Rapid rail link to Rayong set for 2023

Rapid rail link to Rayong set for 2023

special report: A planned B21 billion project is expected to give EEC a huge boost

This Thai-Japanese railway project will help increase commuting options for people, upgrade their quality of life and promote tourism in the region, said Junlatep Chitasombuti. (Photo by Sonthanaporn Inchan)
This Thai-Japanese railway project will help increase commuting options for people, upgrade their quality of life and promote tourism in the region, said Junlatep Chitasombuti. (Photo by Sonthanaporn Inchan)

The State Railway of Thailand (SRT) aims to open services for the 260-kilometre long High-Speed Rail connecting 3 airports (Don Mueang - Suvarnabhumi - U-tapao) railway by 2023, with ticket prices starting at 20 baht and adding 1.80 baht per kilometre.

The railway project, valued at 214 billion baht, is part of a plan to establish links across the Eastern Economic Corridor (EEC), initially by connecting Don Mueang airport in Bangkok, Suvarnabhumi airport in Samut Prakan and U-tapao airport in Rayong.

The high-speed trains are set to run at maximum 250km per hour on 1.435-metre standard gauge railways, said Junlatep Chitasombuti, Superintening Engineer, Track Rehabilitation Centre under the SRT.

"This railway project will help increase commuting options for people, upgrade their quality of life and promote tourism in the region," he said.

The SRT recently conducted public hearings in Chachoengsao to gauge local opinion on the project, which will pass through the province upon completion.

Public concern at the hearing included whether locals would still be able to access the route, due to its pricing.

Mr Junlatep said high-speed train running along the same route will be offered at a different price, stopping between cities along the way.

Ticket prices for the City Line will cost 13 baht with add-ons of 2 baht per km and the high-speed rail will cost 20 baht with add-ons 1.80 baht per km.

According to Mr Junlatep, the high-speed trains will travel at 160km per hour maximum in the city and 250km per hour maximum between city.

In addition to the high-speed rail services and City Line trains stopping between cities, another City Line route taking passengers from Don Mueang to Suvarnabhumi will also operate on the railways, MrJunlatep said.

According to him, the 260km route will take two hours to travel from Don Mueang to Rayong for all stops and take only one hour for express service operation.

Mr Junlatep said there will be 10 high-speed trains stops along the route. They are Don Mueang, Bang Sue, Makkasan, Suvarnabhumi, Chachoengsao, Chon Buri, Sri Racha, Pattaya, U-tapao and Rayong.

SRT reports estimate that about 103,920 people will use the route to travel from Don Mueang to Suvarnabhumi daily.

As for the high-speed route from Suvarnabhumi to Rayong, SRT reports estimate about 66,000 passengers per day, while expecting the number to increase to 362,000 by 2072.

The routing systems and services have been planned while considering information the SRT gathered from its public hearings, such as the meetings held in Chachoengsao and Chon Buri. The plans will be submitted to the EEC Board, chaired by Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha, for approval.

The EEC is a project implemented by the government to develop the three eastern provinces of Rayong, Chon Buri and Chachoengsao, mainly by increasing access points such as railway systems and modernising U-tapao airport.

Mr  Junlatep said that construction on the high-speed railway linking Don Mueang, Suvarnabhumi and U-tapao's airports is expected to set to begin next year.

The route will terminate service in Rayong. The route will take five years to complete. He said that an action will begin in late 2017.

EEC plans are also being carried out in Bangkok. According to the SRT, the 1.435m size of the new railways will make it compatible with Bangkok's current Airport Rail Link lines.

Extensions that will connect the Airport Rail Link to the new railway will be constructed from Phaya Thai-Don Mueang and Lat Krabang-Rayong.

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