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Four cities to start building light rails

A computer depiction of the Khon Kaen smart city development and light rail transit project. (Khon Kaen City Development (KKTT) Co., LTD)

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Light rail projects in four key cities – Phuket, Chiang Mai, Khon Kaen and Nakhon Ratchasima – worth a combined 161 billion baht are scheduled to start construction next year.

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Four cities to start building light rails

Chatrudee Theparat

Light rail projects in four key cities – Phuket, Chiang Mai, Khon Kaen and Nakhon Ratchasima – worth a combined 161 billion baht are scheduled to start construction next year.

According to Transport Minister Arkhom Termpitayapaisith, the projects are part of the Transport Ministry's big-ticket transport infrastructure plan in 2018. A public-private partnership (PPP) programme will be applied for the investment in the four projects.

"The government is hopeful that construction of those four projects could commence next year in a bid to reduce traffic congestion in those cities," he said.

Mr Arkhom said a feasibility study of Phuket's light rail project has been already completed.

The study showed that the 60km light rail will require an estimated investment cost of 24 billion baht, covering 23 stations. The rail route will link Tha Nun in Phangnga province to Phuket airport and Phuket airport to the inner city.

Mr Chaiwat says the light rail projects will ease congestion in the four cities.

Chaiwat Tongkamkoon, director-general of the Office of Transport and Traffic Policy and Planning (OTP) said Phuket's light rail design has been completed, with the design plan due to be proposed to the Transport Ministry this month.

The Mass Rapid Transit Authority will later propose that the Phuket light rail project be included into the government's PPP fast-track scheme, as ordered by Deputy Prime Minister Somkid Jatusripitak.

Mr Chaiwat said Chiang Mai University has also completed the study on the Chiang Mai light rail development land and proposed two options: 35km of A route or 40.57km of B route.

The A route covers three lines: 12km Red Line, 11km Green Line and 12km Blue Line. The route will be made both on land and underground with a total investment of 107 billion baht.

The B route, meanwhile, covers 15.65km Red Line, 11.11km Green Line, and 13.81km Blue Line. The project will be built on land, with an investment cost of 28.9 billion baht.

The agency is scheduled to propose the development project for Transport Ministry approval this month before submitting it to the Commission for Management of Land Traffic's meeting chaired by Mr Somkid.

According to Mr Chaiwat, the Khon Kaen light rail project is at the stage of conducting an environmental impact assessment.

The rail network will have 18 stops, spanning 22.6km. The current plan aims to make island platforms for the trains on Mittraphap Road, running from the Tha Phra locality to the Samran locality in Khon Kaen's Muang district.

The project is estimated to be valued at 15 billion baht, and the public and private sectors in the province are committed to jointly investing in the project.

He expects the development of the light rail in Khon Kaen will be a model for infrastructure development in other cities in the future.

Meanwhile, Mr Chaiwat said the OTP has already completed a design for Nakhon Ratchasima's light rail project worth an estimated 15 billion baht. The agency plans to propose the design for the Transport Ministry's approval later this year.

He said that apart from the light rail projects in those four provinces, the OTP is also conducting feasibility studies for similar rail projects in Phitsanulok and Udon Thani.

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Vocabulary:

aim : to have as your purpose or goal - มีเป้าหมาย มีจุดมุ่งหมาย

apply : to make use of something - นำมาใช้

approval : official permission - การอนุมัต

bid : an attempt to do something - ความพยายาม 

big-ticket (adj): very expensive - แพงมาก

combined : counted together - รวมกัน

commence : to start; to begin - เริ่มต้น, ตั้งต้น

committed (verb): to have promised that you will definitely do something, keep to an agreement or arrangement, etc - ให้คำมั่น

conduct : to do something in an organised way; to carry out — - ลงมือทำ, ดำเนิน, ปฏิบัติ

congestion : a situation in which a place is crowded with people or vehicles - แน่นขนัดไปด้วยรถหรือคน

construction : the work of building or making something, especially buildings, bridges, etc. - การก่อสร้าง

current : of the present time - ปัจจุบัน

deputy : a person whose rank is immediately below that of the leader of an organisation - รอง

development : the gradual growth of something so that it becomes more advanced, stronger, etc - การพัฒนา

director-general : the head of a large organisation, especially a public organisation - อธิบดี

due to : scheduled to - มีกำหนด

environmental impact assessment : an evaluation/research project into the possible positive or negative effects that a proposed project may have on the environment - การประเมินผลกระทบสิ่งแวดล้อม

estimated : thought to be a particular amount, size, etc. based on a guess or the best information available - ประมาณการ

fast-track (verb): to do something quickly, especially faster than would normally be done -

feasibility study (noun): when experts study in detail what is possible to achieve in a project or whether the project is possible - การศึกษาความเป็นไป

hopeful : someone who wants to succeed or who seems likely to win - ผู้ที่ต้องการประสบความสำเร็จ

infrastructure : a set of systems within a place or organisation that affect how well it operates, e.g., the telephone and transport systems in a country or the system of train tracks that a railway uses - สาธารณูปโภค

investment (noun): the act of investing money in something - การลงทุน

jointly : done together - อย่างร่วมกัน, พร้อมกัน, ด้วยกัน

key : very important - ที่สำคัญ

light rail : the electrical train systems that move people around a city -

link : to connect - เชื่อม

locality : a particular area or district - สถานที่, ถิ่นที่อยู่

Mass Rapid Transit Authority (MRTA) : the government agency operating the MRT Chaloem Ratchamongkhon underground line with connections to the BTS - การรถไฟฟ้าขนส่งมวลชนแห่งประเทศไทย

meanwhile : at the same time - ในเวลาเดียวกัน

network : a large system of connected parts, organisations, people, etc. - เครือข่าย

option : choice - ทางเลือก

partnership (noun): when a company owns and runs a business and shares profits, etc or with another company - หุ้นส่วน, ความร่วมมือ, ห้างหุ้นส่วน, ห้างหุ้นส่วนจำกัด

platform : an area next to a railway track, bus station, etc. where passengers get onto and off trains, buses, etc. - ชานชาลา

policy (noun): a set of plans or action agreed on by a government, political party, business, or other group - นโยบาย

private : involving groups, businesses or industries that are not owned or controlled by the government - เอกชน

private sector : businesses and industries that are not owned or controlled by the government - ภาคเอกชน

projects (noun): planned pieces of work that are designed to find information about something, to produce something new, or to improve something - โครงการ

propose : to suggest an idea for a group to consider - เสนอ

public : provided, especially by the government, for the use of people in general - ของสาธารณะ

reduce : to make something smaller or less in amount, size, importance etc - ลดลง

route : the way that planes, buses, trains, or ships travel regularly - เส้นทางของรถ เรือ เครื่องบิน,etc.

scheduled : planned to happen at a particular time or day - ตามตารางเวลา

scheme : a plan that is developed by a government or large organisation in order to provide a particular service for people - แผนการ โครงการ

similar : like somebody/something but not exactly the same - คล้ายกัน

span : to include the whole of an area; to stretch - ขยายออก, ยืดออก

stage : a part of an activity or process or a period of development - ช่วง, ระยะ, ตอน

submit : to formally give something to someone so that can make a decision about it - ยื่น (เอกสาร) เพื่อการพิจารณา

Transport Minister (noun): The government minister who heads the Ministry of Transport - รัฐมนตรีว่าการกระทรวงคมนาคม

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