SRT declares war on budget airlines

The State Railway of Thailand wants to win back customers from low-cost airlines with better trains. (Bangkok Post photo)
The State Railway of Thailand wants to win back customers from low-cost airlines with better trains. (Bangkok Post photo)

The State Railway of Thailand (SRT) wants to win back customers from low-cost airlines with electric, air-conditioned trains, the state enterprise said on Wednesday.

With the public becoming increasingly attracted to budget airlines which offer low-price tickets and shorter travel times, the SRT is going on the offensive with a proposal to revamp train services to compete better, acting SRT governor Worawut Mala said.

A new fleet of modern-looking air-conditioned trains with more comfortable seats will replace ageing diesel-powered trains in taking passengers to popular tourist provinces.

The SRT will develop an electric system to support the new trains within a 300km-radius of Bangkok.

The first three routes are from the capital to Nakhon Sawan (northern line), Nakhon Ratchasima (northeastern line) and Prachuap Khiri Khan's Hua Hin district (southern line).

There will be a second phase project which will extend the electric train services beyond the 300-km radius destinations, Mr Worawut said.

They include three rail sections -- Nakhon Sawan-Phitsanulok, Nakhon Ratchasima-Khon Kaen and Hua Hin-Surat Thani. He did not say when the new services would be introduced.

However, he said the Red Line electric train currently under construction will link Bang Sue with Thammasat University's Rangsit campus which passengers could use to catch the new trains to the provinces.

Meanwhile, Pattaya will spend more than 70 million baht hiring experts to design a tram system.

The aim is for it to serve as a light railway linking the resort city to the high-speed railway project connecting Don Mueang, Suvarnabhumi and U-Tapao airports, deputy Pattaya major Ronnakit Ekkasing said.

The line will have nine stations, including Pattaya, but a feeder is needed for people travelling to downtown areas.

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Vocabulary

  • diesel (n): a heavy oil used as fuel in engines -
  • feeder (adj): of a minor road, canal, railway line, or air service that leads to a major one -
  • fleet: a group of vehicles, planes, boats, or trains, especially when they are owned by one organisation or person - กลุ่มรถแท๊กซี่, รถโดยสาร, หรือเครื่องบินที่อยู่ในบริษัทเดียวกัน
  • offensive: a series of actions aimed at achieving something in a way that attracts a lot of attention - การรุกราน,การบุกรุก
  • phase: a particular period of time during the development of something - ตอน, ขั้นตอน, ช่วง, ระยะ
  • province: one of many divisions of the government of a country into smaller parts - จังหวัด
  • radius: a particular distance in all directions from a central point - รัศมี
  • revamp: to make a major change or revision to something - ปรับปรุงใหม่
  • tram: a long narrow vehicle that travels along metal tracks in the middle of a street and is used as public transport in some places - รถราง

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