Red Line train trials to begin in October
Test runs for the new Red Line electric railway from Bang Sue to Rangsit will start in October on schedule as construction of the line and Bang Sue Central Station are almost complete.
The Covid-19 pandemic will not affect the delivery of Japanese-made trains in time for the three-month trial before the 26-kilometre route is opened to the public by January next year, acting State Railway of Thailand governor Worawut Mala said on Wednesday.
"Despite the spread of Covid-19, the train manufacturer insists all trains will be shipped to Thailand by the middle of this year," the SRT governor said.
Five trains -- both four- and six-bogie types -- have been delivered so far. Meanwhile, the SRT has yet to decide if passengers will be allowed to use the service during the test run, but it has already set a fare. "People will pay between 15 and 50 baht for travel between 13 stations," Mr Worawut said.
The Bang Sue Central Station will be Bangkok's new transport hub, combining suburban and long-distance trains as well as the Airport Rail Link and high-speed trains.
Mr Worawut said he plans to seek 3 billion baht from the government to establish a new subsidiary to run the Red Line.
However, he said, if this company does not make money in the first five years, the SRT will hand the operation to the private sector. "We are bound to make losses in the first year," he said.
The SRT is also pushing ahead with the Red Line extension project by getting ready to call for bids in June. The 20-billion-baht project includes three sections -- Rangsit-Thammasat University, Taling Chan-Siriraj Hospital and Taling Chan-Salaya.