Si That district, hoping he could get back on the same train again at Na Tha station, about three kilometres from Nong Khai.
But his timing miscalculation caused the train to wait for him for 20 minutes at Na Tha before other passengers saw him leave a car to hop in the train before it moved on to Nong Khai.
Some passengers were told that the engine hauling the train had a problem and decided to get off to continue their journey by road to Nong Khai town, others decided to stay on.
"Are we waiting for this guy?'' one woman passenger complained to the press on the train when the train finally moved after the minister was back on board.
The trip was fine although it took 15 hours on the 615 kilometres journey, Mr Chadchart later told the forum at the government office complex in Nong Khai on Friday. That was understandable as the Nong Khai line is single track and the train ran at only 40 kilometres per hour, he added. The trip rated a 6 out of 10 from him, he added.
The minister promised the speed to be doubled once the country has double tracks and the trip would be even faster if the high-speed train is built.
Nong Khai is one of the planned destinations for a high-speed train, but only after the first phase from Bangkok to Nakhon Ratchasima is built.
The train projects were a highlight of the government-engineered roadshow in Nong Khai, the first one running until Sunday before moving on to Nakhon Ratchasima, Ubon Ratchathani, Khon Kaen, Nakhon Sawan, Ayutthaya and Chiang Mai in turn.
The event to garner public support for the 2-trillion-baht infrastructure bill also exhibits a model of a high-speed train carriage and information showing economic growth, better trade, better lives to come after the train.
"The high-speed train is not just the high-speed train. It opens up new opportunities for all provinces,'' he said. The project was not the brainchild of the government as it was mooted in 1994 when the Democrat Party ran the government and Chuan Leekpai was the prime minister, he said.
All provinces in all regions will benefit either from better, faster trains and from ports and roads to be expanded under the scheme, he ssaid.
Deputy Prime Minister and Finance Minister Kittiratt Na-Ranong gave an assurance of well-planned borrowing that will not pile up public debt. The government will not borrow all two trillion baht in one chunk, but will do it in phases to drive gross domestic product at least 1 trillion baht.
Most money to be borrowed under the infrastructure bill will be used for improving the rail system, including high-speed train lines to Chiang Mai and Padang Besar, in addition to Nong Khai. All lines will be built in steps, starting with the train to Phitsanulok for the northern line, and Hua Hin for the southern line.
About the author
- Writer: Manop Thip-Osod
- Position: Writer