An Express train pulls into the maintenance depot of SRT Electrified Train Co (SRTET), which runs the current Airport Rail Link. (Photo by Patipat Janthong)
Planned rail system linking Suvarnabhumi, Don Mueang & U-Tapao airports offers convenience to air travelers, but bottleneck in construction must be worked out first.
Military government set to build rail link between 3 airports
Almost six years ago, the Airport Rail Link introduced a fast route to Suvarnabhumi airport, offering speedy trains taking travellers right into the Suvarnabhumi airport terminal.
This year the government is set to offer even more convenience to air travellers by starting work on a new rail system with an ambitious plan to link together the Suvarnabhumi, Don Mueang and U-Tapao airports.
Previous governments had similar ideas to upgrade the Airport Rail Link to a "super-link" that included Don Mueang airport in Bangkok, Suvarnabhumi airport in Samut Prakan and the navy-owned U-Tapao airport in Rayong, but the plan failed to make progress until the current administration.
The findings of a study on the new rail link are expected in March this year.
FIRST SECTION: PHAYA THAI-DON MUEANG
The cabinet will be asked next month to approve construction of the first section of the 31.1-billion baht Phaya Thai-Don Mueang rail route.
The line is divided into two sections -- Phaya Thai-Bang Sue, and Bang Sue-Don Mueang airport.
A nod from the cabinet will kick-start construction of the 7.8km Phaya Thai-Bang Sue section, a mixture of a 4.3km elevated track and a 3.5km underground track.
This Phaya Thai-Bang Sue section must be constructed first because the government is also pushing ahead with the Light Red rail line project that connects Bang Sue and Hua Mak as well as Bang Sue and Hua Lamphong.
PHAYA THAI: GOOD JUNCTION FOR TOURISTS
Phaya Thai serves as the first station of the original Airport Rail Link, the 28.6km line that links Phaya Thai to Suvarnabhumi airport.
Phaya Thai station is considered a good junction point for travellers visiting Bangkok because once travellers get off the Airport Rail Link they can board the BTS skytrain that, in turn, connects inner Bangkok and Thon Buri, on the west side of the Chao Phraya River.
Travellers at Phaya Thai station will get one more route running to Don Mueang airport where most budget airlines are located once the new Airport Rail Link is built.
SUVARNABHUMI-U TAPAO & BANGKOK-PATTAYA HIGH SPEED RAIL
The Suvarnabhumi-U-Tapao section of the Airport Rail Link, with a construction cost estimated to be at least 100 billion baht, is not a priority at the moment, but will need to be built in the long term.
One alternative is to include the U-Tapao airport station in a planned high-speed rail project from Bangkok to Pattaya and Rayong.
U-Tapao airport is scheduled to open for commercial service in July this year to help relieve overcrowding at Suvarnabhumi and Don Mueang airports.
There is, however, one problem that has to be solved to make the Airport Rail Link a reality, a limited construction area in the 14km Bang Sue-Don Mueang section of the rail line.
There are three railway projects with the Bang Sue station on their construction maps: 1. the Airport Rail Link, 2. a section of the Red Line connecting Bang Sue and Rangsit, and 3. the Thai-Chinese and Thai-Japanese railway development projects.
It is impossible to funnel all the new railways into the same area since the State Railway of Thailand (SRT) which oversees the Airport Rail Link has limited space for rail route construction from Bang Sue to Ban Phachi in Ayutthaya.
There are initially two solutions to the problem. First, the Airport Rail Link could cancel the Bang Sue-Don Mueang section and have people who want to go to Don Mueang airport take the Red Line at the Bang Sue station. The other proposal is to share a rail track with the Thai-Chinese dual track project, linking Bangkok and Nakhon Ratchasima. The SRT is considering them both, but the share track option is more likely.
