No more Express Line for Airport Rail Link

No more Express Line for Airport Rail Link

A newly renovated Airport Rail Link train is put on display as Deputy Transport Minister Ormsin Chivapruck presides over a ceremony to launch it yesterday. Three more trains are pending renovation, which could be completed by December. The new train features more seats, new flooring and increased speeds. PHOTOS by Somchai Poomlard
A newly renovated Airport Rail Link train is put on display as Deputy Transport Minister Ormsin Chivapruck presides over a ceremony to launch it yesterday. Three more trains are pending renovation, which could be completed by December. The new train features more seats, new flooring and increased speeds. PHOTOS by Somchai Poomlard

The Transport Ministry is spending 22 million baht upgrading four Airport Rail Link trains and streamlining services to increase train speeds and reduce travel times as part of an effort to draw more passengers.

One of the four electric skytrains has been upgraded and since passed speed and safety tests, Deputy Transport Minister Ormsin Chivapruck said yesterday as he presided over a ceremony to launch the newly renovated train.

Another three will be ready for use by December, he said.

They would help bolster capacity to 72,000 passengers a day, up from 61,500 passengers.

The upgrade was needed as commuters were increasing, with 10% more people using the service this year than last.

The new train features more seats and new flooring. The space has been rearranged to accommodate people using wheelchairs, according to Mr Ormsin.

Test results of the compartments are satisfactory while the train's brake system and speeds reached acceptable standards.

Train speeds will increase from 120 to 140 kilometres an hour to make travel faster, Mr Ormsin said. Passengers will also see their waiting time between each trip cut from 12 minutes to 10 minutes, he said.

The overhaul is expected to improve the commuting experience, the deputy minister said.

At present, there are a total of nine trains -- four Express Line and five City Line -- in service. The latter stop at all eight stations on a route linking the Suvarnabhumi airport and the Phaya Thai area.

Their operator, SRT Electrified Train Co, decided it would upgrade and convert the four Express Line trains into City Line trains to serve more passengers who rarely use the Express Line.

The company, a subsidiary of the State Railway of Thailand, plans to buy seven more trains under a 4.4-billion baht budget.

It is drafting the terms of reference and is expected to call bidding early next year, Mr Ormsin added.

The new trains will improve the company's services as it plans to serve passengers around the clock, he said.

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