Tao Poon 'missing link' to open by August

Tao Poon 'missing link' to open by August

Service test run set for early next month

A woman gets on a free bus provided to fill the missing link. (Bangkok Post file photo)
A woman gets on a free bus provided to fill the missing link. (Bangkok Post file photo)

The Transport Ministry expects to open the rail service on the 1.2km "missing link" in August, ending a long wait for commuters forced to put up with inconvenient travel between two nearby rail lines which have a common connection.

Since the Bang Yai-Tao Poon Purple Line opened on Aug 6 last year, passengers who go between Tao Poon station, and Bang Sue station on the Bang Sue-Hua Lamphong Blue Line, have to get off electric trains and take buses or diesel-powered trains over what is just a short distance.

Transport Minister Arkhom Termpittayapaisith, who is aware of their travel inconvenience, recently told the Mass Rapid Transit Authority (MRTA) of Thailand to speed up the one-station link, Chirut Wisanchit, inspector-general for transport, quoted the minister as saying yesterday.

MRTA, the state electric railway operator, earlier decided to fix the missing link problem by hiring Bangkok Expressway and Metro Plc, or BEM, the Blue Line operator, to install an electric rail system and run the service for the Tao Poon-Bang Sue missing link on the Blue Line at a cost of about 918 million baht.

Installation of the electrical system is expected to finish in the next few days, with a test run set for next month. By August, commuters will travel more smoothly between Tao Boon and Bang Sue stations, Mr Chirut said.

The Purple and Blue lines are a key rail link between Bangkok's western outskirts and the inner city. The 23km Purple Line, which connects Bang Yai in Nonthaburi and Tao Poon in Bangkok, will merge with the Blue Line subway, once BEM extends its service from Bang Sue to Tao Poon stations.

In another development, the Office of Transport and Traffic Policy and Planning (OTTPP) is working on electric railway projects in Phuket and Chiang Mai.

The OTTPP has recently approved a plan to build a 60km light rail system in Phuket, linking Tha Nun, Phuket airport and the Chalong intersection, at a cost of 28 billion baht, an OTTPP source said. The office expects to consider the details early next month before forwarding them to the Transport Ministry.

A study team is preparing an environmental impact assessment report, required to mitigate potential adverse impacts. Early next year, the cabinet will be asked to decide on the project, scheduled for bidding in the middle of next year, the source added.

The OTTPP has also asked Chiang Mai University to study an electric rail system in this northern province, initially divided into three routes: a 12km Red Line (Nakornping Hospital-Chiang Mai airport), 11km Green Line (Ruam Chok Intersection-Chiang Mai Night Bazaar-Central Plaza Chiang Mai airport) and 12km Blue Line (Chiang Mai Zoo-Super Highway). A study team is considering an option of a mix of subway and elevated track, the source said.

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