Learn from listening
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alternative : something that you can choose instead of something else - ทางเลือก
ambitious : difficult and needing a lot of effort to succeed - ความทะเยอทยาน
approve : to give official permission - อนุมัต
at the moment : at this time; now - ขณะนี้, ตอนนี้, เวลานี้
bottleneck : a problem that causes something to slow down and not work normally - คอขวด
budget airline : an airline that charges very low prices - สายการบินราคาประหยัด
cabinet : the group of government ministers who make and approve government policy - คณะรัฐมนตรี
cancel (verb): to decide to stop something that has been arranged from taking place - ยกเลิก
commercial : for business purposes - เกี่ยวกับการค้า
connect : to join together two or more things - เชื่อมต่อ
consider : to give careful thought to something before making a decision - พิจารณา
construct : to build or make something, especially buildings, bridges, etc. - สร้าง
construction : the work of building or making something, especially buildings, bridges, etc. - การก่อสร้าง
convenience : something that is useful and can make things easier or quicker to do, or more comfortable - เครื่องอำนวยความสะดวก, ความสะดวก
cost : an amount of money that people need to pay for something - ค่า
development : the process of using an area of land, especially to make a profit by building on it, etc - การพัฒนา
dual : having two parts or aspects - ประกอบด้วยสองส่วน, เป็นคู่
elevated : raised above the ground, or higher than the surrounding area - ซึ่งอยู่ในระดับที่สูงกว่าสิ่งอื่น
estimated : thought to be a particular amount, size, etc. based on a guess or the best information available - ประมาณการ
finding (noun): results, what people "find" or discover by doing some research or activity - ผลของการสืบค้น, ผลของการค้นหา
funnel : to move or make something move through a narrow space, or as if through a funnel - ผันน้ำ, ผลักน้ำ
impossible (adjective): something that cannot happen - เป็นไปไม่ได้
initially : at first - ในเบื้องต้น
introduce (verb): to start something new, for the first time - เริ่ม, ริเริ่ม, ตั้ง
junction : a place where two or more cables, pipes, rivers or other things meet or are joined - จุดเชื่อมต่อ, ชุมทาง
kick-start : to start quickly and suddenly, like kicking the starting pedal of a motorcycle -
limited : not much or enough; not very great in amount or extent - จำกัด
link : a connection - การเชื่อมต่อ
link : to connect - เชื่อม
located : where something is - ตั้งอยู่
long term : that will last or have an effect over a long period of time - ระยะยาว
map (noun): an image of an area that shows the positions of things such as countries, rivers, cities, and streets - แผนที่
mixture : a combination of different things - การผสม
nod (noun): giving permission for something; agreeing to something - อนุญาต
nod : to move your head down and up once to say hello to somebody or to give them a sign to do something - พยักหน้ารับ
offer (verb): to make something available or to provide the opportunity for something - ให้, เสนอ
option : choice - ตัวเลือก
original : the first of something - เดิม, แบบฉบับ
overcrowding (noun): having too many people or things in something ซึ่งแออัดยัดเยียด - ซึ่งแออัดยัดเยียด
oversee : to watch something in order to check that it works or happens in the way that it should - ตรวจตรา
previous : happening or existing before the event or object that you are talking about - แต่ก่อน, เมื่อก่อน
priority : something important that must be done first or which needs more attention than something else - การมาก่อน
progress : the process of improving or developing, or of getting nearer to achieving or completing something - ความก้าวหน้า
project : a planned piece of work that is designed to find information about something, to produce something new, or to improve something - โครงการ
proposal : a plan or suggestion for a group to consider - ข้อเสนอ
pushing ahead : do something with force that is difficult or that people are opposing -
pushing ahead with : do something with force that is difficult or that people are opposing -
rail : the whole transportation system of trains connecting stations along rail tracks - รางรถไฟ, ระบบทางรถไฟ
railway : the whole transportation system of trains connecting stations along rail tracks - รางรถไฟ, ระบบทางรถไฟ
reality : actually happening - ความเป็นจริง
relieve : to help improve a bad situation - ผ่อนคลาย, บรรเทา
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
section : any of the parts into which something is divided - ส่วน
share : to have or use something at the same time as someone else - ใช้ร่วมกัน
similar : like somebody/something but not exactly the same - คล้ายกัน
solution : a way of solving a problem or dealing with a difficult situation - วิธีแก้ปัญหา
solve (verb): to successfully deal with a problem or difficult situation; to find out who is responsible for a crime - แก้ปัญหา, คลี่คลาย, หาคำตอบ
space : an area or a place that is empty or that can be moved about freely - ที่ว่าง
station : train station; a place where a train stops and picks up passengers and cargo - สถานีรถไฟฟ้า
study : a project that looks at some subject in great detail and produces a report to share the information - งานวิจัย
terminal : a large building at an airport where passengers arrive and leave - อาคารผู้โดยสารขาเข้าขาออก
track (noun): the two long metal strips that a train travels along - รางรถไฟ
underground : operating secretly and often illegally - ใต้ดิน
upgrade (noun): something that improves the quality or usefulness of a computer, a machine or a system - การยกระดับ, การพัฒนาให้ดีขึ้น