City Hall seeks to revive Grey Line project

City Hall seeks to revive Grey Line project

Route would link Thong Lor with Watcharapol

This artist's representation of the proposed Grey Line monorail shows the train superimposed on an image of Soi Thong Lor (Sukhumvit 55), and was submitted as part of the Environmental Impact Assessment in 2016. (Photo via Linkedin)
This artist's representation of the proposed Grey Line monorail shows the train superimposed on an image of Soi Thong Lor (Sukhumvit 55), and was submitted as part of the Environmental Impact Assessment in 2016. (Photo via Linkedin)

City Hall has called for a revival of the first phase of the Grey electric monorail train line project from Watcharapol to Thong Lor following its failure to gain approval from locals living along the planned route and an unsuccessful environmental impact assessment.

Deputy governor Sakonthee Phatthiyakul said he has instructed the Bangkok Metropolitan Administration's (BMA) Department of Traffic and Transportation to review the plan and conduct an assessment of key problems related to the project within two weeks.

"The opportunity to construct the railway network should not be overlooked," he said. "It is set to link to other main electric train networks [in the capital]".

Another unsettled issue is how the BMA will gain approval from the Expressway Authority of Thailand to construct part of the route on its roads, which mainly comprises areas around the Kaset-Nawamin intersection on Pradit Manutham Road.

If the project's first phase is approved, construction will be carried out in Asok and Thong Lor, both of which are two main inner-city areas known for shopping malls and entertainment. Many locals have expressed fierce opposition to its construction.

The 16.25km first phase will include 15 stations. According to BMA reports, the first station will be located at the Ram Intra-Watcharapol intersection, with its terminus at the current Sukhumvit Line's Thong Lor station.

Mr Sakonthee said the entire project has three phases, stretching a total of 39.9km. The second phase will be from Phra Khanong to Rama 3 while the final phase is planned for Rama 3 to Tha Phra.

Talks for the project originally began in 2009.

In a related development, official launches for the planned MRT Pink and Yellow line monorail networks (Khae Rai-Min Buri and Lat Phrao-Samrong, respectively) have now been delayed by at least three months, since contractors for both projects have not received authorisation to start construction.

Transport authorities admitted to the delay after a memorandum of understanding (MoU) was signed between the Department of Highways (DOH) and the Mass Rapid Transit Authority of Thailand (MRTA) to allow the latter to start construction on the former's roads.

Land-clearing for the Pink Line had originally begun last November.

MRTA governor Pakapong Sirikantaramas said the deadline for both the networks' launches has now been pushed back to October 2021 from the previously set deadline of July the same year.

Construction can begin on June 29 at the earliest, he said.

The Pink Line, valued at 53.5 billion baht, will have 30 stations, spanning 34.5km. Its route begins at the Nonthaburi Civic Centre and terminates at a station around Ramkhamhaeng Soi 192.

The 51.8-billion-baht Yellow Line will have 23 stations and will span 30.4km. Its first station will be located at the park-and-ride area at the Ratchada-Lat Phrao intersection, sharing the MRT Blue Line's Lat Phrao station. Its terminus will also be a shared station with the current Green Line's Samrong station in Samut Prakan.

Meanwhile, the MRTA chief said 200,000 common tickets, or Mangmoom (Spider) cards, will be distributed to the public from June 22.

The cards -- set to eventually link passengers to all modes of transport -- will only be available at MRT Purple Line stations.

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